Do signed copies excite you? Tempt you? Delight you? Or does it not matter to you?
I’m only really interested in signed books when I’m the one who gets them signed. It’s not having a signed copy that delights me, but the experience of getting them signed and meeting an author I love.
I have two books in my collection that are signed by the author. Last December, Neil Gaiman visited Agnes Scott (because Decatur was too small to put him up anywhere else), and I got a copy of my favorite Neil Gaiman novel, Anansi Boys, signed by him, as well as an opportunity to tell him that I’ve been reading his novels since I was thirteen and I love them all. He was very sweet and thanked me profusely. (Then it started raining and there was a treacherous journey back to the old dorm room.)
The other is Sean Astin’s There and Back Again, the only autobiography I think I have on my bookshelf. I tell this story a lot, because it’s an educational experience for young nerds and convention virgins–always have a fairly normal outfit when you go to the Hall of Fame. It was my second year of Dragon*Con, and the last time I went for only a day, hence the costume. (I now live much closer to the convention site.) He was extremely sweet, I was extremely starstruck, and I was wearing my elf ears. Any attempts to regain my cool were destroyed because Nathan Fillion was sitting right next to him. I was wildly embarrassed at the time, although now I laugh at it and use it as a cautionary tale.
As you can see, the memories of getting the signatures and meeting the authors are worth more to me than the actual signed books (although I certainly love and value them). It’s not merely having something they signed, but interacting with people whose work I love and respect.