We all have our regrets as autograph collectors.  We pass on many opportunities, only to regret our decisions in the future.  On many occasions, it is our personal feelings that cloud our judgement.

I have been collecting Star Wars autographs for many years.  Some of the autographs in my collection are of some very obscure character actors.  Have you ever heard of Simon Williamson?  Has anyone?

Although no Star Wars autograph collection would be complete without the many obscure character actors, I sometimes regret passing on opportunities because of my personal feelings.  I had passed on Leonard Nimoy many times, only to regret it now.

The same can be said for my collection of baseball autographs.  No New York Yankees fan would waste money on a Pedro Martinez autograph.  At least not when they could add a Jim Leyritz autograph to their collection instead.

How many Federalists may have passed on an opportunity to own a manuscript written by Thomas Jefferson?  The world will never know.

Let us now consider politics.  I often wonder how many collectors have passed on opportunities to own historical autographs due to political reasons.  I have no doubt that it has occurred, considering the poor decisions that I have made due to my feelings about Star Trek and the Boston Red Sox.

I thought that this would be an interesting blog topic for November of 2020.  Stay well, everyone.  Have a healthy and safe Thanksgiving!

Views: 182

Comment by hbw60 on November 23, 2020 at 5:43pm

It's an interesting topic to contemplate, because the way our minds can change often doesn't make any logical sense. For me, I think time can be a factor when I'm considering purchasing an autograph. Historical relevance over time can make something more important, and more detached from the person who signed it.

For example, I'm not fond of most modern politicians. I'll try to tread carefully here, because the last thing we need is another internet debate. But when I look at Trump, or the Obamas, or the Clintons, etc, I don't see public servants who genuinely care about the world. I see opportunistic, ego-obsessed people looking for fame, fortune, and their name in the history books. I don't want their autographs, even considering the historical nature of them. If I had the chance to get the current President's autograph for free, I would decline.

However, I'd be passively interested in owning an autograph from someone like Hitler - a person I despise far more than anyone I mentioned above. And that's because despite his evil, he's such an important part of modern history. And because he's long dead, his signature feels more like a historical relic than a tribute to the man himself. If I lived in Paris in 1940, and someone offered me a document signed by Hitler, I'm certain I wouldn't want it. But 80 years later, I'd consider it a piece of history.

But it's still a tricky thing. At the moment, my biggest "regret" is not completing my astronaut collection. I have every single Mercury/Gemini/Apollo astronaut's autograph, with one exception: Alan Shepard. He was the first American to space, one of only 12 men to walk on the Moon, and one of the most famous astronauts in history. But I don't like him as a person. He was arrogant, he abused his position at NASA, and he personally cost Jim Lovell (one of the noblest astronauts of them all) his chance to walk on the Moon. I've intentionally not added Alan to my collection. However, it does feel like there's a gaping hole every time I look at my space artifact binder. It always feels like there's one missing. So maybe one day, I'll change my mind.

Comment by Mike Shepherd on November 24, 2020 at 2:40am

Thanks for commenting, HBW.  You make some very precise observations.

Comment by Joe W. on November 24, 2020 at 4:19am

Mike, interesting topic. If I have any regrets when it comes to autograph collecting it would be allowing the monetary consideration too much influence in my decision making process. I consider what I collect, in a way, reflects the impressions in my mind. That is probably why I enjoy matting signatures the most rewarding experience. It reflects that "picture in my mind" of why I wanted to obtain the signature in the first place. 

A number of years ago I decided to stop collecting. I boxed my collection and threw it up in my closet. One night I decided to show my future wife my forgotten collection. As we explored the box and I shared the stories behind each signature she said I should start collecting again. I asked her why she thought that. And her reply was she could see my eyes light up. She helped me rediscover why I began the journey in the first place and so here I am today.

Perhaps she may now be the one who has the regrets!

Anyway, I hope you come around a find you a nice Nimoy to add to your collection. I view regrets as merely missed opportunities. Life is too short for that.

Comment by Mike Shepherd on November 24, 2020 at 3:20pm

Thanks, Joe.  It is no secret that I admire the way that you present your cut signatures with great photos.  You mat your collection in a truly unique style.  Thanks for sharing your personal story.  I am glad that you reacquainted yourself with the hobby.

Comment by Brian on November 24, 2020 at 5:30pm

great story guys. i’ve enjoyed reading it 

Comment by Mike Shepherd on November 24, 2020 at 5:36pm

I am glad that you liked it, Brian.  Thanks.

Comment by Joe W. on November 24, 2020 at 6:21pm

I appreciate your kind words, Mike. My matting style is extremely simplistic. I am always trying to make sure the autograph is the "star" of the show. The rest is just window dressing. I do enjoy the process.

Comment by crazyrabbits23 on November 25, 2020 at 2:38pm

I've never passed on a political autograph for personal reasons. The one book I have from a politician whose work I hated (a Canadian prime minister, who wrote a book on hockey that's about as fun to read as watching paint dry, and him writing it took away from his in-office duties) was something that it turned out a fellow friend/collector needed for his collection.

I've learned the following (with a few painful lessons) over the last few years:

* If there's something you're even halfway interested in, and the price is right, get it. Better to be wrong and lose a little on resale than not get it and kick yourself down the road.

* It's far too easy to get distracted with "collecting drift", where you want to go after entire fields/subindustries/subsets of autographs. Stick to what you love, and move into new fields slowly.

* There's almost always someone who wants an autograph, even if it doesn't seem apparent to you. It's always good to network with fellow collectors and go back and forth to try and spread out your search for each other (if you're both on the level).

Comment by Mike Shepherd on November 25, 2020 at 4:15pm

Great advice, Crazy Rabbits.  Thanks for the comment.


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