Bernard Shaw Signing Checks

I need a good bibliographic source (preferably a book) about the following.

After knowing the value of his autograph in the London market, Bernard

Shaw started to write checks for smaller amounts telling the

beneficiaries the advantage of not collecting them.

One thought on “Bernard Shaw Signing Checks

  1. Here is a good journalistic source that I hope will meet your needs:

    "Shaw's popularity often puts him in the most embarrassing situations,

    despite the fact that he leads a quiet private life. Like all good

    citizens he pays his bills in the orthodox manner by check. Last year

    he sent to the bank for his pass book to determine his balance and

    discovered that for over three months no checks had been presented to

    the bank for collection. Tradesmen had been selling the checks for

    Shaw's autograph and were obtaining more than the face value of the


    The M.I.T. Tech: Friday, December 12, 1930

    One reason for the high value of Shaw's signature is that Shaw scorned

    autograph-hunters, and was disinclined to gratify their requests.

    Although his secretary sometimes took pity on autograph hounds, Shaw's

    own response was a printed card saying this:

    "It may interest collectors of autographs to know that Mr. Bernard

    Shaw does not regard requests by strangers for his signature as

    legitimate collection. He signs enough genuine documents every day to

    give collectors ample material for the proper exercise of their

    peculiar industry. His secretary has instructions to return all albums

    and refuse all applications which ignore this distinction."

    Brown University: The Quintessential G.B.S.: Correspondence

    You may be interested in a story that is often told about Pablo Picasso:

    "Pablo Picasso famously told people who interviewed him that people

    didn't buy his paintings. What they were actually buying was his

    signature. This was true: What would the same piece of art be worth

    had Picasso not signed it? It's not like he had a great signature or

    anything, but when he affixed it to one of his paintings, it validated

    the piece, authenticated it.

    So prized was Picasso's signature that it is said that when he paid

    for things by personal check, the odds were that the recipient of the

    check would save it rather than cash it." Picasso's Checks

    My Google search strategy:

    Google Web Search: "bernard shaw" signature OR autograph check OR cheque


    I hope this is helpful! If anything is unclear or incomplete, please

    request clarification; I'll be glad to offer further assistance before

    you rate my answer.

    Best regards,


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