Mike Shepherd's Blog (13)

Fourth-Party Authentication

Reliance on third-party authentication has taken on a new meaning in recent times.  Some collectors will simply not consider purchasing an autograph without proof that it has received a passing grade from one of the respectable services available.  There is also the great debate over stickers.  Do collectors prefer them?  Do collectors not prefer them?  Should they be affixed to the front or back of a photo?  Should they be affixed to the actual item, or to a Letter…


Added by Mike Shepherd on June 16, 2020 at 12:30pm — 10 Comments

Who Do You Collect?

As autograph collectors, most of us remember our first purchase.  If we do not, we remember the first purchase of our favorite person’s autograph.  At the time of that purchase, we probably did not expect to add additional autographs of that same person to our collection.  Why would we?  The purchase of a single autograph was an accomplished mission.

In most hobbies, the question of what people collect is often asked.  The question asked of autograph collectors is often more…


Added by Mike Shepherd on May 23, 2020 at 9:00am — 19 Comments

Crazy Train Derailed

I was visiting my son in Los Angeles in February.  We were driving through Burbank, when I heard a song on the radio that had a very familiar sound.  “Is this a new Ozzy song?” I thought to myself.  Then, as if he was reading my mind, my son said, “Dad, this is the new Ozzy song.”  I immediately reserved my vinyl copy of Ordinary Man at a local record store in Sherman Oaks, called Freakbeat Records.  The owner was a pleasure to deal with.  I could not wait to listen to the full…


Added by Mike Shepherd on April 10, 2020 at 7:00am — 6 Comments

A Fate Worse Than Death

COVID-19 may change our hobby forever.

We all know how difficult it is to procure the autographs of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Jim Morrison.  The unfortunate reason for the difficulty is that their tragic deaths have prevented them from signing the number of autographs that they would have if they had lived for many years.

Consider our current situation.  Comic conventions and social distancing are mutually exclusive.  Anyone who has ever attended New York Comic Con can…


Added by Mike Shepherd on March 29, 2020 at 5:00am — 9 Comments

Mean Streets of Autograph Collecting

Many of my friends are surprised to learn that my most memorable movie theater experience was not Star Wars in 1977 at the age of seven, but Scarface in 1983 at the age of 13.  It was on that day that I discovered Al Pacino.  He has been my favorite actor ever since.

The 92nd Academy Awards will present another opportunity for my favorite actor to win an Oscar for his performance in Martin Scorsese’s film, The Irishman.  It was also a pleasure to see him…


Added by Mike Shepherd on February 9, 2020 at 1:00pm — 11 Comments

Collecting Fads.... What's Next?

Anyone who is over the age of forty remembers how popular collecting baseball cards was back in the late 1980s through the early 1990s.  For me, it was the 1988 Topps baseball set that piqued my interest in collecting baseball cards again.  Unfortunately, the popularity of collecting baseball cards then was brief.  Many of us spent a lot of our money on worthless rookie cards that ended up on the curb, along with the rest of our cardboard treasures from back then that amounted to…


Added by Mike Shepherd on January 24, 2020 at 3:00pm — 19 Comments

Autograph Gift Magic

Autograph collectors are certainly not the easiest people to purchase a gift for.  That is what makes purchasing an autograph for someone who is not an autograph collector so much fun.  Imagine a family member who is a New York Yankees fan receiving an Aaron Judge autographed baseball.  Or a friend who is a Star Wars fan receiving a Daisy Ridley autographed photo.  That is the magic of autograph gifts.…


Added by Mike Shepherd on December 23, 2019 at 1:50pm — 2 Comments

The Human Factor

I recently had the honor and pleasure of meeting David Proval.  The venue was SopranosCon in New Jersey.  I wanted to add his autograph to my Mean Streets photo.  The photo already had the autographs of Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese on it.

I made all of the necessary preparations.  I placed the photo into a protective folder, and then into a protective envelope.  I tested my blue Sharpie, so that his autograph would match Robert De Niro’s and Martin Scorsese’s…


Added by Mike Shepherd on November 23, 2019 at 1:58pm — 6 Comments

Mr. (Grumpy?) October

On June 18, 1978, my father treated me to my first New York Yankees baseball game.  We sat in the upper deck.  It was Bat Day, and I could not wait to see Reggie Jackson play.  He put on an incredible show during batting practice, hitting one baseball out of Yankee Stadium and onto River Avenue in the Bronx.  At least that is how I remember it.  I was eight years old.  Unfortunately, his performance in the game was not as exciting.  He went 0-4, striking out four times.

Four years…


Added by Mike Shepherd on October 26, 2019 at 2:12pm — 10 Comments

It’s My Money

It was my freshman year of college in the spring of 1988.  I walked to a local convenience store to purchase a few necessaries.  While I was checking out, I noticed a box of Topps baseball cards on the counter.  I could not resist.  With the exception of one pack in the spring of 1986, I had not purchased baseball cards since 1981.  That was the year that the New York Yankees lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

I spent the entire summer of 1988 completing that set.…


Added by Mike Shepherd on September 29, 2019 at 7:25pm — 9 Comments

How Far Would You Go?

When I realized that Val Kilmer would be attending Terrificon this August, I immediately thought of my Warwick Davis signed Willow photo, and how incomplete it was without his signature.  A decision needed to be made.  Was it too far away?  Would I regret not attending, since he makes rare appearances?  I did not hesitate, and I immediately purchased a ticket.…


Added by Mike Shepherd on August 30, 2019 at 7:49am — 18 Comments

We All Have Our Hobbies

"We all have our hobbies."

That was the response that I gave to an elderly gentleman back in 1999.  My best friend and I were waiting on line outside of the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City.  A new Star Wars movie was about to be released for the first time in sixteen years.  The elderly gentleman was with his wife, and he asked me what we were all doing on the sidewalk.  After I explained our purpose, he said, "They should get a giant cage and lock you all in it."  After I…


Added by Mike Shepherd on July 26, 2019 at 11:23am — 18 Comments

Thank You, Mr. Cyrkin

I have been collecting autographs since I asked Phil Esposito to sign a scrap piece of paper in 1981 at the age of eleven, but it was never a true hobby until twenty-one years ago.  It was then that I not only continued to collect in-person autographs, but also made quite a few purchases from dealers.  It was not until seven years later that I discovered Autograph Collector Magazine.

I was browsing through the magazine section of my local Borders bookstore when I noticed a…


Added by Mike Shepherd on June 29, 2019 at 9:39am — 21 Comments


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