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Many years ago, I payed a deposit for a Christian Bale autograph.  You can imagine my excitement at the prospect of purchasing an authentic autograph from Christian Bale as Batman.  I selected the image, as well as the inscription.  “To Michael, Best wishes.”  The autograph company that was hosting the private signing was highly reputable.  As a matter of fact, they continue to be highly reputable today.  I have purchased quite a few autographs from them.  I have even watched them affix a sticker to my Val Kilmer autograph when I met him in person at a comic convention.

Not long after my Christian Bale purchase, I noticed on their website that my childhood sweetheart was also scheduled to appear for a private signing.  I immediately called to secure my personally inscribed autograph.  “To Michael, Tell me about it, stud.”

My childhood sweetheart.

Many years later, I still anxiously await those two autographs.  My deposits were nonrefundable.  How does a reputable autograph company get away with such nonsense?  It is clear that these signings are not likely to occur at any time in the near future.  Are they as hopeful as I am that they may still occur?  Do they even have my information and personalized inscription requests on record?  Have they simply taken my money and reinvested it in other autograph signings that actually occurred?

Perhaps we autograph collectors should know better than to trust anyone who makes a promise that is nonrefundable.  Imagine if those were the terms for a marriage?  Imagine if those were the terms for a mortgage?  Imagine if those were the terms for a Wall Street investment?  No, you are not able to imagine those terms for any of those occasions.  Do you know why?  Because those terms are unimaginable for any reasonable person.

Perhaps I was simply unreasonable in my trust.  Perhaps I am to blame.  Or should we as autograph collectors expect more from the people who provide the services that make our hobby possible?

Views: 193

Comment by Rich on February 20, 2021 at 5:29pm

It continues to blow my mind that Celebrity Authentics is still considered "reputable."

Comment by Etienne on February 20, 2021 at 5:43pm

Hi, Mike. That's a really sad situation you describe. I can't imagine a reputable company taking someone's deposit and not refunding it if the autographs can't be secured and delivered. I don't have any experience with these signing events or how they operate (I only collect dead people, LOL). Is that a standard practice of putting a deposit down with the promise that it will be personally inscribed and signed for you?

Comment by Joe W. on February 20, 2021 at 5:48pm

It's criminal, IMO. I've never paid in advance for an autograph. I would suggest that one should pay with a credit card. They would not hesitate to get the money back in that scenario. Credit card companies hold the trump card in disputes.

Comment by Mike Shepherd on February 20, 2021 at 6:06pm

Great deduction, Rich.

Comment by Mike Shepherd on February 20, 2021 at 6:07pm

I am not familiar with the practice anywhere else, Etienne.  I was foolish.

Comment by Mike Shepherd on February 20, 2021 at 6:09pm

I suppose I was always hoping that the autograph signings would eventually happen, Joe W.  Lesson learned.

Comment by Joe W. on February 20, 2021 at 6:14pm

BTW, I would love to own an Olivia Newton John as well. The lady has so much talent. Mercy me!

Comment by Mike Shepherd on February 20, 2021 at 6:18pm

So would I, Joe W.  So would I.

Comment by Etienne on February 20, 2021 at 6:21pm

Mike, I don't think it was foolish on your part.  You simply trusted a source that, as you say, you had had positive prior experiences with. Do you think it's worth contacting them and asking what gives? You made a deposit on something that was promised to be delivered and wasn't. As Joe says above, it's criminal since they basically just took your money without delivering what you contracted with them for.

Comment by Mike Shepherd on February 20, 2021 at 6:47pm

Thanks, Etienne.  Quite honestly, the money is not the issue.  I wrote this blog to simply caution and educate other members.  Rich has also proven with his deductive reasoning that the situation is something that many autograph collectors are well aware of by now.  Fool us once, shame on them; fool us twice, shame on us.  I suppose that in my case, it would be three times that I would be shamed by, but the two deposits were so close together that I had no way of knowing any better at the time.

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