"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 responded to his insult, I did not ask him what his hobbies were, nor did I care.  Perhaps he collected coins.  Maybe he had an impressive book of stamps.  As long as he was not harming anyone, it did not matter to me.

I grew up in Connecticut.  My father enjoyed fishing and hunting.  When I was young, he would bring me along with him.  Sometimes it would take three or four hours to arrive at our destination.  We would wake up early and travel to Quincy, Massachusetts to go fishing.  Or we would travel as a family to Vermont for a hunting trip.  Those were his interests, and he wanted to share them with me.

I recently had a conversation with a friend who is an in-person autograph dealer.  He explained to me that his father collected autographs as a hobby, and that he would bring him graphing when he was young.  Sound familiar?  That is what fathers and sons do.  They spend time together, sharing the same hobbies and interests.

Now it is my turn to reciprocate.  Five years ago, I attended a comic convention with my father for the first time.  It was a relatively small venue called New England Super Megafest.  It was very exciting for me to share my autograph hobby with him.  We met Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner, and planned to attend again in the future.  We have been returning ever since.  It has become a tradition, and he has joined me when I met such personalities as Meat Loaf, Ray Park and Sgt. Slaughter.  He would also join me when I commissioned comic artists.  He seems to have found an appreciation for my hobby.

Even a relatively small venue such as New England Super Megafest can present quite a few challenges for autograph collectors.

Last August, my father attended Terrificon with me.  It was his first exposure to a large comic convention.  Large crowds and long lines were the theme of the day.  We waited for hours on the CGC line, and I could see that he was getting tired.  I told him that I did not need to get all four of the autographs that I had planned to get that day.  "I want you to get them all," he said.  "We need to be patient.  Just like when we used to go deer hunting."  As we were leaving, he said, "I'm glad you got all the autographs you came here for."

My Meat Loaf autographed Bat Out of Hell album (top) and Jose Delbo Lone Ranger commission (bottom).  My father was with me on both occasions.

We often face criticism from people who simply do not understand our passion for collecting autographs.  There is no need to explain our hobby to them.  It is not harmful to anyone.  And if you are ever questioned by a person who simply does not understand, you will know exactly what to say.

"We all have our hobbies."

Views: 516

Comment by Joe W. on July 26, 2019 at 2:02pm

Everyone has a passion. It is the spice in our life. I remember how I got started. I was at a antique and collectible show and noticed an autograph for sale. I thought that's so cool! Little did I know that would ignite me down a long road that has lasted over 20 years!

There has been many bumps along that road. A few times I thought I was done. But, something always brought me back. It's a part of who I am. Whether any one else understands or not.

Comment by Paul on July 26, 2019 at 3:16pm

There seems to be more flippers on here than real hobbiest!

Comment by Mike Shepherd on July 26, 2019 at 3:30pm

Exactly.  I agree, Joe W.  It begins with a few incidental acquisitions, and the next thing you know....  And as for those bumps along the road, they are nothing more than learning experiences.  We all have our own personal stories.

Comment by Mike Shepherd on July 26, 2019 at 3:35pm

Paul, I am confused by your comment.  What exactly is a "flipper", and why do you seem to be so upset?  Also, did you intend to say hobbiests?

Comment by Eric Keith Longo on July 26, 2019 at 3:40pm

I saw flipper in a small (10 ft?) pool in about 1974. Very sad. A "flipper" is someone who buys simply to sell at a profit or something like that. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

Comment by Paul on July 26, 2019 at 3:47pm

Most people seem to be on here just to find out if an autograph is real so they can sell it or show an item to sell privately, which is part of the parcel but at the same time the real collectors wont show their fantastic item on the forum. I just think there's more to discuss about collecting than is this real so I can make a few bucks of this item.

Comment by Mike Shepherd on July 26, 2019 at 4:09pm

Thanks for the replies.  Paul, what does your concern about flipping have anything to do with my blog?  And why is your profile set to private?  Feel free to send me a friend request.

Comment by Paul on July 26, 2019 at 4:12pm

Nothing! I just wanted to have a rant. What's wrong with private cant you probe.

Comment by Mike Shepherd on July 26, 2019 at 4:22pm

Not only am I a Star Wars fan, but I am a fan of George Lucas.  I was always a fan of Willow.  As a matter of fact, I was a fan of Ron Howard prior to his directing Solo, which, by the way, is a great movie.  Anyway, one of my favorite lines in Willow is “I hate trolls.”  Warwick Davis is great in that movie, don’t you agree?

Comment by Steve Zarelli on July 28, 2019 at 5:52pm

My problem is I have too many hobbies!!

My first hobby was collecting comics in grade school. I still have a respectable comic collection and collect to this day, although, not as much as I used to.

In the early 90s, I got the autograph bug after going to a small card shop where Yankee pitcher Stan Bahnsen was signing. It took off from there.

I buy coins once in a while if something really catches my fancy, but I can't say I actively collect them.

I used to also collect baseball and Star Wars trading cards. Thankfully, long ago I moved on from that.

I used to collect figurines - like Danbury Mint NY Yankee statues and DC and Marvel Characters. I still have them, however I haven't bought any in years. They look nice, but take up a lot of space to display or store. 

I don't know what it is in the human psyche, but I am wired as a "collector." Once I buy something, I never want to let it go. 99% of the stuff I have collected over the decades I still have. Over the years I have only sold a handful of things that were duplicates... usually for funds for something else I wanted. And I always regret selling. LOL

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