I have always had a passion for autographs, collecting, and handwriting, along with a passion for America's Pastime. When I was a kid at the impressionable age of 11, I had the opportunity to meet Mickey Mantle at a card show signing in Scottsdale, AZ with my grandfather.

My Gramps had a huge impact on my brother's and my lives, as he was the one that spent time with us to teach us about sports and history of baseball, and is a huge reason on why am where I am today. We got to meet other legends of the game like Warren Spahn, Lou Brock and many others at local card shows in Arizona. With spring training and Fall League in the late 80's and early 90's it was a hot bed for collecting and obtaining autographs. There was always something to do so it was the perfect mix to turn a young kid into a obsessive compulsive adult of a collector!

From about the age of 11 to my mid 20's I was completely engrossed in the hobby, and graphing became a normal part of life, like doing dishes or laundry. I would get up early, hit the camps, parking lots, you name it, just to chase the ink then work my normal job in the evenings. I really didn't get into the whole internet thing and kept it local wth my friends in the hobby, taking breaks here and there in between. As you know graphing can be a huge grind and it is a full-time job in itself for just being a hobby!

Around the late 90's, though, I discovered the seedy underbelly of the hobby that really took the innocence out of collecting. People that I thought were friends and that I grew up with that I trusted weren't such nice people. I found out that there are few people you can trust. After being taken I focused on studying, because as a collector and someone that did it with limited means, nobody wants to get ripped off!

I decided when I got back into a position where I could collect again, I wanted to teach people what I've learned and help collectors just like you and me to not get ripped-off. So I entered the world of the internet and it opened up a whole new avenue and road that has taken me where I am today. 

I have made so many great friends on this site through the years, and through Facebook out of all places, where I launched a group to buy and sell autographs in a monitored and controlled environment. I have the pleasure now to be able to work under a leader in the hobby, and am happy to call my boss a mentor and a friend.

I am starting a career in the world of third-party autograph authentication with a company that I have trusted for years as a card collector. It is funny to think that none of this may have been possible if it weren't for a spring day in 1991 as an 11-year-old kid. That's why I am where I am now, and am so excited to see what the future brings!

 

 

Views: 109

Tags: #Mantle, #MyJourney

Comment by wascher on March 20, 2017 at 6:48am

You're one of the good guys Tony!  Very happy for you! :)

Comment by Steve Zarelli on March 20, 2017 at 7:08am

Congratulations!

Comment by Don Webster on March 20, 2017 at 10:51am

What a great read!!!

I don't know you Tony but it would be my pleasure to get to know you!

Honesty and integrity...who woulda' thunk it eh??

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