Weird Thing at Autograph / Memorabilia Store

Just sitting here watching Conan O'Brien (I'll never forget the time he held up a copy of Autograph magazine to talk with Will Ferrell about a story I wrote about him). Anywhooo....he talked about the autographed Playboy magazine that sold for $4,900 (which is way over-priced and will never be worth that). Conan's joke was, "It was inscribed 'To my good friend Dr. Ben Carson...

Anyway, that's not why I'm writing this blog at 11 p.m. It's because I went to a mall I hadn't been to in years. It was for a movie screening, and as I'm walking around, I saw a store called "Famous Faces." As far as malls go, this store was huge. They dealt mostly with sports memorabilia, and I couldn't believe the amount of autographed items they had. Now, usually stores like that are overpriced. These seemed to be. But, all the sports signatures I looked at seemed to be perfect. It's always dicey buying signed sports stuff. A lot of there photos had interesting explanations. For example, this terrific picture of Walter Payton jumping over his line for a touchdown, said that from the time he retired, he only signed pictures through his company. This had a sticker from that company.

There were signed baseballs, boxing gloves, baseball bats, tires from race cars, jerseys. This place was incredible.

Here's the thing I'm wondering about. They had at least 100 signed photos on display in frames. Some of them huge -- the drawing that had Lakers legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, and Wilt Chamberlain. Very few were just the 8x10, most of them bigger. Here's the thing I've never seen before. They had taped paper over the signature, so you couldn't see it (or probably, take pictures of it). On the paper, was written "Lift up to see signature." So, if you're standing right by it, you could easily lift the paper, taped on the top part, to see the signature.

Has anybody seen that before?

Views: 332

Tags: Ben Carson, Donald Trump autographed Playboy, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Lakers legends, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain

Comment by Adam Halloran on April 6, 2017 at 3:57am
Was it maybe to protect the signature from the UV lighting?
Comment by Pete Bendu on April 6, 2017 at 4:52am

Mall lighting is notoriously fluorescent, in theory they are protecting the signatures from fading, but the real problem they will face in short order......the image around the piece of paper will fade leaving a bright colorful square on the faded image where the signature lives.

If they want to truly protect these pieces, they should have a color photo or reprint of the item, and place that over the entire image in the frame. Sure it may add $10 to the price, but after a month of sitting in a UV flooded gallery, these nice pieces will be faded unevenly, especially if they are using cuts of paper to hide the signatures.  

Comment by Josh Board on April 6, 2017 at 6:33pm

That's interesting to know. Thanks for explaining that, Pete. And yeah, I don't even think it would cost $10 more per piece. Just whatever the price of a copy would be (or color copy), to tape right over it.

Comment by Christopher on April 12, 2017 at 1:47pm

Slightly unrelated observation, but my wife and I took our kids (13, 8) to Universal Studios in February.  Our hope was to get out of the cold and constant rain of the Seattle area.  Of course it poured and was cold as hell our first full day.  Anyway, we ate lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe at what I believe is called the "city walk" area just outside Universal Studios.  I slowly walked the entire restaurant admiring the memorabilia.  Not that much signed stuff.  Tommy Lee's full drum kid from Dr. Feelgood was cool, etc.  But there was what looked like a fully signed Springsteen and E Street Band The River LP.  All the signatures were so faded that you had to be within a foot of the LP to see them.  The framing of that LP was almost criminally incompetent.  I assume it was real, but it was ruined from bad glass and bad lighting.  The best signed piece in the place was a Clapton signed olive green strat.  Very cool.  Anyway - assume that Pete is correct, and a bit surprised that the Hard Rock doesn't take better care of their stuff.   

Comment by Josh Board on April 12, 2017 at 9:32pm

Christopher, great story (the one below...for some reason, the website is showing comments int he opposite order).

My wife's favorite is Springsteen, so this story will make her cringe. But...I can give you an example of how bad the Hard Rock Cafe is with their stuff. Here in San Diego, a Hard Rock Cafe opened in La Jolla (and went out of business a few years back). My radio station interviewed Sammy Hagar there. Ah, good times. But...a woman that was dating Hendrix for a year, called them up. She said she had one of Hendrix stage worn shirts, and would donate it to them to display, with the stipulation that ANY TIME she wanted it back, she could get it back. She had photos of Jimi wearing that shirt on stage (it was a distinct shirt), and they placed one of those photos with the shirt, and they put it in the window right in front of the restaurant. Well, two years passed. She asked for the shirt back. Imagine her surprise when upon seeing it...the sun had faded it so much, the color in it was virtually gone. She promptly sued the Hard Rock, but I have no clue how that lawsuit turned out. Amazing.

Comment by Pete Bendu on April 13, 2017 at 4:39am

Back in the 1990's and for decades prior to that (I can't say if it is still there or not) There was a sheet music & collectibles shop in NYC. Hanging at ceiling level all throughout the shop were guitars, instruments, albums and photos signed by every musical act imaginable dating from the 1960's right up thru the 1990's.

Blues Brothers Guitar, Beatles albums, John Lennon photos, The Stones, The Eagles, Zep, Bowie, name 'em and they were represented in signed material, Madonna, Prince, Bruce, every major act you can imagine.

The only thing they had in common is that they were all so close to the fluorescent tube lighting in the shop that all you saw was the faintest hint of the areas where the graphs were, because the color of the instruments and photos was slightly darker in the spots where the autographs had been.

Seeing that level of destruction really woke me up about how to display my collectibles. Shades and curtains hang on every window in my house and only the weakest lamp bulbs are used throughout my house. I am sure my one good eye is suffering from eye strain, but I will be damned if my stuff will be ruined.


Comment by Eric Keith Longo on April 25, 2017 at 1:53am

I know that place Pete! I was there C. 2010. Probably gone now? I was about to write about it  just now! It made me SICK to see all those barely visible sigs (Lennon, Bowie etc)! And the faded photos! And the sigs on (what was once) good stuff! 


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