I love autographs, and I have said on numerous occasions that autographs are what brought me to card collecting. My dad collects autographs, my brother collects autographs, and I STILL collect autographs of all of my favorite players and celebrities. Cards are my preferred way of growing my collection, but I never turn down a new opportunity.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
This weekend in Chicago, I saw a chance to add to my collection when two of my favorite Vikings sign at the Sun Times Show there. Although I have condemned card shows as a place you shouldnt go to buy cards, autographs are a different story. Lucky for me Percy Harvin and Jared Allen dont charge that much (yet) for their signatures, and I am having a few people secure me a signature of them to display next to my Adrian Peterson stuff.
Here are my thoughts on it. In baseball, the signed official league ball is the preferred piece of memorabilia to have signed. Its universal, there is a standard, and players know where to sign. I have many baseballs that have signatures of all my favorite players, mainly because they are easy to display and fun to appreciate. In football, there isnt something like that. A standard football is too big, and a jersey can be extremely expensive and hard to prep for display. Therefore, the football mini helmet has become the preferred signing vehicle, even starting to gain favor with a lot of the players per a discussion I had with Beanie Wells during a signing here in LA.
Based on that fact, and my own personal affinity for the football mini helmet, I decided that it was going to be my piece of choice for this signing. I also thought it was a good idea to pay for the inscription, and Ill get to that in a second. Since my Adrian Peterson mini helmet is signed in silver, I asked my helpful acquaintances to do the same. I figured they would all look nice side by side on my shelf.
On a side note, I have two signed mini authentic NFL footballs. One by Percy Harvin and one by Stafford and Moreno. The mini footballs are a perfect size to display, but very few people make displays for them. I had a hell of a time finding a display, but settled on a custom one from eBay. Yes, it turned out great, but these minis could be the new OMLBs like in baseball. Take note Ultra Pro.
Moving on to the inscription part of the auto, this is where people usually use every creative bone in their body, or they pick something standard like HOF or whatever. Me, I love having personalized autos because my goal is not to sell them. Even though I could have gotten Harvin to sign "ROY 2009" and Allen to sign "Mullet Militia," I wanted something more personal to display on my shelf. I decided on "To Adam" because I rarely have the chance to get something like that. I can always buy other stuff that has the inscriptions that I was just explaining, and that is why I want something that is more just for me.
I guess you can consider me the set collector equivalent of the Autograph hobby. The reason is that I dont collect the autos to sell, but rather to keep. Making money on an auto isnt my goal, its more the fun of adding to the collection. This is similar to some of those collectors out there who try to complete set after set because its fun for the sense of accomplishment, not to make money on their completed product. Despite that my taste in cards is completely different, I have adopted a similar MO for autos. So much so that I even have a hierarchy of what I like signed.
Baseball - 1. OMLB, signed in blue ball point ink 2. Bat that is used by the player, not just some bat 3. Mini batting helmet 4. jersey signed on the back number 5. 8x10 photo
Football - 1. official mini helmet 2. authentic NFL football 3. photo 4. jersey signed on the back number 5. mini NFL authentic football with white panel
If I can get any of these things personalized, I will. When I got the chance to meet Beanie Wells, I had him sign the football "To Adam" just like above. People at the shop he was signing said I was nuts to do it that way, but I continued to tell them that I was a collector not a seller.
Even if I dont get the chance to meet the player themselves, I am very happy doing things the way I do it, and that is all that matters. If you are a collector just like me, I would definitely find your niche as well. Find something that makes you happy in a similar way and then go for it. There is nothing cooler than a man cave filled wall to wall with autographs. It never ceases to amaze me what people are capable of.