I don't believe that Tillman was ever a part of one of those special signings like all rookies do now for insert cards. I don't think that 7th round picks (like Tillman) are/or were treated the same as those who were hyped with the 1st-4th round picks. Also, Tillman was a rookie in 1998 but yet did not have an issued card until 2001. It's going to be tough acquiring one as I believe my only good shot is someone around Tempe or Glendale falling on hard times and is forced to part with it.
Yeah, I didn't think that the era in which Tillman played made him a prime target for autograph insert card signings. Have you tried contacting memoribilia dealerships in the area - someone who might have worked with Tillman at some point? Obviously, his NFL career was short, so signing opportunities were probably limited.
This is a tough one!
Truthfully it's my own fault that I never got one for myself. If I never have one for my collection then it's not the end of the world. I've been talking with collectors and fans ever since I heard about Pat's death trying to get one. The crazy thing is about this signature is that of all people who should have one is me!! LOL. I've collected Sun Devil autographs since the begining days of starting my collection. The only reason that I could use why I never got Pat's was because I was more focused on graduating at that point as was not seeking autographs. I recall many times (no joke) standing next to Pat at the crosswalk on University Ave. in Tempe just wondering if he was going to be drafted and where he was going to go. I just assumed he would be around for years to come and I'll get his signature a few years down the road. This was the same case with former Patriots running back JR Redmond.
Have you looked for team-signed items as well? That might end up being the ticket to finding an authentic example.
You could also head to high-profile sports memoribilia shows when you have the opportunity (i.e. Mounted Memories, Tri-Star, Steiner sponsored). I went to a MM one recently, and the rarities I found were amazing.
Tillman never did a paid signing. He didn't believe in charging for signatures. Be careful of any single signed Tillman items. Before enlisting he wasn't the type of guy somebody would spend alot of money on something just for him to sign. I've only seen very limited single signed items. Normally his signature was at training camp or fanfest where he was with many players. Most of his signed items are multiple signatures. I did see an auto cut 1/1 of Tillman out of a 2010 card product. I think it was SP Signature Cut or something. Was watching it but seller took it down early.
The dealer I trade with regularly has a cut signature that he is framing like the one I have with a jersey and photo's. He said it is currently at the frame shop so I couldn't see it. I traded him a few cut signatures a few months back. He said it isn't one of the ones I traded to him so not sure what it looks like. He framed mine for me and has done 4 or 5 others but they sell pretty quick. He wants $1,500 for it once the framing is complete. This is without haggling. I might be able to get him down a little. Not sure what your looking to spend but if your interested I can have it held for me until I can shoot you a picture of it. His shop is the only one I know in the Tempe/Mesa area that has one.
I will be digging through my junk today and tomorrow. I dont think I have another but it is possible that I might have another signature in one of my boxes that I hadn't checked in awhile. I'll let you know.