Have you ever had someone damage one of your autographs or collectables? I’ve had two different girlfriends that have. One time a girlfriend had purchased me this huge glass frame, shaped like a baseball field. She thought I could put some of my autographed baseball cards in it. There were spots for cards to slip in near the position they play. So by the pitchers mound, a spot to slip a card in. By first base, second, third...all the outfield. I told her I wasn’t sure I even had enough autographed baseball cards to fill all the positions. Turns out -- I did. Now, the Robin Yount autographed rookie card (Topps, 1975), I remember buying for $10. Best. Deal. Ever. What happened was...I was about 12-years-old and at a baseball card show/convention. I was looking at basketball cards (people usually sold them to me cheap, as there was no interest in the NBA back then). A kid had come over and showed his dad the purchase he had made. There were former and current baseball players signing autographs, for $25 a pop. This kid’s dad had a stand, where he was selling valuable cards. The boy took the Yount rookie card and spent $25 for Yount to sign the card. The dad started screaming, “Why did you do that? This card is worthless now! Once you damage a card, it’s no longer in mint condition. Writing on a card, even by the player on the card, is ruining the surface. It’s garbage now!”
I said to the angry father, “I collect autographs. I’ll buy it from you.”
He said, “Here! Ten bucks and it’s yours.”
Well, it was 15 years later, and the girlfriend was putting the cards into the slots, and some of them didn’t easily fit in. I wasn’t looking when...she got a pair of scissors and was using that to try and push the card into the slot. The scissors slipped, and basically split the card in two. Needless to say, I was furious. But how mad can you be at a girlfriend that’s buying you things so you can display your collectables? I mean, usually I’d hear stuff like, “If we ever get married, none of this autographed crap is going on the walls.”
Another time, a girlfriend and I were driving to Las Vegas. I had just moved into a new house, and when she came over, she was ticked that I wasn’t ready to go. As I was putting stuff away she said, “Here, let me help you.”
She grabbed something and, her foot hit a bottle of Windex that was open. The Windex spilled out onto the Jimmy Carter autographed books I had stacked nearby. The good news/bad news of it was...it only ruined the first one on the stack of 15. The bad news is -- at the box signing, the ex-President was signing “J. Carter.” I said “On one of the books, could you sign your full name?”
He did, and that’s the book that now has the water damage. Again, it’s hard to get mad when someone is helping you, but...I still yelled at her. She yelled back, “Who leaves bottles of cleaner open? If you’re not happy with me helping you, fine, I won’t.”
She then sat in the car for 30 minutes while I finished up. And, that 5 hour drive to Vegas seemed like 50.
At a book signing John Denver did once, I went merely because my friend was a huge fan. In fact, I didn’t even buy a book or get a signature. He talked briefly before he started signing and told a funny story about something he did to his wife. They had a cabin in Colorado, and he was on tour somewhere. When he came home his wife said, “You know how I always hated all those trees in front of the window blocking my view? Well, I paid some guys to come cut them all down.”
Now, if you’re not familiar with Denver aside from his cheesy pop songs, he’s a big nature lover. He flipped out upon hearing this, went to the garage, and grabbed a chainsaw. He said, “You cut these trees in half, well...I’m going to cut your stuff in half!”
He took the chainsaw to everything in her closet. He smiled telling the story, saying he overreacted.
I thought of all this because of a story I saw on the news this morning. A Wisconsin man was ticked that his wife had damaged his collection of action figures. He then did something that makes little sense to me. Instead of damaging something like...her Louis Vuitton purse or shoe collection in the closet...he took an ax and started chopping up everything. Their laptop, TV, and other household items, before finally going outside and putting the ax through the windshield of their car. Realizing he was wrong, he did what all of us would do in that situation -- he called 911 on himself. The cops showed up, noticed the ax still embedded in the car window, and noticed he was also a bit intoxicated. The 34-year-old was taken into custody, and faces domestic-related charges of disorderly conduct and felony damage to property.
His wife wasn’t home at the time, and nobody was injured.
Now, the story I saw reported $5,000 worth of damage. Being the collector that I am, I couldn’t help wonder -- did that figure include his action figures, or was that just the TV, windshield, and household items?
I also wonder if...the guy goes to jail, and he has a huge cellmate say, “Yo man, what are you in for?”
Does he tell him, “Well, I had a rare Steve Austin action figure from the Six Million Dollar Man, that was a limited edition and…”