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?