Sunday, March 21, 1999

Signed Comic Books

I've collected autographs for about 5 or 6 years now. My first hobby was collecting comic books, which I've done since I was about 5 years old in 1973. Recently, I've started going to comic shows and getting many of my comics autographed by the artists and writers. I'm very happy with the results so far.

The artist/writer guests at comic shows usually sign your items for free, and seem to be thrilled to casually chat with fans. Also, they typically have original drawings and prints available for purchase at very reasonable prices.

It's a real thrill to meet the people who wrote and drew comics which have given me so much pleasure over the years. And, I find signed comics to be very compelling and dynamic additions to my comic and autograph collections.

Monday, March 08, 1999

RIP: The Yankee Clipper

Joe DiMaggio died today. In the past several years, he did signings at one or two card shows a year. Typically, the cost for a signed ball and a moment with Joe would cost about $150. I always put it off because of the price. Now, I wish I had sprung for the signing. The memory would be worth far more than the $150.

Monday, March 01, 1999

Guralnick On The King

Peter Guralnick has written two superb books on the life of Elvis Presley. Historians will certainly judge these works as the definitive biography of the most compelling entertainer to ever live. I'm now reading "Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley." It traces Presley's life from 1960 until his death in 1977. There are several interesting passages on autographs.

According to Guralnick, when Presley was in the Army, serving in Germany, an entire room in his rented home was full of fan mail. Presley's secretaries and friends would answer the mail with signed photographs which they very skillfully forged. Additionally, Presley set aside one-half hour every night (7-7:30 pm) to go out to the gates and sign autographs. He was always happy to sign for his fans.

To the autograph collector this means that there a great deal of authentic -- and fake -- Presley signatures in existence. This should be of great concern to anyone thinking of purchasing his autograph. Certainly, there are many secretarial signatures that have been certified as authentic simply because they are old and seem to "match" known samples. But who is to tell the "known" samples were not other secretarials? Before buying a Presley signed item, one should take great care and be very sure of the pedigree of the signature.