Autograph Collecting

What I've noticed is that everybody is a collector. Whether you realize it or not, you are probably one too. Being a collector is not hard but it can be expensive. People usually do it between the 'cracks' of their lives. Maybe you like bells so when you go on vacation you might buy a bell from, say, the Cayman Islands or from that trip to New Mexico. Pretty soon you have a shelf with lots of organized and eclectic bells... well you get the idea.

As I said, being a collector can be expensive. Jay Leno has an amazing collection of antique cars. Enough cars to require multiple warehouses and locations. Most collectors are not that extreme but what they collect has some status or, perhaps, nostalgic meaning in their lives. My sister in-law has one awesome collection of Warner Brother cartoon figures but mostly hundreds of Tazmanian Devils. (By the way TAZ is my given nickname). My wife collects angels. Angel pins, angel statues, angel pictures, angel stamps, enough angels that a fair amount of them had to be boxed and stored somewhere else. Thats one of the pitfalls of collecting, you run out of room and pretty soon parts of your collection have to be out of sight. Or you just might need a bigger house.

I like to collect autographs of famous people. If they are famous and I can get the autograph then it counts. For example, I had a hard time not buying that piece of memorabilia in Las Vegas from the Star Trek Convention which was a picture of the Enterprise signed by both Jean-Luc Piccard and William Shatner. Comedians? I purchased three Sam Kinison videos from Rodney Dangerfield's website and got a bonus picture of Rodney signed personally 'to Alan'.. from Rodney himself. After that I really needed the autograph of Sam so I purchased it at auction.

The thing about my collection hobby is that its very difficult to get the autographs in person. Even if you go to the concerts or the events, the chances of getting the star to sign is almost nil. So in my collection hobby I have to depend on the belief that what I buy, second hand, is actually genuine. Part of my quest to get autographs is to do some verification. In the end, it's my own belief that makes the autograph special and real. But I do believe that the majority of my collection is authentic, if not all of it.

The main focus of my collection is Rock & Roll. The format is the 12 inch vinyl LP album cover. I try to get the entire band signatures on the LP and with 144 square inches that can happen. The display technique is a custom built metal lacquer frame with UV glass, foam core backing and acrylic standoffs to separate the glass from the surface of the LP cover. (The vinyl record with certificate is always stored inside the LP cover for completeness.) Essentially, that frame forms a square which is 12 inches x 12 inches or 1 square foot. One half of my collection is mounted on a Knotty Pine wall in a house on a lake in New Hampshire. There are 35 framed LP's 6 x 6 - 1 (for the electrical outlet on the bottom center).

This all started after my wife and I saw Darryl Hall and John Oates at the Orpheum in Boston. I went onto eBay and with an impulse purchased a signed LP of the duo. From that point on I was hooked. John Fogerty, Doobie Brothers, Elton John, Allman Brothers, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, (multiple) Paul McCartney's, John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Boston, Steely Dan, Eagles (Hotel California), Joe Walsh and on and on...

The other half of my collection is in a safe. Why? Because I've run out of room to hang the LP's and I have to rethink my strategy for now.

I think the most 'rare' autograph in my collection is Jim Morrison. He died 36 years ago and the Doors are still as valid a musical force today as they were then. To my astonishment a Jim Morrison autograph sold on eBay on 1/21/07 for almost $6,000.... hmmm ? (Click on Jim)

Alan Reiss 2012