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Autograph Collecting Stories - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly experiences

This thread can be used to tell any and all types of autograph stories, be it in person experiences, through the mail stories, flea market finds, bad sales, eBay finds etc.

I will post my first of probably many stories in the following post.

Comments

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    My first story involves a flea market dealer who was selling a fake John Lennon autograph among hundreds of other autographs (many real, some fake and many questionable).

    This happened about 10-15 years ago. This dealer was set up at a large flea market I attend fairly regularly. He had a display case for high end items he was selling including autographs and movie props. I was looking at the display case and noticed an obvious fake John Lennon autograph signed in red ink on white lined notebook paper. It was inscribed “To John, from the Beatlemaniac, John Lennon.” There was also a Ringo Starr autographed photo which was probably authentic.

    I asked the dealer how much the John Lennon autograph was and he said $1200. I asked him why he was asking so much (without saying anything about me believing it was fake). He said “I know it’s authentic since it was obtained in person.” I had to hear his story so I asked him how it was obtained in person (he looked too young to be alive when John Lennon was alive). He told me the person who sold it to him got it himself at an airport when he was a kid. The dealer showed me a piece of paper with a typed written story on it from the man who got the “autograph”.

    The story went something like this: a 9 year old kid whose first name happened to be John was at the airport waiting to board his plane with his father sometime in the 1970s. The kid saw a man that looked like John Lennon. He asked his father if that man was “the Beatlemaniac.” His father told him to go up to the man and ask him. The kid approached the man and asked “are you the Beatlemaniac?” To which the man asked for his notebook and wrote something like “to John from the Beatlemaniac, John Lennon.”

    My thinking is the “Beatlemaniac” was NOT John Lennon but someone that looked kind of like John Lennon. The signature looked nothing like John Lennon’s autograph. The handwriting was off too.

    Testing the dealer to see if he mistakenly thought the guy who sold him the autograph actually met John Lennon instead of a lookalike, I asked him “I have a friend who might be interested in this, may I take a picture of it to send him?” He said “sorry, my policy is no photos at my booth” and pointed to a sign saying that photography of his sale items was prohibited. This led me to believe he KNEW the autograph was fake. I then asked him if I purchased it and this friend did not want it if I could return it and the dealer said “all sales final.” I then told him that I couldn’t buy it. He was fine with that but suggested my friend come to the flea market and see it for himself. Obviously that wasn’t going to happen since I knew it was fake anyway and wanted to see if the dealer knew he was selling a fake or was an innocent man who bought the autograph mistakenly thinking it was signed by John Lennon instead of a lookalike.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 22, 2021 10:08AM

    That's a crazy story but unfortunately not unique. At best, the dealer was willfully ignorant, intentionally avoiding due diligence and responsibility.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I had a couple situations where I got rude if not hostile responses from a famous person's staff.

    Over the years I have used different approaches to collecting. Sometimes I would look for any opportunity to try to get various items with someone's autograph. I never sold any of the items I was requesting, and I was always courteous and honest. However, without meaning to, I apparently went to the well too often on occasion and irritated the person's secretary or assistant.

    Once, after writing to Scottish autoracing champion Jackie Stewart a few times over the course of a few years, in response to my last letter I got back an envelope stuffed with photocopies of all my previous letters.

    On another occassion, after a number of successful and mutually respectful and friendly requests with "Father of the Hydrogen Bomb" Edward Teller over the course of more than 10 years, the reply to my latest/last request was a letter from his assistant that said "Enough is enough!", and she included photocopies of my earlier letters.

    Especially in the case of the Teller response, I felt it was unreasonably rude. I almost sent her a photocopy of a letter I had gotten from Dr. Teller many years earlier and told her that she was missing that one from her collection. :)

    I've gotten letters from a couple peoples' offices basically saying I had reached my limit, but they were courteous and civil. But the nasty ones sort of left a bad taste in my mouth and took some of the fun out of owning those signatures.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭

    BTW, this is a great idea for a fun thread about the search itself.

    I'll post a couple more soon, including my one-on-one with Wade Boggs that I am still a little embarrassed about. ;):D

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    When I collected Band of Brothers veterans autographs, I wrote to each of the then 37 living members of the group. I remember one of them, can’t recall the name, sent back my custom index card with a big X on it in my SASE. No explanation or anything, just the card with a big X.

    Most of the other ttm failures where they only allowed one per person were friendly responses simply stating that I had already gotten an autograph so they were sending my items back unsigned. That was fine.

    I have ones where they refused to sign the photo I sent due to copyright issues but said if I sent something else they would be happy to sign.

    Other not too good ones sent me back a price list or a letter stating that if I wanted an autograph I either send a check or go on their website to purchase. Those were annoying.

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    My first experiences at my first convention - some bad (my fault) and some good.

    At the first convention I ever went to I met John Landis, Margot Kidder, and Gunnar Hansen. I went to the show, went back home, and came back...so I went twice in the same day.

    During my first visit, I got John Landis on a 8x10 photo he provided (only $20 back then!). The show was very slow and he had no line. I was very happy I got to talk to him for a good length of time (it being my first convention I had no idea what a luxury it was to have this much time with a celebrity guest). I asked Landis about Steven Spielberg (I am like obsessed with Steven Spielberg and knew they worked together so I wanted to hear what he had to say). At first Landis told me that Steven Spielberg was short and that he was taller than him. I then asked about Spielberg working with him. He mentioned how Spielberg acted in a scene in the Blues Brothers, which Landis directed. Landis had a small cameo in Spielberg’s 1941, and then he mentioned how they each did a segment on the Twilight Zone: The Movie and not like talking about the tragedy that occurred. We also talked a little about how he directed the Michael Jackson thriller video and how he felt about CGI heavy films like Transformers (he was not happy with the direction Hollywood was going at the time). It was a very nice long 30 minute chat.

    I went home, and then thought about how cool it would be to get John Landis to sign a Blues Brothers photo collage I made with two screenshots of the scene with Steven Spielberg in the Blues Brothers with the movie poster printed above the two screenshots. It was something I made on the computer and printed on 11x8.5 photo paper. Not the greatest quality, but something fun to get signed.

    When I returned to the show, I showed John Landis my collage and he laughed and thought it was nice. I asked him “can you sign this and write, John Landis is director of the Blues Brothers, above the poster?” He said in response “I will sign it but I won’t write Director of the Blues Brothers” so I said “can you write something else then?” And so he wrote “John Landis is taller than —-> “ and pointed the allow to Steven Spielberg. I thought that was funny. Unfortunately this was sold along with 99% of my other autographs during my big “sell off” in 2011-2012 so I can not post a picture of it here.

    As I was walking around the convention I heard a big commotion. There was a birthday cake being brought in for one of the celebrity guests. It turned out it was Margot Kidder’s birthday! They sang Happy Birthday and then Kidder herself cut and passed out the cake to whoever was in her area. Since the show was very slow and very few people were present, I was one of the lucky recipients of the cake. I have to say it was literally the best piece of birthday cake I ever ate. It was just basic supermarket cake but because it was Margot Kidder’s birthday cake, my brain convinced me that it tasted 1000 times better than it should had.

    I only had $20 left and Margot Kidder was charging $20 for an autograph. I figured it would be nice to buy an autograph since she let me have a piece of her cake. I picked out an 8x10 photo of her as Lois Lane. She said “after I wipe my hands I will sign that for you.” I joked around saying that maybe I would have her fingerprints on it if she signed it with the frosting on her fingers. She laughed then wiped her hands and signed my photo. She personalized it to me and then I asked her what her favorite movie role was. She said Lois Lane and then I joked around saying that she was only saying that because that was the photo I picked. She laughed and admitted she couldn’t pick a favorite as she liked them all. After that she asked me to do a favor. I felt so honored she would ask me to do something for her. She wanted me to bring a piece of her birthday cake to to John Landis. I was more than happy to do this.

    I couldn’t find John Landis at his table so I looked all around the convention floor and found him at Gunnar Hansen’s table getting a signed photo for his son Max who was a fan of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I had my video camera with me this time (the first visit I didn’t bring it). Foolishly playing around I turned it on without asking permission (feel really bad about this) and blurted out to John Landis with Gunnar Hansen nearby “so tell me about Steven Spielberg?” Just out of the blue. I don’t know what I was thinking but I guess I kind of wanted him to retell me everything he said earlier so I could have it on tape. Landis was like “what? About the what?” And then realized my very bad mistake of one, videotaping without permission, and two, asking him about something so random in front of Gunnar Hansen. I turned off the camera, and was very upset with myself.

    I left Landis and Hansen and walked back to Kidder’s table to let her know I delivered the cake. Since it probably seemed to Kidder a long time after requesting the favor, I felt I had to explain what happened with Landis. She actually listened to my whole story and felt bad for me. I was shocked she was so kind and nice about it. She then told me that Steven Spielberg was actually her boyfriend at one time. I was shocked I never even thought to ask Kidder about Spielberg especially since she probably knew Spielberg more than Landis did. I didn’t ask her more about it because I felt so bad about Landis and was scared I might upset Kidder if I talked too much about a former boyfriend plus she had a little bit of a line forming behind me. As I was getting ready to leave her table, I overheard Landis quickly stopping by to thank Kidder for the cake, and then he made a joke about Lois Lane (unfortunately I didn’t catch the whole joke). Kidder laughed and then proceeded to sign for those in line waiting while Landis went back to his table.

    I still felt bad about John Landis and realized I never apologized to him about my odd behavior. I decided to write him a letter explaining how I saw him at the convention and felt really bad about my behavior. I explained how I had high functioning Autism and told him that I deleted the video I made and felt bad about the whole thing. I asked if he could please forgive me. A few months later I got a special letter (in a Paramount Pictures envelope) that was delivered by courier (not a typical mail service, but a person designed to specifically deliver letters from famous people). Anyway, I was shocked she even got my letter to begin with since I wasn’t sure I had the right mailing address for him. The letter inside the Paramount Pictures envelope was handwritten on Landis’ personal stationary in his own handwriting: “All is forgiven and forgotten! Sending you my best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year - John.” It was dated 12-21-09 so just before New Years.

    Years later, Kidder and Hansen had passed away. When Kidder died, I thought about that autograph I got from her and how sad I was that I sold it. About a year later it miraculously showed up for sale on eBay. Unfortunately the seller had removed the inscription but I could still tell it was my name since the inscription was not perfectly removed (once I got it in hand I could tell this). I was so thrilled I was able to buy this back. It remains the only autograph I had in my former collection that I was able to get in my current collection (I had opportunities for many others but they were not ones I cared to have again). I think the only other autograph I sold that I really want to buy back is the Ruth Bader Ginsburg signed chambers card but that was not personalized and I don’t have a picture of it so I wouldn’t know if it was mine if it ever shows up on eBay. Most others I can settle for a different autograph of the same person (for example, Bill Clinton which I rebought but a different signature than the one I had).

    Anyway, that is a long story and it had some bad moments but some good ones too. Thanks for reading if you made it through.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow! Those are incredible stories!

  • ernie11ernie11 Posts: 1,634 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I wrote to Dodgers baseball star Reggie Smith, asking politely for his autograph. I can't remember the phraseology I started the letter with, but it was something like "I apologize for intruding...". I got my letter sent back and he had written on it (without a signature) something like, "Well, you ARE intruding!!!"

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭
    edited July 30, 2021 2:28PM

    Not sure if this is a good place for it but JUST TODAY this rather unfortunate experience happened:

    I was at a show and this guy had a Babe Ruth signed baseball among other items in a display case. The baseball was farther away from me than basically everything else in the case so it was rather difficult to get a close look at it without the man taking it out of the case (he opened the case up for several other people earlier for other items or them to view up close). The price tag was $10,000. I actually did have the cash if I wanted it, but when I asked the man if I could please take a look at it he said, “no.” I first I thought he was joking then he said “you are not going to buy it so I am not taking it out. You never bought anything from me before.” I then told him that he lost a sale because I actually did have $10,000.

    Anyway, I snuck a picture of it. Kind of hard to see it clearly enough to determine authenticity but would like to hear your thoughts on it.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 30, 2021 12:38PM

    That was cheeky of him! He was not even original enough to come up with his own reason. :D

    I have one autograph from him - on a Red Sox payroll check, signed Reginald Jackson. I guess I'll just settle for that one!

    I've had a few people respond with unsigned notes, but it was apparently done innocently. In one case did I send it back for a signature, which he added.

    I actually would love to get a little mild hate mail as long as it's signed. I did get pissy letters once from author George Will and Florida governor Jeb Bush after I sent them some constructive criticism.

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    I have seen ttm responses where the person will write something like “Sorry, I do not sign autographs” then sign the note. I always find that humorous.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JMS1223 said:
    I have seen ttm responses where the person will write something like “Sorry, I do not sign autographs” then sign the note. I always find that humorous.

    This reminds me of Medal of Honor recipient Charles Liteky.

    He was the only MOH recipient to renounce his decoration. He earned it in Viet Nam but several years later became opposed to US foreign policy and returned the medal and declined the financial and other benefits.

    He would decline to sign autographs but would usually sign the rejection.

    I have a great letter from him where he explains his reasons for returning his MOH, and he signed it.

    That is one rejection response I can deal with. :)

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JMS1223 said:
    Not sure if this is a good place for it but JUST TODAY this rather unfortunate experience happened:

    I was at a show and this guy had a Babe Ruth signed baseball among other items in a display case. The baseball was farther away from me than basically everything else in the case so it was rather difficult to get a close look at it without the man taking it out of the case (he opened the case up for several other people earlier for other items or them to view up close). The price tag was $10,000. I actually did have the cash if I wanted it, but when I asked the man if I could please take a look at it he said, “no.” I first I thought he was joking then he said “you are not going to buy it so I am not taking it out. You never bought anything from me before.” I then told him that he lost a sale because I actually did have $10,000.

    Anyway, I snuck a picture of it. Kind of hard to see it clearly enough to determine authenticity but would like to hear your thoughts on it.

    Wow! That guy was a jerk! I am surprised he can stay in business with an attitude like that.

    As for the signature, from the little I can see it has possibilities.

  • Mo_MentumMo_Mentum Posts: 167 ✭✭✭

    @JBK said:

    @JMS1223 said:
    Not sure if this is a good place for it but JUST TODAY this rather unfortunate experience happened:

    I was at a show and this guy had a Babe Ruth signed baseball among other items in a display case. The baseball was farther away from me than basically everything else in the case so it was rather difficult to get a close look at it without the man taking it out of the case (he opened the case up for several other people earlier for other items or them to view up close). The price tag was $10,000. I actually did have the cash if I wanted it, but when I asked the man if I could please take a look at it he said, “no.” I first I thought he was joking then he said “you are not going to buy it so I am not taking it out. You never bought anything from me before.” I then told him that he lost a sale because I actually did have $10,000.

    Anyway, I snuck a picture of it. Kind of hard to see it clearly enough to determine authenticity but would like to hear your thoughts on it.

    Wow! That guy was a jerk! I am surprised he can stay in business with an attitude like that.

    As for the signature, from the little I can see it has possibilities.

    It does have potential. The track is representative of Ruth's pre 1928 signature, and it looks to be either a Nat or Am league 1920 design Spalding ball. so the signature style chronologically matches the ball. I would have to get a better look at the signature to do better than 50/50, but it is possible the track is the real thing pending a closer look.

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    Good to hear it may had been authentic but even if it was I was thinking $10,000 was overpriced. Probably should had been $5,000.

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    About four or five years ago there was a PSA authenticated Martin Luther King Jr. signed program for sale at a coin show (the dealer mostly sold coins but had three autographed items, all PSA authenticated— MLK Jr., Harry Truman and Gerald Ford signed letters). If I remember correctly, the MLK Jr. program was 8.5 x 11 with a light blue cover and about 15 pages thick on regular paper. It dated from the early 1960s. The signature said “Best Wishes, Martin Luther King Jr.” in blue ballpoint ink. The guy wanted $2000 (lowered his price to $1800 when I showed interest) for it but because at the time I was not collecting autographs anymore and would had only bought it to resell I declined thinking it was only worth about $2000-$2500 and with seller fees I wouldn’t really make any money so I passed. I had one more opportunity to buy it a few months later for $1800 but really only wanted to pay $1200 where I felt I could actually make good money. A year or so later the dealer told me he sold the MLK Jr. for $5000! Within the last year or so when I got back into collecting autographs I noticed MLK Jr.’s autograph had gone up quite a bit. That same program would easily sell for over $5000.

    I wish I kept the photo I took of it but unfortunately I no longer have it. Since it was authenticated by PSA I know a photo of it exists in PSA’s database but I believe you need to know the authentication number to look it up. I don’t have it, but I do remember to my delight the PSA sticker was on the LOA instead of the actual program.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JMS1223 said:
    I don’t have it, but I do remember to my delight the PSA sticker was on the LOA instead of the actual program.

    No sticker on the item - fantastic! Someone had some good sense. :)

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    I thought I told this story elsewhere when I first joined these forums but can’t find it so I will retype it. I felt this was a good place to tell this story now that we have a thread.

    Over ten years ago I was at a big high end flea market and went inside this man’s tent where he had all sorts of different old collectibles - a little of everything. Well on a table there was a file folder that had written on it “JFK Letter.” I opened up the folder to see what the letter looked like. It was in there loose with its original envelope and accompanied by another (photocopied) letter Kennedy sent to the original recipient about some Catholic organization. This was stapled to the Kennedy letter which was how it arrived when the recipient received it. The Kennedy letter was from, I believe 1958, and on either House of Representatives or Senate letterhead (sadly I no longer recall which). The Kennedy letter had content relating to something about a Catholic priest or nun or something working at an organization. The envelope I remember was badly torn open but all there. The address was typed. The letter was typed but the signature was in fountain pen ink. It appeared authentic.

    The owner told me while I was reading the letter that it was “$200” and when I asked “is this real?” he said “I can tell you it is definitely not autopen because I could not find any known matches and it doesn’t have the typical characteristics of shakiness or stopping you see with early autopen patterns.” I agreed with him and looked at the signature further. I then thought to myself, “well it looks like John F. Kennedy’s signature to me so it might not be secretarial but I don’t have anything with me to compare known secretarials or authentic JFK examples to compare.” I also recalled thinking about how JFK’s signature was very difficult to authenticate as they varied quite a bit. When I was looking at the letter’s date and noticing how it was before he even ran for President I thought “I doubt he would have these signed by someone else” so that’s when I decided to buy it.

    That night when I got home I looked online to find Kennedy letter examples on eBay (as well as other places too) and noticed MY EXACT LETTER was for sale on eBay for $50 (unsold) in past auctions. The description was very brief “NOT AUTOPEN.” The seller was located in the exact town where the flea market was held so I could assume it was likely the same person I bought the letter. I decided to message him for curiously sakes but he never responded.

    Later I had the letter looked at by third party authentication with online opinion. It turned out it was “probably secretarial.”

    I was upset I got taken and believed the seller sold me this knowing it was secretarial but I could not go back to flea market to confront him due to distance and cost of returning there not being worth $200.

    I decided later on to send the JFK letter to Neil Armstrong as a gift. I tied it in with a letter about how Kennedy made that promise about “putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade.” Unfortunately the thank you note I got was from Armstrong’s secretary thanking me instead of Armstrong himself but the letter mentioned how they would put my gift in their museum where they said it would be enjoyed by everyone who visited. I thought that was interesting and neat. I wonder if it’s still there. I never went but maybe someday I can check it out.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think that dealer knew what he was doing. "Not autopen" indeed. He figured he was covering himself.

    Good attempt to save the loss by leveraging the gift to Armstrong.

  • 291fifth291fifth Posts: 21,520 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My mother was a great fan of opera/operetta singer Marguerite Piazza in the early 1940's. Marguerite was appearing at a theater in downtown Chicago and my mother was determined to get not only an autograph but an interview. In 1944 my mother was 18 years old. She didn't attend college but one of her friends did. She decided to pretend to be from the college and had the friend brief her on how to sound authentic when doing the interview. She went to the theater and asked to be allowed to see and interview Marguerite. (Remember, this is 1944 and there was no cordon of 300 pound bodyguards around the stars of that era.) She must have been very convincing because she was quickly shown in to Marguerite's dressing room where she proceeded to do the "interview". When leaving Marguerite inscribed, signed and dated an 8x10 photo and gave it to my mother. My mother lived to be 92 and I now have the photo. I am very glad she told me the story behind it.

    All glory is fleeting.
  • I met Gale Sayers when he was signing free autographs at a Montgomery Ward's a short drive my house when I was around 12. He was very cordial, although I've heard stories all across the board about his mood, so I guess it depends on whether you caught him on a good day or a bad day.

    When I was around 13 or 14 I got to meet Walter Payton as him and some other members of the '85 Bears were signing free autographs for a grand opening. My grandfather woke me up early that morning and told me to get something for him to sign and we'd get in line early. I grabbed a 1980 Topps card and when we got there, maybe 5 people were ahead of us. By the time the players arrived, the line was down and around the block, so we definitely made the right choice getting there early. Walter was very polite, but the people running the event were quite rude and were shoving people along.

    Around the same time, I got to meet Ernie Banks. I went to a sports convention with my friend and his dad. It was the first sports convention I had ever attended. Of course, being around 13 years old, I could not afford the huge cost of autographs from the players signing there. Then, halfway through the day, in walks Ernie Banks! He happily signed my baseball for free.

    I met Joe Crede at a sports convention when I bought an autograph ticket for him to sign a photo for a friend of mine that had an upcoming birthday, and she was a big White Sox fan. He was very kind, and was a pleasure to talk to.

    I met a lot of players at the Cubs Convention the first time I went, but my favorite was meeting my first favorite player, Jody Davis. Harry Caray used to sing Jody's name to the tune of "Davey Crockett" during the games, with varying lyrics. The one I remembered most was "Jody, Jody Davis, the catcher without a fear". I asked Jody to write that as an inscription and he got a big kick out of it. Super nice guy, and still very much loved by the Cubs fan base that grew up watching him. The line for his autograph was so long you would have thought Ryne Sandberg or Kris Bryant was the one signing.

    Last summer, I got to meet Chris Zorich. He had been a favorite of mine since his playing days at Notre Dame. He hosted a biker brunch once a month in Chicago and would sign whatever people brought for no charge. I got a few football cards and a book on the 1988 Notre Dame team that won the National Championship signed by him. He was a super nice guy and we had a good 10 minutes of conversation before somebody else came up with stuff to get signed.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great stories!

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 10, 2021 10:24AM

    Speaking of card shows, my first and only one was years ago when Ted Williams was appearing.

    I thought pretty highly of my choice of memorabilia to get signed - a Rawlings Official American League baseball. Then while I was waiting my turn a guy in front of me was getting a CASE of those baseballs signed. :#

    Anyway, earlier in the day after I had purchased my $35 ticket (higher cost due to the baseball vs the $30 ticket for flats) I had some time to waste. So, I wandered around the floor looking at the dealers' tables. One dealer had B&W photos of Williams with other Red Sox players Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky standing at the edge of the dugout in the 1940s.

    All of those other guys were also signing at the show, but I knew I could get the others TTM. So, I bought the photo for $3.

    Sure enough, in the next few months I got the picture signed by the other three players, and I was only missing the biggest name in the photo.

    I had not wanted to spend another $30 at the show to get Ted W. on it, so I had to look for any other opportunity. The last chance i had was a private signing arranged by his son so I sent it to Florida with the $185 fee.

    I went ahead and paid the fee so I wouldn't be cursed decades and centuries from now for skipping the most important autograph. o:)

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    @JBK said:
    Speaking of card shows, my first and only one was years ago when Ted Williams was appearing.

    One dealer had B&W photos of Williams with other Red Sox players Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky standing at the edge of the dugout in the 1940s.

    All of those other guys were also signing at the show, but I knew I could get the others TTM. So, I bought the photo for $3.

    Sure enough, in the next few months I got the picture signed by the other three players, and I was only missing the biggest name in the photo.

    I had not wanted to spend another $30 at the show to get Ted W. on it, so I had to look for any other opportunity. The last chance i had was a private signing arranged by his son so I sent it to Florida with the $185 fee.

    I went ahead and paid the fee so I wouldn't be cursed decades and centuries from now for skipping the most important autograph. o:)

    Really lucky you were able to get Ted Williams to sign it later. Most people’s luck would be they would not be able to add him (no opportunity or he dies before you can try again) or they got it signed at the show and lost it trying to get the other three to sign it ttm.

    Would love to see a picture of that photo. Probably looks super awesome with all four signed.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That's a good point. I never thought about that. Imagine if Ted had signed it and then one of the other guys lost it or kept it. :#

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 10, 2021 11:22AM

    I happened to have a photo.

    It is great that they all used the same type and color pen.

    TTM Doerr, Pesky were free, DiMaggio was maybe $10.

    And Ted Williams was $185. :#

    They're all gone now, and I figure maybe it's worth what it cost me. But it was fun to get and it provided me with a story to tell. :p

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    @JBK said:
    I happened to have a photo.

    It is great that they all used the same type and color pen.

    TTM Doerr, Pesky were free, DiMaggio was maybe $10.

    And Ted Williams was $185. :#

    They're all gone now, and I figure maybe it's worth what it cost me. But it was fun to get and it provided me with a story to tell. :p

    Probably worth MUCH more than $195. I can see something like that selling for over $1000 especially because it’s not personalized and looks great.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 14, 2021 10:50AM

    I came across a note I received several years ago from General David Petraeus. This was when he had retired from the military and there had been a small scandal over an affair.

    The funny thing was, he wrote this on a note card that he had used to write a book list on the back.

    I wonder if he ever remembered to read these books. :D

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    I saw this authentic handwritten letter from George S. Patton today at an antique show. Not for sale but very cool to see in person.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow!

    That is incredible content. Do you recall how much it was?

    I corresponded many times with his son, also a General George Patton, whose signature was very similar to his father's.

    When I asked for a signed photo he sent me a very high quality formal photo printed on linen paper like professional photographers did in the old days, housed in a cardboard holder.

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    @JBK said:
    Wow!

    That is incredible content. Do you recall how much it was?

    It was for display only. NOT for sale. I thought it was awesome too. Belongs in a museum.

  • 291fifth291fifth Posts: 21,520 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I find it interesting that he signed this personal letter so formally ... "George S. Patton Jr." It says something about his mindset.

    All glory is fleeting.
  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    Couldn’t find a better place for this, but found it very interesting/odd.

    There is this very reputable autograph dealer on eBay that sells thousands of vintage autographs from all fields. They always start each auction at 99 cents and they always bring their appropriate value, sometimes even more. I was watching a Pablo Picasso signature. It was on a piece of old decorative looking stationary where Picasso signed his name then under it in rather large writing wrote the date (which appeared to be four times the size of his signature). It was a nevertheless a very nice signature from the 1960s. It was scheduled to end today at around this time. It was going for almost $1,000 earlier today. However, when I went to look at my watched items, it was no longer there. I then purposely searched for the item, and it was nowhere to be found, including closed listings. Usually if an item is ended by seller or pulled, I see some sort of listing in the completed items. No such thing. I wonder what happened to it and why it’s not showing up anywhere.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Is the dealer in the Boston area?

    On rare occasion I have a bid in on an item where the bids are cancelled and the auction ended/cancelled. I wonder if that's what happened here.

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    @JBK said:
    Is the dealer in the Boston area?

    On rare occasion I have a bid in on an item where the bids are cancelled and the auction ended/cancelled. I wonder if that's what happened here.

    Yes.

    If the auction got cancelled or ended I would expect it to show up in ended listings.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I found the listing where my bid was cancelled. If I click on the listing number the closed auction comes up. I can't really do a normal search as it's been relisted since then.

    If it's the seller I'm thinking of his listings usually start/end on a Tuesday. I often go in on Tuesday night and throw in a small/starting bid and that makes it easier to track.

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    @JBK said:
    I found the listing where my bid was cancelled. If I click on the listing number the closed auction comes up. I can't really do a normal search as it's been relisted since then.

    If it's the seller I'm thinking of his listings usually start/end on a Tuesday. I often go in on Tuesday night and throw in a small/starting bid and that makes it easier to track.

    I’m pretty sure we are thinking of the same seller - usually Tuesdays.

    I never bid on the Picasso so I can’t really look for it. I tried searching completed auctions but couldn’t find it. I also did a completed listings search for the seller and it was nowhere to be found. Just very strange. I wish I knew the item number but never thought I would need it since I was watching it.

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    I originally purchased these two checks signed by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in late 2004/early 2005 for $200. I was on the hunt for a Bob Hope autograph. I belonged to a group online that traded autographs. One person mentioned they had a Bob Hope autograph they got signed in person on a golf ball at one of his events. They provided a picture of it and from the image it looked authentic. I didn’t really like the format (golf ball) but because it was obtained in person and not the typical secretarial ttm most people had I thought this was my chance to get a real Bob Hope autograph. He had recently died a year or two earlier so Bob Hope was on my mind.

    The trader didn’t like anything I had on my regular trade list so I looked through my collection and decided what I could trade. I had another Lucille Ball signed item (a contract) so I figured I could trade the signed checks. The trader agreed.

    I sent the checks registered and insured mail. I remember it costing $20 to ship. He claimed to send the golf ball the same day but for some reason “lost” the tracking number but said to expect it that Friday, which was the same day the checks were scheduled to arrive. Friday comes, he gets the checks, tracking says delivered, he’s happy but I did not receive golf ball. I wait a few more days. Trader messaged me saying golf ball was RTS for wrong address. Strange but I resend my address (same as before) and he claims he sent out golf ball again. No tracking as he was in a hurry this time.

    Two weeks or so later still no package at all so I message him again but he has nothing to say for himself so I sent him another message, more professional looking, to scare him into sending me my end of the trade or my checks back or I would have the police contacted. Two days later he sends me a tracking number for a package. I have no idea if it’s the golf ball or my checks back.

    A few days later a small box arrives with bubble wrap and inside is a Bob Hope signed golf ball BUT it’s a totally different golf ball from the one pictured in the original trade post. This golf ball has the familiar secretarial ttm signature on it. I message him about it but he just claims it’s the same one, the one he got in person. I try to report him to the person in charge of the trade group but they said they couldn’t do anything about it because he DID send a Bob Hope golf ball. It was hard to dispute since the original post with picture of in person Bob Hope signed was long gone. So I was the victim of a bad trade. Luckily this was the only time I got burnt in a trade. I definitely learned from this experience and I am very careful now when conducting trades online.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 11, 2021 10:03AM

    Wow - a total low-life you were dealing with.

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    One of the first autographs I ever got. I have collected very lightly ttm in 1998 and got the odd one of two autographs in person or gifted to me until 2004 when I started collecting full time - ttm and buying.

    The story behind this one is kind of interesting. It was 2001 and I was a big fan of the Beatles, John Lennon in particular. I had thought it would be really cool if I could somehow get his autograph. I knew he died in 1980 so if I was going to get his autograph it had to be purchased. I didn’t know a lot about buying autographs at the time but I did know what John Lennon’s autograph should look like. When I browsed eBay, I saw a lot of obvious fakes and some plausible ones. Back then there was no Beckett or high end autograph authentication company for non-sports autographs. I had to study known examples of John Lennon’s signature and educate myself. I did this throughout all of 2001.

    In 2002 I started regularly searching eBay for potential John Lennon autographs to purchase. At the time I knew of no other outlet where I could possibly purchase one. One day I stumbled upon a 1970s era signed index card. It looked authentic to me and the bidding had started at $100. I had $600 cash. I was a teenager at the time so I didn’t have very much money saved up. Since I knew I got money every birthday and holiday season, I asked Dad for sort of a loan and let me have the next few years’ money in advance to use towards this autograph. I promised him I would not expect or be sad I was getting no gifts for the next five years. He reluctantly and surprisingly agreed to this. I knew at the time a John Lennon autograph by itself was worth about $1200. I had planned to bid that amount.

    The night the auction ends arrived. I bid my $1200 but I get outbid. I was devastated. However Dad said “bid $1300” and so I did and won it for just under $1300! A few days later a box arrives from UPS that needs to be signed for so I knew it was my John Lennon autograph. I am beyond excited to open this.

    It was well packed and the seller even provided his own COA which detailed that he got the autograph signed in person in the 1970s at an airport (I think Los Angeles). The autograph looked even more beautiful in person. The index card was a little yellowed but other than that it looked great!

    Dad decided that day that I did not have to forfeit the next five years of gifts and said I didn’t have to pay him back either. He just wanted me to be happy which I was.


    Years later, I am in need of money, either to buy a different autograph or for some other reason. I believe this is the first time I ever sold an autograph. I did not know exactly how to sell it so I asked around. Shockingly a fellow online friend was actually interested in buying the autograph even though they didn’t collect autographs specifically - they were just a huge fan of John Lennon. Originally I asked $2000 but they said that was too high so I lowered it to $1600 which they accepted. I remember shipping to Germany cost $60 with insurance but I felt it was still worth it considering I did not have to pay eBay seller fees since this was a private sale. I was pretty happy. I believe the money ended up going towards the Walt Disney signed check I later purchased in 2005.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great story, but I don't want to know what a Lennon goes for now. :)

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭
    edited November 16, 2021 6:15AM

    ..

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    Not a real autograph but still a nice story behind this one.

    I met someone at a collector’s show and told them how I collect historical autographs. They told me they had this RFK campaign letter but that it was likely a printed signature. I told them I might be interested in it just due to the historic nature of it. A few days later, they contact me, show me a picture of it, and I confirm it is definitely printed but that if they are no longer wanting it I would be happy to have it. Originally they were going to charge me $20 for it but when they realized those selling for $20 on eBay were in pristine condition and this one had a piece missing and condition issues they decided to let me have it as a gift. I thought that was very kind of them. So now I have an RFK letter, just not a real autograph but still cool.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 12, 2021 11:34AM

    @JMS1223 said:
    Not a real autograph but still a nice story behind this one.

    I met someone at a collector’s show and told them how I collect historical autographs. They told me they had this RFK campaign letter but that it was likely a printed signature. I told them I might be interested in it just due to the historic nature of it. A few days later, they contact me, show me a picture of it, and I confirm it is definitely printed but that if they are no longer wanting it I would be happy to have it. Originally they were going to charge me $20 for it but when they realized those selling for $20 on eBay were in pristine condition and this one had a piece missing and condition issues they decided to let me have it as a gift. I thought that was very kind of them. So now I have an RFK letter, just not a real autograph but still cool.

    Historic letters, even if printed, are still worthwhile.

    A couple years ago I bought on Ebay a letter from Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge from the 1930s that had a rubber-stamped signature.

    I bought it since it was a form letter he sent to the many people who were writing to him about FDR's plan to pack the Supreme Court. It seemed very historical and relevant since that proposal is once again being made by some people.

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    In 2006 I heard that former President Bill Clinton was going to rally for Governor Deval Patrick at an event. I knew someone who was attending the event as a VIP and asked if he could try to get me Bill Clinton’s autograph. A day or two later I find out he was able to get me Clinton’s autograph.

    What happened was he had Tim Murray, the Lt. Governor running with Deval Patrick, get it for me. Murray was supposed to give it to my acquaintance that night but didn’t so he would have to contact Murray and meet up and get it at a later date. I was nervous this was a dead end and I would never get the autograph. So I took matters into my own hand. That night I found Tim Murray’s phone number online. I figured “what’s the worst that can happen?” so I dialed it that night. When I got his assistant, I asked for Tim Murray and told her that he had something for me and that I wanted him to mail it to me. The assistant told me she knew nothing about this autograph and told me that Tim Murray was “out.” She seemed somewhat helpful but I figured I needed to actually speak to Tim Murray so I tried again the next day. I got the same assistant and when I asked for Tim Murray she was like “what do you need to speak to him for?” so I tried to explain my situation. She remembered me and very reluctantly got Tim Murray on the line. I ask Tim Murray if he has the Bill Clinton autograph. He asks who I am and how I got his number. I begin to explain then the assistant gets back on the line and tells me to never call again and hangs up. I was very sad.

    A week or so later the acquaintance comes through for me and gives me the the Bill Clinton autograph. He told me the story about how it was signed. Tim Murray and Bill Clinton (and maybe others too) were riding in the back of a limousine when Tim Murray asked for the autograph right before they parted for the night. He had almost forgot to ask! Since it was kind of difficult to see in the limousine at night, Bill Clinton totally misspelled my first and last names (thus why I can post it here unedited). But still a nice signature. It was signed on the back of the rally ticket. Tim Murray also provided his event badge from the rally for provenance.

    Years later, I find out Tim Murray found humor in this story and tells it occasionally to supporters. That made me feel somewhat important if Tim Murray remembers this after all these years.

    Sadly this went when I did my big sell off. I sold this along with a few other high end autographs to an auction house and sadly it ended up framed and matted with just the signature displayed. Whoever purchased this for $200 probably put it up on their wall and it’s now faded. I can just picture the faded signature now.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That's insane, in a good way!

    I wonder if you've ever thought to write to Tim Murray about it. (Just don't tell him you later sold it).

    I think in another thread you mentioned a tendency to do "inappropriate" things on occasion. I am not trying to make light of that, but that approach got you not one but TWO autographs from sitting presidents, as well as a Neil Armstrong many years after he stopped signing autographs!

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    @JBK said:
    That's insane, in a good way!

    I wonder if you've ever thought to write to Tim Murray about it. (Just don't tell him you later sold it).

    I think in another thread you mentioned a tendency to do "inappropriate" things on occasion. I am not trying to make light of that, but that approach got you not one but TWO autographs from sitting presidents, as well as a Neil Armstrong many years after he stopped signing autographs!

    I never did think of writing to Tim Murray after I found out he told the story to others finding it humorous. Maybe I will send him a quick note about it sometime.

    That reminds me I will have to write those stories up and include them in this thread. I am very upset I for some reason never saved even pictures of my George W. Bush autographs or even the Andy Card letter. I tried looking online seeing if I posted them anywhere where they might still live but nope, I must had removed them. I think when I sold them I was somehow convinced they must be autopen or fake because the inscription was typed on both so sadly I think I deleted the pictures. Years later I am now back on the belief that they were authentic as I originally thought. Funny how I went through periods of time where I thought they must be fake! I just couldn’t believe I got an authentic autograph from Bush TWICE directly from the White House.

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    Since these all relate to my “obsession” to get sitting President George W. Bush’s autograph ttm I will post the stories in one post.

    In 2005 I decided to collect U.S. President autographs for the first time. I knew that sitting Presidents very rarely or almost never sent authentic autographs ttm but I knew they did on rare occasions as I had seen those rare authentic handwritten replies online. I thought that perhaps I might be able to find a way to get an authentic one if I could just get through his handlers.

    I have tried MANY different methods, two of which were successful. Some of the methods that failed were as fellows: writing letters praising him all resulted in preprint, I once sent him a $200 check saying I would buy his autograph which was returned saying monetary items are not accepted, I sent him cards for various occasions including his birthday, Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving from which I got preprinted holiday greetings but oddly never the official White House Christmas card. I once had the former Chief of Police in Waco, Texas (who knew Bush personally) write to Bush at the White House to see if she could get one for me, but it turned out to be autopen. I even sent a letter to then Massachsetts governor Mitt Romney who I corresponded with authentically ttm on at least four occasions (I found an address for him which at that time actually bypassed his handlers and went directly to him) but surprisingly Romney sent back a full handwritten signed letter saying he couldn’t “just intrude on the President of the United States” for an autograph (I wish I kept a copy of that response, especially once he announced his candidacy for President in 2012). So that was when I thought to try Bush’s then Chief of Staff, Andy Card.

    Sometime in the early spring of 2006 I decided to write Andrew Card. I wanted his autograph anyway so this plan worked out well. I had a picture of Andy Card whispering to President Bush that the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane on 9/11. I requested that I would love for him to sign that picture for me. I then wrote that I really wanted George W. Bush’s actual hand signed autograph, and not the typical preprint or autopen. I told him that I would be thrilled if he would do that for me but that I was understanding if he couldn’t. I sent this letter DAYS before he announced he was resigning, so when I heard he was resigning I got very nervous I would never hear back until I realized it wasn’t to take effect for a few more weeks. I think it was a day after his resignation I received his response in the mail. Ironically I also got like three other letters/packages that same mail day. I remember getting two items I ordered online and my ttm success from Anne Frank helper Miep Gies…one of the very few autographs from my original collection I still have. After opening and putting all these autographs away, I went down to the mailbox and found the White House 8x10 envelope bent inside the mailbox. The envelope surprisingly flattened out. Inside was a typed hand signed letter from Andy Card saying that he was glad to sign my photo which was enclosed and that he was able to get George W. Bush to hand sign a photo for me. The Andy Card photo was entirely hand signed including inscription but the George W. Bush photo had a typed inscription but a signature that did not look like it was autopen. I knew I would need to further study this. After hours of research I could not find a matching autopen pattern or any tell tale signs of autopen in the signature. I found it odd, and still find it odd that the inscription was typed instead of handwritten which is what I expect for authentic Bush autographs. I had seen other Presidential autographs with the typed or secretarially written inscriptions and the autograph had always been some kind of autopen (Reagan examples immediately came to mind).

    After I got this unbelievable success I decided to write the Bush White House a thank you letter. I didn’t think anything else of it other than that I wanted the White House to know I appreciated this response from Andy Card. I would had written Card himself but now that he was out of office I didn’t have an address to use at the time. A few weeks later I get a large White House envelope in the mail. I am stumped as I was not expecting anything from the White House. Inside was a piece of cardboard, a card with the Presidential seal that had typed on it “with compliments” and what appeared to be a hand signed George W. Bush autograph very similar to the one Andy Card sent me, but the signature was different. Same typed inscription. Very odd I thought but also very pleased as I thought it was another authentic autograph of Bush. I studied these and convinced myself they were likely authentic after showing them to many experts and comparing with all known autopens and preprints.

    A couple years before my big sell off phase, I discovered a Bush autograph that was given to a very important person, someone I knew who actually worked for Bush, was autopen. It was on the very special photo taken of her standing next to Bush in the Oval Office receiving an award. It was sent to her right after she was finished with her job at the White House. I could not believe it when I spotted a new autopen pattern and remembered it looked kind of like the signature on that photo. Once I compared them I found it was an exact match! The photo had the typed inscription just like mine so now I grew extremely suspicious that these typed inscription photos were all autopen.

    When it came time for me to unload my entire autograph collection I knew I could not sell the Bush autographs as authentic now that I believed them to be autopen. However, when I sold them I mentioned that I did not find the matching autopen pattern but that I believed them to be autopen. I started the bidding low and since the Andy Card letter and photo had authentic signatures from him on them, I started the bidding at $99. I think in the end I got $199 for the lot…the two Bush autographs and Andy Card autographs. When I received positive feedback for them the buyer said he was happy he could “verify the autographs were authentic” which led me to believe he had other Bush autographs that did NOT match these ones. However looking back on it, maybe he meant he discovered these Bush autographs were authentic, not ones he had prior. After that sale, I chose not to save pictures of these autographs mostly because I believed they were autopen and I only saved pictures of real autographs I thought were important in my former collection.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 10,689 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Amazing stories!

    If Romney had become president his letter about not wanting to bother W would have been extremely desirable.

    I might try that check routine just to get the reply. That would be a nice collectable.

    I think that historically some authentically signatures were added to photos with calligraphy inscriptions.

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 347 ✭✭✭

    @JBK said:

    I might try that check routine just to get the reply. That would be a nice collectable.

    I think that historically some authentically signatures were added to photos with calligraphy inscriptions.

    The check thing did not get ANY response under Obama when I tried it with him. Every single time I sent anything to the Bush White House, I always got a reply. During the Obama White House I occasionally got a response and zero during Trump and so far zero during Biden. I think it slowed down completely even when it comes to ANY response.

    I agree, I have since discovered authentic autographs with calligraphy or typed inscriptions. Some even authenticated by third parties.

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