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In today's 24-hour news cycle, a celebrity's career can be undone in the blink of an eye. The story doesn't even have to be true in some cases, but if it is reported, the public forms its own perception, usually without all the facts. It can even go to trial...yet the presumption of innocence doesn't count in the world of public opinion. No matter what the jury concludes, no matter the final verdict....people's minds are already made up.

Newspapers love to plaster nasty headlines all over the front page if they have a couple of sources. Yet when these stories are refuted, retractions tend to be buried on some inside page printed in a box the size of a postage stamp.

What in the world does this have to do with autographs? That is what you are thinking right?

In the last 30+ years, I have collected more than my fair share of autographs, mostly those of living celebrities. This is where things get dangerous, a living hero can very likely do far more besides disappoint you. I have known plenty of collectors who specialize in just a single celebrity, spending decades going to shows, chasing this celebrity from game to game, or shoot to shoot. Amassing collections of hundreds of signed items of a single person. Sure it's a collection but it also becomes an investment for the future.

What happens when the future isn't so bright?

Hardcore hoarders fall into every category of autograph collecting. You might be lucky enough to have your hero remain untarnished but think about those that were less fortunate,.... good, solid, learned fans who collected nothing but Mark McGwire, or Jose Canseco, or Barry Bonds, or Alex Rodriguez, or maybe Pete Rose.

Baseball isn't the only field we are talking about here, there were Michael Vick and O.J. Simpson collectors.

People who put directors on a pedestal like Woody Allen or Roman Polanski, they have seen that pedestal eroded away.

Mel Gibson used to be one of the most sought after autographs, not so much after his drunken rants.

Bill Cosby is a funny guy, there is no doubt there, as a stand-up comedian, he is among the greatest to ever take the stage, his tv shows rank among the best to ever air. Yet no one seems to be bragging about their dozens of items signed by Bill today.

If Michael Jackson had lived, would we have ongoing threads about his autograph and artwork? Innocent or Guilty, just the idea of wrong doing turned off lots of fans and collectors.

People talk about not putting all their eggs in one basket......it might be high time to listen.
Whatever you do, whatever you choose to collect, mix it up a bit, the word of the day is
diversify.

As Michael Conrad said every week on Hill Street Blues..."Let's be careful out there."

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Comment by Ian Baldock on July 8, 2016 at 12:21pm

That's the way I feel about Mel, he was on my wanted list but I'm not as interested anymore. Even though Jackson was an enormous talent and I collect music, I don't care to add him to my collection either. Ford is on my want list but I haven't decided what to get him on. I know somebody that wouldn't want to see any bad press about him!

Comment by Paul on July 8, 2016 at 4:32pm
It could work both ways, the news may promote the celebrity.
Jacko was weird.
Comment by Joe W. on July 9, 2016 at 7:21am

Hoarding autographs of a particular celebrity may sound good but, if one person can do it, how many others are doing the same thing? Especially with top name stars. Let's take Harrison Ford for example. He, along with Sean Connery, is my favorite living actor. But, there appears to be a glut of his typical rushed, scribbled signatures. Not worth the cost being asked in my opinion and I see little upside on those. There is only one style of Harrison Ford worth investing in and that's is earlier full signatures. So it not only comes down to authenticity but scarcity. And, let's hope, he doesn't do anything to tarnish his reputation. 

Comment by Mike T on July 9, 2016 at 8:01am

God help us if Harrison Ford goes off the reservation.

Comment by Steve Zarelli on July 9, 2016 at 9:46am

Interesting topic. Thanks, Pete!

Comment by TradeGeek on July 11, 2016 at 7:04pm
I have a buddy who is a huge Vikings fan. He has what might be the most impressive collection of Adrian Pererson memorabilia in the country. Extremely rare certified autographed cards. Game used items. Ect.

I am a big Bears fan so I always gave him a hard time. When Peterson was charged with child abuse, I don't think he was consolable. In terms of being a fan and having invested many $1000s in a collection that was worth, prior to the charges, maybe $20k. I have a hard time bringing up the division rivalry. The value hasn't completely recovered and his enthusiasm has recovered even less. For many collectors that kind of think is a double whammy.

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