The only thing I ever knew about Lake Charles, Louisiana...were the lyrics from the great song by The Band, “Up On Cripple Creek.” Now the other thing I know about it, is that the town was ravaged recently by Hurricane Laura. It left 16 dead and many with destroyed homes. 

President Trump made a visit there, as Presidents always seem to do when a town deals with a devastating event. As he signed autographs for city officials, he was overheard telling some of them they should sell them on ebay, because they could be worth $10,000 a pop.

The only other time I’ve ever heard someone suggest a person sell their autograph, is artist Peter Max. I went to a book signing he was doing in Mission Valley and my friend had this rare book he had done in the ‘60s. She wanted him to autograph it, but he instead wanted to keep it. He begged her to stay until after everyone had left, which we did. I paid $50 for the coffee table book he had just released. She wasn’t about to shell out that kind of cash, thinking she’d just get her book from the ‘60s signed. He pleaded with her, saying “Look, I’m going to draw you a picture and sign that, and you can turn around and sell it on ebay for $10,000.”

The funny thing is...he was completely wrong about that. Had he done a painting for her, perhaps. But not a quick picture of a boat on the ocean with a sun and birds, which took him about 1 minute to draw. But she gave him the book. I told her she should have negotiated, and said “I also want you to throw in a signed coffee table book.”

But from Peter to the President...

Trump is right, that presidential autographs are worth money, but..when a Lincoln autograph on a scrap of paper sells for $5,000...his signature is probably closer to $50 in value. Especially when you factor in his “popularity” as well as how many signatures of his are out there (since he’s done many reality shows and has been in the public eye since the ‘80s).

Trump didn’t just sign for city officials. He also signed for others that were able to get close to him.

No matter how you feel about President Trump, I always sort of think back to the scene Tom Berenger did in “The Big Chill.” He was playing a famous actor attending a funeral. A boy approached him and asked for his autograph. He said he didn’t think it was appropriate at the time. The kid, seeming undeterred, stood his ground. Berenger smiled and said “Okay. For five bucks.”

Anyway, if a President shows up where people died or lost their houses, it’s best to keep the photo ops and signatures, a bit more on the downlow.

Views: 171

Tags: Lake Charles, Peter Max, President Trump, The Band, The Big Chill, Tom Berenger

Comment by terrier8HOF on August 30, 2020 at 5:54am

I must be missing something, show me where you can buy an authentic Trump signature for 50 bucks.   As for keeping it on the downlow, the only way I knew about this was from your article.  He was there as President to see the damage and hopefully bring some comfort.   The fact that he signed autographs should be no surprise.  And his alleged comment should be no surprise either, I am sure he said it in jest, as he does frequently.  Also, your comment about "how many of his signatures are out there" is misleading.  I would guess that 90% of those currently on ebay are fake.  But please, if you see an authentic Trump signature for 50 bucks, let me know.

Comment by Christopher Williams on August 30, 2020 at 6:06am

I agree with, Terrier.  I own "Trump" Topps cards from 2016 that are worth more than 50.00. 

Here's a typical forged Trump baseball.  If authentic, between $700.00 and $1,500.00. 

Comment by Josh Board on August 30, 2020 at 7:57am

It actually wasn't intended to be a "hit job" on the President. I was just having some fun with the story. And for me, I make fun of ANYONE that comments on the value of their autograph. Trust me, if I had my choice between Biden in office and Trump -- I'm going with Trump. I'm just not happy with either of them.

Comment by hbw60 on August 30, 2020 at 11:38am

I'm always annoyed when celebrities use the value of their autograph as a way to boast about their fame. I really dislike Elon Musk, and I remember being annoyed about him doing it. A few years ago, some kids in Thailand were trapped in a flooded cave, and Elon announced he was building a submarine to rescue them. When one of the local rescuers (correctly) called it out as a publicity stunt, Elon replied that the rescuer was a pedophile. When someone told Elon on Twitter that he didn't know the rescuer and had no evidence for that claim, Elon said "I'll bet you a signed dollar it's true." The whole incident was just so arrogant on so many levels. But the "signed dollar" comment was the worst. "A dollar isn't worth much, but if I scribble my name on it, then it becomes a valuable treasure, because that's how beloved and iconic I am!"

And the worst part is that in all of these cases (Trump/Max/Musk), we're seeing an obscenely wealthy person consider their autograph to be some sort of generous gift. Trump could have made a donation. Max could have bought the book outright. And when Musk was placing a fictitious bet with a sarcastically high value, he could have used something other than his signature. But they're so self-centered that they think their signature is somehow what the world needs most. But I suppose that's the consequence of living in a society that absolutely worships celebrities. When these people are surrounded nonstop by fanatics and admirers, I guess it becomes inevitable at some point. I read an interview with Werner Herzog recently, where he says that he won't interact with fans, because it's unhealthy to wallow in praise. And I think he's absolutely right.

Comment by BC on August 30, 2020 at 7:32pm

Trump loves to sign autographs for people, take pics, and he also likes to joke around. He does it all the time in interviews. That's what the $10K comment was, Trump throwing a little humor out.

As for his popularity, outside of major cities, his popularity is incredible. Never seen so much enthusiasm for a President. Michael Moore is sounding the alarm for the Democrats on that right now. He's worried.

Someone recently showed me this clip of Trump signing for a little girl waiting for him in the lobby of his hotel during the campaign. I thought it was cool.

Comment by Josh Board on August 30, 2020 at 10:53pm

hbw is kind of nailing what my point was. i think if you're famous, it's always bad form to bring up what your autograph might be worth or might sell for. one of the things i left out in my story (simply because i forgot about it), was that he said something along the lines of "If I write your name on it [personalizing] it won't be worth as much." and again, it just seems the wrong time/place to talk like that. even if he was just being funny, which i'm sure was his intent.

Comment by Robert Babb on September 3, 2020 at 2:41am

lets make autographs great again!


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