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  Coach's Corner: Neil Armstrong baseball signed at his house? (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Coach's Corner: Neil Armstrong baseball signed at his house?
Scott
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Posts: 3301
From: Houston, TX
Registered: May 2001

posted 11-15-2006 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
.... a scribble of ink....

....a record of a personal meeting or interaction rather than just a signature.


Robert, to collectors who truly love autographs, a signature is never only a "scribble of ink" or only a record of a personal meeting or interaction - it is more than that. It is an original example of a signer's chosen way of expressing his/her identity in a written form. To see an astronaut like Ed Mitchell or Scott Carpenter in-person for the first time and watch them do something which is second nature to all of us but which, in their case, produces a famous and instantly recognizable pattern is fascinating to a lot of people. [A bit off-topic - but I believe this personal nature of autographs is a reason the act of forgery is so offensive to many collectors.] While I believe your opinion of autographs is sincere, it's not the way a lot of collectors feel.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30069
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-15-2006 01:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Scott:
To collectors who truly love autographs, a signature is never only a "scribble of ink" or only a record of a personal meeting or interaction - it is more than that. It is an original example of a signer's chosen way of expressing his/her identity in a written form.
Scott, I can appreciate that view and respect it, but I personally believe that it is exactly that line of thinking that has led to the booming forgery market and has diminished the true value of an autograph. While I do not disagree that a signature represents an individual, I do not consider autographs to be signatures.

Signatures embody a trust, a guarantee that the person whose signature it is stands by the document or item on which it appears. An autograph, at least today, is a souvenir, and can and often does differ in appearance from the same person's signature. More so, an autograph - as it is treated today - is anything but personal to the signer.

The two types of "scribbles" became separate as more and more collectors ceased to treat autographs as a personal connection to the individual and began focusing more on the ink they spread. The market in turn reacted and that is why I believe we have witnessed the rise of fees for autographs.

I was recently speaking to a respected professional archivist who made the distinction clear: signed documents were worthy of archiving because they were of value to researchers; autographed documents were not.

I am not suggesting or expecting that the hobby will change its view anytime soon, but whether the current accepted approach is the wisest and/or most appropriate is certainly open to debate.

Scott
Member

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From: Houston, TX
Registered: May 2001

posted 11-15-2006 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was using the terms "signature" and "autograph" interchangeably. I was not assigning a different meaning to the two words.

In my way of thinking, if an autograph/signature comes from the hand of the signer (i.e., not a secretarial, autopen, pre-print, etc) then it is personal.

You see an autograph as merely the souvenir of a meeting. That's fine - but I don't see autographs that way.

fabfivefreddy
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Posts: 1067
From: Leawood, Kansas USA
Registered: Oct 2003

posted 11-15-2006 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting discussion...

I think that the picture changes depending on the age of the item signed.

No one would question the souvenir quality of a Lincoln signed clipped signature. It is a historical item- any way you look at it.

The fact that many astronauts are still with us changes the context of this discussion.

Tahir

californiabuyer
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posted 11-15-2006 08:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for californiabuyer   Click Here to Email californiabuyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My two cents...

I think there is a lot of truth in what everbody says above. Everyone collects for different reasons.

I remember going to a sports show with my friend in New York and there was Muhammad Ali signing autographs for $450-550 a pop. They sold out, like two hundred signatures a day. Two days. His signature was absolutely dreadful, but I don't think anyone cared. It was all about meeting the legend, shake his hand and getting their photo taken with him.

To be with a person you admire and love. That means something to you. It's in their eyes, a once in a lifetime thing.

You can purchase signed photos of the champ for $100 in authentic form, but that person paid the extra $350 just to say he met him. I met people from Australia who flew to the show to meet him.

How much would any of you pay to meet Neil Armstrong and get something signed? Or your Idol? Or Pamela Anderson? :-)

There is fraud in everything collectible, but can there be an easier way to make money than autograph fraud? All you need is a pen and paper and you are in business. You turn nothing into something. Some people simply don't know how to make an honest buck or want to. It's a shame.

Dave

JasonIUP
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Posts: 186
From: PA
Registered: Apr 2004

posted 11-15-2006 08:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonIUP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is interesting to see the different ways autographs/signatures are seen by Scott and Robert as I find both to be well-informed, educated individuals. I respect both views, although I tend to relate more to Scott's.

I'm glad Al weighed in on the "baseball or nothing" idea. I know he got Armstrong in person on a ball, and other members may have, as well. I'm a little entertained by the purportedly educated notion (I see it here and there; I recall seeing it on cS before)that Neil may have never--ever--signed even one baseball. While rare, they're certainly not non-existent. A previous poster estimated that a few dozen exist, and I would concur.

General Lee
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posted 11-16-2006 01:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for General Lee   Click Here to Email General Lee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How much do you think an authenticate Armstrong signed ball can fetch at an upscale auction house? Any Thoughts? Also we all realize the previous ball that started this post was not typical (I wouldnt buy it for 2 dollars)... I know of 6 balls out there signed by the first man. There must be several more. Chime in my friends.

-General

poofacio
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Posts: 268
From: United Kingdom
Registered: Oct 2006

posted 11-17-2006 06:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for poofacio   Click Here to Email poofacio     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Surely putting the first man on the moon is the ultimate achievement, it's hard to see how hitting a ball with a stick, however well one hits it, is even comparable. ( no offence intended, I'm English and all sport leaves me cold!)

fabfivefreddy
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Posts: 1067
From: Leawood, Kansas USA
Registered: Oct 2003

posted 11-17-2006 06:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, but any of several men could have been first on the moon. Is Armstrong really worth more because he did something the others couldn't? (Clearly not- they all trained for it.)

It is nice to have such a humble first moonwalker and I understand why he is out of the "collectibles business"

Tahir

poofacio
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Posts: 268
From: United Kingdom
Registered: Oct 2006

posted 11-17-2006 07:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for poofacio   Click Here to Email poofacio     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was refering to "American symbols", Not Mr Armstrong himself, he went there, but America put him there, probably the single greatest "step" our species ever has or ever can make. I imagine in a few hundred years the only thing the twentieth century will be remembered for is that. The Babe Ruths and David beckhams will be long forgotten!

fabfivefreddy
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Posts: 1067
From: Leawood, Kansas USA
Registered: Oct 2003

posted 11-17-2006 07:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What about splitting the atom and discovering the genetic code?

Tahir

Dave Clow
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Posts: 230
From: South Pasadena, CA 91030
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 12-12-2006 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Clow   Click Here to Email Dave Clow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Personally I'm inclined to agree with Robert. I like mission-specific signatures on appropriate items like photos or books, and not on things that aren't related. More than one signer at the UACC shows has been candid with me in asking why people want to get balls signed, but they're too polite to decline a request, especially when the asker is happy to pay. From their side of the signing table, they said, it looked as though the collector was indiscriminate and not especially knowledgable. A bonus that comes with getting an unusual mission-related items signed is that it jump-starts a memory for the signer and they'll chat with you about it. I have some great memories of chats with Dave Scott, Wally Schirra, Alan Bean, and our friends Sy and Guenter, who, after I offered them something rare from their respective missions, opened up and talked to me like an insider. It's those encounters that make the hobby fun for me.


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