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Have you ever bought an album page for a particular person, and when you receive it you find on the back someone even better? I once bought one then turned it over and saw "Thayer David." For those of you that do not remember the old Dark Shadows television show Thayer David was a wonderful part of that cast. Did not really expect that. Recently I had an instance where I ended up with what I call an "accidental autograph" since I was not expecting it.

I have some letters from an old vaudeville, television and movie character actress Sally DeMay. I knew she was in Stardust Memories a Woody Allen movie. She also did television in particular some episodes of Car 54 Where Are You. I have the series on dvd and immediately recognized the "little old lady" in one of the Larry Storch episodes. She also was often on the Joe Franklin Show and did an episode of the American Master series. DeMay was also in a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercial, and a Holiday Inn commercial as a little old lady kicking a football. I wanted to know more about her and imdb did not give as much as I wanted (although a wonderful site). So I do a search and find on Amazon a book called "Almost Famous" by Sally DeMay. Great she wrote her autobiography ! The book including shipping was $6.99.

When it arrived I opened it and saw a pasted in piece of paper on the half title page. Flipping pages I then noticed a photograph with writing in blue ink where there should have been a caption. I thought just my luck not only did someone paste something in they wrote in the book too! Then as I turned the pages every single photo had written captions in blue ink no less. There were pictures of Sally DeMay with various big stars each identified in the handwritten captions. I thought that is odd there were absolutely no printed picture captions in the book. These handwritten captions seemed too personal. There was even a picture of her dog "Cookie in front of our home." Other pictures she often wrote "Me." Going page by page I found at the end of the book a picture of Sally with her unmistakable autograph itself! I thought what if she had the book printed, and to her horror the captions were missing. Would she have handwritten captions and signed her photo in every book? Back to amazon I went and there was another of her book again $6.99 including shipping. When the second book arrived I opened and checked there were no captions at all. I was actually relieved since it meant my book was likely Sally's personal copy because the title page is blank. I think had she given it to someone she would have inscribed the title page or at least signed that. Although I cannot say this is the my favorite autograph it is certainly a very special one. I believe Sally DeMay is apparently still alive at 93 one of the last of the vaudeville era. I would like to contact her to tell her how much I enjoyed the book but I am terrible trying to find how to that sort of thing.

If anyone else has any "accidental autograph" stories I would enjoy hearing them.

Tags: De, DeMay, Demay, May, Sally, Vaudeville

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This is kind of an accidental autograph story. I bought an authentic Madonna signed book on eBay. The seller was a super nice guy right from the get-go. Even though we didn't live in the same area (I'm from Kansas, and he is from Texas), I graduated from the University of Kansas, and his brother-law is a professor there. Well, when I got my package in the mail, I opened it up to not only find my Madonna signed book but also a children's book signed by former heavyweight champion George Foreman, no doubt authentic. Now even though Forman's autograph is not nearly as valuable as Madonna's, it was still a nice touch, especially given that I've always liked George Foreman. It was totally unexpected, as it wasn't even in the eBay item description. I emailed him, and it wasn't a mistake. He just shipped it along as a little "extra" since he said he had enjoyed our conversation. I thought that was really nice!

That is great that he was nice enough to do that.  Shows that there are still some decent eBay sellers out there.  We generally only hear the horror stories. Thanks so much for sharing that.

Awesome stories. Many, many years ago when I was about 11 I got dragged by my Grandparents to a car boot sale on a rainy Sunday Morning. I saw a box of stuff and in there were some comics and 2 autograph books that I got for $5. 

I put the box away and a few weeks later was flicking through the autograph books and there were some good ones from a few Hollywood stars from the 1920'S & 1930's. I was happy enough with that when I picked up the comics and a few more pieces of paper fell out including a Laurel and Hardy signed piece of paper.

Unfortunately we ended up selling the autographs at an auction but I found at early that it always pays to check things as you just never know if something could be hidden

Thanks Dan. This reminds me of the time I got an old history book and put it on the shelf without looking at it much.  Probably several months later I took it down and just started to leaf through and came across a piece of paper that turned out to be a hollow cut silhouette of a man about 1815-1820 with the embossed seal of Charles Peale!  Have no idea who the man is but was apparently stuck in the book for safekeeping.

I purchased a small lot of Jazz and Blues pieces on eBay. From the description and images I knew it contained a signed Big Joe Turner LP. I really wanted this so I paid the $50 price for the lot. I nearly ended up pulling out on the deal because the postage cost turned out to be really high, but I wanted that signed LP so I continued. When the items turned up all seemed to be as described except for a Thelonious Monk LP which to my absolute surprise, when I turned it over, had what appeared to be his signature on it. Straight to the internet I went to check whether this particular LP was pre-printed with his autograph, which it was not! Unbelievable that the seller hadn't mentioned it or showed a picture of it!
It ended up at auction (as Blues, rather than Jazz, is more my thing), and, it is quite safe to say, I ended up on that deal!
In 1997, I was new to eBay and saw a listing for a signed Ritchie Valens 45 rpm record. The buyer was starting the auction at a mere $20 and to make it worse it didn't even have a picture of the record or the autograph. Back then, eBay didn't require you to have a picture of the item in your listing. I contacted the seller asking for a picture and the back story behind it and found out that she had obtained it at a radio station where Ritchie was handing out signed copies of his new single as a promotion. I asked her if she could send me a picture and she told me that she didn't know how and didn't didnt have a digital camera but could take a picture and get it developed and mail it to me. Something about her sincerity or my eagerness to WANT this to be true told me to bid on it because the auction would end even before I got the pictures. I ended up being the ONLY Bidder and got it for $20. The day I opened the package I couldn't believe my eyes, signed in blue ball point pen was a genuine signed Ritchie Valens 45. Roger Epperson has stated that he has only seen about 5 of them throughout his career.

That is an amazing story Anthony.  I remember the early wild west days of eBay when sometimes you had to go with a gut feeling based solely on the description with no photos.  I am sure I passed up many great deals but with autographs especially it was really a gamble.   Although even today with pictures it can be tricky and far more bad guys there now.  Thanks for sharing.

That was a very good deal and the Monk autographi I am certain outweighs the shipping charge. Thanks so much for sharing that Nate.

I recently purchased The Beach Boys SMiLE album signed by Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, and Bruce Johnston from Perry Cox, he also sent me (as an extra surprise) the inside booklet along with it that had also been signed by Al Jardine...He didn't have to do that...It wasn't in the listing, and I even told him he didn't have to. Honestly probably one of the best ebay experiences I've had, I even talked to Perry on the phone for a bit about The Beach Boys. He is a real nice guy who knows his stuff! 

I have had that happen a couple times also that a seller will throw in something unexpected it is always a nice surprise when that happens. 

Here is an example of an unexpected autograph. I had bought some checks signed by actress Susan Strasberg (daughter of Lee Strasberg). She appeared in scores of television shows in the 1950s-70s including the westerns (one of my collecting areas) Bonanza and The Big Valley. The checks were inexpensive and I was very happy with them. I bought a set of three and one stuck out because it was in purple ink on a pink check. It was made out to "Cash" when I turned it over there was her signature again! So I ended up with four autographs for the price of three.   The top is the front of the check with the endorsement shown below.


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