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  Signing history and experience: Rusty Schweickart (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Signing history and experience: Rusty Schweickart
stsmithva
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posted 02-22-2009 10:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spacefest advertised for weeks the fee Schweickart had told them: $45. The morning the signing started, he (or one of his assistants) took out a marker, crossed out the "$45", and wrote "$90." Just doubled the advertised fee because he felt like it. The story was that when he got there and saw how much McDivitt and Scott were charging, he thought he was charging too little. If it mattered that much to him, he couldn't have checked the Spacefest website in the last couple of months? And those two have been charging that same fee for a couple of years.

Well, a few days before the event, another cS member had been kind enough to e-mail me a high-res scan of a wonderful Apollo 9 Spider image. I paid Mpix.com to blow it up to poster size, and a local cS member friend took them to Spacefest to get signed: one by the whole crew, the other inscribed to me by Schweickart. The new $90 sign was not prominently displayed, and my friend only noticed later that night, looking at the receipts, that he'd (I'd) been charged twice what we thought it would be.

I was looking forward to framing the inscribed photo for our house. But now I think that every time I look at it, I'm going to think, "What a rip-off."

If you think I'm over-reacting, if you don't have a problem with what Schweickart (and Aldrin) did, then you wouldn't have a problem with making reservations for a hotel or event, getting the price in writing, traveling a long distance to get there, and then being told that you actually had to pay twice that amount.

What if attendees had arrived at Spacefest and been told that the Saturday banquet actually cost $300, not $150 as advertised?

Criticizing an astronaut's actions is not blasphemy against the space program. Men are capable of doing unpleasant things.

Anyone who read what I wrote about the ASF's November event could tell what a great time I had, and how much I cherished meeting the astronauts and my fellow enthusiasts. But even at that event there were last-minute added fees, for things like crew completions and models, even though the signing fees web page had "None" under "Other fees" for almost every astronaut, even after the event.

I really recommend to people who will be attending future such get-togethers that they concentrate more on the meetings, lectures, events, sight-seeing, the pleasure of talking with fellow enthusiasts, etc., and not on getting things signed. You just never know what's going to happen, either to your wallet or to your long-held admiration for the astronauts. I've long had an appreciation for the complexity and importance of the Apollo 9 mission. But how can I have the same respect for Schweickart that I used to?

mjanovec
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posted 02-22-2009 10:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by stsmithva:
I really recommend to people who will be attending future such get-togethers that they concentrate more on the meetings, lectures, events, sight-seeing, the pleasure of talking with fellow enthusiasts, etc., and not on getting things signed.
I have to agree. For me, the highlight of Spacefest 2007 and the ASF last November wasn't getting stuff signed, but the meetings, talks, sight seeing, connecting with fellow enthusiasts, etc.

Also, I would argue that the signing fees of certain astronauts now greatly exceeds their market value. You can find much cheaper signatures for these men on the secondary market if you know where to look. The only reason to pay the fees at these signings is to get special items signed that are either unique, hard to find, have special meaning to you, or require a specific personalization you couldn't get otherwise.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-22-2009 11:04 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 stsmithva:
I was looking forward to framing the inscribed photo for our house. But now I think that every time I look at it, I'm going to think, "What a rip-off."
So, if the fee had been listed as $90 before the show, would Schweickart's signature still be a "rip-off"?
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
The only reason to pay the fees at these signings is to get special items signed that are either unique, hard to find, have special meaning to you, or require a specific personalization you couldn't get otherwise.
What about the knowledge that you are contributing directly to Schweickart -- whose signature it is you are seeking -- rather than a third party? It is one thing if you cannot afford the fee, but if you can, and you choose the bargain over the actual person, what does that say about the reason you are seeking Schweickart's signature?

andrewcli
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posted 02-22-2009 11:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for andrewcli   Click Here to Email andrewcli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree that every astronaut, pilot, and actor has the right to decide how much they want to charge for their autographs and enthusiasts have the right to buy or not to buy. What I am disappointed was how the price for an autograph doubled the day the event started, even though the fee was already stated prior to the event. It's just unprofessional, unless there was a clause stating that prices may increase without notice. If the person increased one's fee after this event, so be it, but in my honest opinion, it should not have been done in the way it was done this past weekend. I'm sure everybody that came had budgets and for this to happen, well.... I had him sign two things for me and I printed up what I wanted him to write and also printed the amount I owned him with the old prices. After inscribing my photo, he then counted the words to make sure that I had everything correct. I was very surprise for someone of that caliber to do that. I didn't say anything and just paid him.

This action may also affect people who were interested in coming and wanting to get their hero's autograph, but changed their minds when they saw their prices.

Finally it may also affect the future of these events and that it may not be financially feasible for people like Kim and Sally if they cannot get more people to come to these events. Even though it was a great event, I pray that Kim and Sally would come out ahead so that future events can happen.

I am glad that I have all the astronauts autographs and I can now enjoy the event without worrying about my budget. This hobby can be expensive.

mjanovec
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posted 02-23-2009 01:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
It is one thing if you cannot afford the fee, but if you can, and you choose the bargain over the actual person, what does that say about the reason you are seeking Schweickart's signature?

Maybe it says I personally don't feel the asking price is reasonable or fair, especially if said asking price is considerably higher than the going market rate. Or maybe it says that I'm saving that extra money to buy another item for my collection. Unless you are suggesting that we should only buy from the astronauts for charitable reasons, I feel that collectors shouldn't assess potential purchases based on what they can afford, but should instead buy based on what they feel is a fair price to pay. If someone wants to pay extra in order to feel good about buying directly from the astronaut, that's up to them...and I respect their decision to do so.

One must realize that the purchase of autographs from the astronauts is first and foremost a business transaction. It would be silly for the buyer to not realize that and treat it as something else, especially when you're often being charged on a per word basis. For example, I happily bought some signatures from Buzz when he charged $150-$175, because I thought the price was fair at the time. However, I will not buy any more signatures from him if he continues to charge his current rate of $350 (or more). It's not about whether I line his pockets or not, versus those of a dealer. It's about whether I feel the price is fair. If I don't think it's fair, I'll take my dollars elsewhere.

If I want to let an astronaut know how much I admire him, I'd rather do it by shaking his hand and telling him so...not by opening my wallet and inviting him to take as much as he pleases.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-23-2009 01:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can respect your position, but I disagree with it. I can understand not being able to afford the fee, but I believe it is a mistake to try to compare current market trends with the fees charged.

In the case of Schweickart, I didn't have items that needed his signature but if I did, it would have been a decision of whether I could afford his raised fee, not whether I respected him, or if I thought it was fair.

I am not suggesting that you are wrong or that I am right, only expressing a different opinion.

mjanovec
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posted 02-23-2009 02:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I can understand not being able to afford the fee, but I believe it is a mistake to try to compare current market trends with the fees charged.

I should point out that I do consider that meeting the astronaut and getting the signature in person is added value to the transaction...and something I do consider when assessing what I think is a fair value to pay at a signing. I would argue that seeing the signature signed in front of you gives added peace of mind about authenticity that a signature obtained on the secondary market may not necessarily give you.

However, I feel it's wise to assess all factors when determining what is a price one is willing to pay. In the end, it has to be a personal decision that you will feel happy about, not something you will walk away from feeling as if you've paid too much.

jimsz
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posted 02-23-2009 08:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
It is one thing if you cannot afford the fee, but if you can, and you choose the bargain over the actual person, what does that say about the reason you are seeking Schweickart's signature?
What does it say about the former astronaut who is willing to sell his signature at double the advertised rate in a venue that customers paid to attend?

A person can charge what they wish for their autograph, a customer can decide if the cost is worth it. However, it is disingenuous at best for a person to advertise one rate and then increase it on the day of the show. In any other business it would be called bait and switch.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 02-23-2009 09:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jimsz:
However, it is disingenuous at best for a person to advertise one rate and then increase it on the day of the show. In any other business it would be called bait and switch.
Well said Jim.

The point (well-made by Rick on the Buzz thread), is not solely the quantum of the fee (or whether it's "worth" it), but the fact that prices were changed ad hoc. I've been to other autograph shows, yet it's only with the astronauts that this spur of the moment opportuning seems to take place. Anyone experience otherwise?

Show organisers could easily oblige attendees to agree FIXED, published prices in advance of the show. If the astronauts don't like it they have the opportunity to say they will not attend. It will then become clear to all WHY they are not attending and we (the collectors) likely won't miss them. Ever since the S-H shows I've never understood this inability/unwillingess to lock down prices before the show. "Baiting" is an appropriate word for it.

Like many, I'm sorry that a nice guy like Rusty has been dragged into these Bid-TV type of tactics but maybe he had no sight of what his fellow Apollo 9'ers were charging before the show.

stsmithva
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posted 02-23-2009 10:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
So, if the fee had been listed as $90 before the show, would Schweickart's signature still be a "rip-off"?

If the fee had been listed as $90 before the show, I would have reluctantly decided that in addition to the Collins, Hartsfield, and (now more expensive) Apollo 9 items I was having signed, I couldn't afford an inscribed Schweickart photo. I know this because another friend brought my Apollo 9 beta cloth patch to be signed by Schweickart, and when he saw the "updated" sign and called me, I told him "Never mind."

However, if the fee had been listed as $90 before the show and I had decided to get the inscribed photo anyway, I would think when I saw it, "Gosh, at $90 that was pretty expensive. But I knew what I was getting into and it was the price I was willing to pay. At least Spacefest didn't advertise a fee of HALF that for weeks, only to have Schweickart pull a bait-and-switch the very morning of the signings after my friend had brought my photos across the country. Then the check I gave my friend wouldn't have been enough, and he would have had to pay for the increased price out of his own pocket until I could pay him back. But what an outlandish hypothetical situation THAT is."

robsouth
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posted 02-23-2009 03:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I hope you won't mind if I share with you my Schweickart signed photo, worth every penny in my opinion.

By the way, this scan does not give it full justice, that bright silver signature is against a jet black background, in my opinion a real thing of beauty.

astro-nut
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posted 02-25-2009 08:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It was a pleasure to meet Rusty Schweickart and the entire Apollo 9 crew. I was very surprised to see that Rusty charged $50.00 more than his listed price. I managed to get one photo signed by him and he was going to charge me five extra dollars to personalize it as well but I pointed out that on his price sheet it said it was free for personalized. I wanted to get an entire apollo 9 crew signature photo as well but with the prices higher than they are listed it made it alot harder to do and I couldn't due to money constraints. I just wish astronauts would keep their prices as they would advirtise. Thank you.

stsmithva
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posted 02-25-2009 09:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thought I had said all I had to say about this, but the friend who got things signed for me looked closer at his receipts and saw that Schweickart charged him $525 for five items. There is no itemizing on the receipt to see if this was for a crew completion, inscriptions, the model signed for me that I forgot to mention earlier, etc., but that comes out to an average of $105 each, or well over double the advertised fee. No mention was ever made on the web page about fees higher than $45.

(I mention the Spacefest web page, but I want to make it clear that I believe the people who ran Spacefest were just as surprised as those getting things signed. I would like to know if they ever spoke with Schweickart about this.)

I get the feeling that some people think this is mere nitpicking, that it is vulgar or ungentlemanly of me to be complaining about this. If you think that, please tell me one other situation in which it is understandable to pay a lot of money to attend an event, and only after walking in the door find out that one of the main reasons you came will in fact cost more than double what was advertised, just because one person decided at the last minute that he wanted more money.

Yes, the astronauts showed more courage and intelligence in an average week than I will show in my entire life. I hope they will inspire future generations. (I spent a month teaching my 4th-grade class about the space program recently, and they were so interested that during cold-weather indoor recesses they drew pictures of their favorite missions. I have taped next to my desk what appears to be Al Worden's Apollo 15 EVA, although the NASA transcript must have omitted the "Hi, Mr. Smith!" word bubble.)

However, this doesn't mean that now their every action is above reproach. They don't get a lifelong free pass from being condemned for selfish, indeed dishonest behavior like this.

Since I'm not going to get any kind of refund as might be happening with some of the Aldrin autographs (no written contract with Rusty), I've said all I can and I won't write any more about this. My wife and I have long agreed that I can buy whatever space collectibles I want as long as they are paid for through the sale of other items, so I'll get back to work figuring out which astronaut autographs I now unexpectedly have to sell to make up for the extra $180 or so that Schweickart charged for signing my three items.

MCroft04
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posted 02-25-2009 09:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Steve, I certainly did not intend to suggest that you are nitpicking. I fully understand why you feel the way you do, and would most likely feel the same way if I were in your shoes. So full apologies if I offended you. I always dreamed of meeting the people who flew these missions, and am awestruck that I've had the chance to not only meet them, but talk to them and dine with them. Perhaps it's just difficult for me to accept that they are human afterall.

stsmithva
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posted 02-25-2009 09:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mel, I was definitely not offended! Just trying to make my point clear. In fact, you are definitely among those I was thinking of when I suggested above that attendees at future events should concentrate less on signings and more on the pleasure of meeting fellow space enthusiasts.

Mark Zimmer
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posted 02-25-2009 10:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mark Zimmer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was surprised to see the boost from Schweikart, but that didn't stop me from adding him to my Alan Bean Apollo book. I guess I was used to the notion from the San Antonio UACC show, where the Russians kept boosting their prices every couple hours, or so it seemed.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-25-2009 10:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm a firm believer that you trap more flies with honey than you do fly paper, so while I don't blame Steve and others for having the feelings they do, I think were it me, I would have tried to reach out to Schweickart before sharing my grievances publicly.

I strongly doubt that he set out to pull a "bait and switch" as some likened it; he is just too nice a gentleman for that.

Personally, I've never considered the price lists put out in advance to be anything more than a guideline. Obviously others felt they were rules.

ejectr
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posted 02-26-2009 05:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In business law parlance, a "list price" is considered "an offer to negotiate".

gliderpilotuk
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posted 02-26-2009 07:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Personally, I've never considered the price lists put out in advance to be anything more than a guideline. Obviously others felt they were rules.

A guideline in my books is where the actual price turns out to be 5-10% above the "listed" price. You're a very "flexible" buyer if you accept a variation of 100%. We're lectured at about respect for the astronauts, but there seems to be increasing disdain for collectors.

ilbasso
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posted 02-26-2009 07:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's also helpful to remember that the astros have a CONTRACT with the event management. I don't know what the contract says, but I assume it's not totally loose about fees.

spaceychick
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posted 02-26-2009 11:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceychick   Click Here to Email spaceychick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ultimately I think we as collectors need to stick to our budgets. I had planned on getting Rusty's signature, but when I saw his price doubled, I turned around and spent my money on McCandless instead! I settled for a photo and handshake from Rusty (no charge).

Spacefest
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posted 02-26-2009 11:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ultimately, the "published" prices on the Spacefest website (and the ASF website in Nov.) are not the last word. The astronauts always reserve the right to change, add or omit.

In fairness to Rusty, he had flown in directly from a United Nations hearing in Austria, which he had been preparing for the past couple of years. He came as a personal favor to me for the Apollo 9 reunion. It was hard to find a window when he could make it.

I published his fee based upon the last Spacefest, as he couldn't be reached otherwise.

Collectors should only use the published prices as a loose guide, and expect some surprises. Publishing prices for shows is a new phenomenon anyway. Before, you just had to wing it.

AJ
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posted 02-27-2009 01:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJ   Click Here to Email AJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to say, I have mixed feelings about the situation with Rusty. On the one hand, I'm sorry that people were disappointed and think that maybe it's unfair to change the fee. On the other hand, I can't say that I blame Rusty for charging more, especially when you consider that everyone around him was charging well more and not lacking in business. I briefly encountered Rusty and he was very friendly, as was everyone I met that weekend.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 02-27-2009 11:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Spacefest:
Collectors should only use the published prices as a loose guide, and expect some surprises. Publishing prices for shows is a new phenomenon anyway. Before, you just had to wing it.
For astronaut autograph shows? Then it should be noted that prices are a guideline. It's been my experience at other, similar shows that the posted prices are what people pay, not a guideline.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 02-28-2009 05:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Spacefest:
Publishing prices for shows is a new phenomenon anyway. Before, you just had to wing it.
Appreciate the dilemma for show organisers, but why do certain (though an increasing number of) astronauts feel it is appropriate not to have firm up-front prices? I only have experience of Autographica as a venue where sports/movie/military hero stars appear with astros and I've always seen fixed, up-front prices that enable me to decide (a) whether to attend and (b) where to spend.

stsmithva
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posted 02-28-2009 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I'm a firm believer that you trap more flies with honey than you do fly paper, so while I don't blame Steve and others for having the feelings they do, I think were it me, I would have tried to reach out to Schweickart before sharing my grievances publicly.

For the average space enthusiast and collector, the suggestion to try to reach out to an astronaut about something like this via personal correspondence (and fully expect a reply) usually isn’t a very feasible option. The many people sharing their grievances over Buzz Aldrin’s ad hoc fee hikes on the parallel discussion thread didn’t see that a possibility.

I actually did try to contact Rusty Schweickart directly, back when I purchased the item described here, signed by him and many others in 1964. I asked some reasonably interesting questions about it, and asked him to inscribe an Apollo item "To a great student at [my] Elementary School" for our fundraising silent auction. (Two other signers, both moonwalkers, did so, and received letters of thanks from our principal.) I wrote to him at the only address I could find, care of the B612 Foundation. (This was before “Need an address? Read this thread” started, so maybe there might have been another one I could have tried.)

That was two years ago. I never received a reply, which isn’t unusual. (Although I would have appreciated the return of my unsigned Apollo item in the self-addressed stamped envelope I provided.)

If I never got a reply to a positive letter, I wouldn’t be optimistic about receiving a reply concerning this matter. However, if anyone knows his e-mail address and would like to forward him a link to this thread, I’ll stand by how I described the facts and my opinions. He could reply to me by clicking the e-mail symbol at the top of this post, and I would hold such private communication in confidence.

quote:
Originally posted by Spacefest:
Collectors should only use the published prices as a loose guide, and expect some surprises.

Kim, for Novaspace signings, you advertise months in advance that a certain astronaut on a certain day will sign certain kinds of items for certain fees. I don’t know how that is that different from arranging for an astronaut to sign at an event.

I’m not criticizing you- I know you aren’t happy with this detail of the otherwise very successful Spacefest, and I wrote way up at the top of this thread that there were last-minute increases at ASF also. I’m saying that if all of those details can clearly be arranged months in advance for the signings when things are mailed in (to you or to other firms that do such signings), I don’t see any reason why astronauts and collectors should only use the published prices for an in-person event as a “loose guide.” Or why collectors should expect (and accept) “some surprises” after they’ve traveled from near and far to the event, be it Spacefest, ASF, or any other.

Spacefest
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posted 02-28-2009 03:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by stsmithva:
Kim, for Novaspace signings, you advertise months in advance that a certain astronaut on a certain day will sign certain kinds of items for certain fees.
Our signings are a whole different animal. You're dealing with a single astronaut, not a bunch who can influence one another. We can strictly control it, because it is our only focus.

Dennis Beatty
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posted 03-01-2009 02:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dennis Beatty   Click Here to Email Dennis Beatty     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With limited discretionary income, I don't wish to pay any more than absolutely necessary for astronaut autographs. That said, I am still thrilled to have the opportunity to meet my heroes and have them sign my photos and maps. In the long run, I don't imagine that an additional $50 or $100 spent here or there will make any difference to my overall lifestyle...but having the signed item will be something which I will treasure for a lifetime.

I remember the years before the shows began; the opportunities to spend significant time with the astronauts didn't exist. I'm not going to let a few extra dollars ruin the experience.

jimsz
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posted 03-01-2009 05:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I'm a firm believer that you trap more flies with honey than you do fly paper, so while I don't blame Steve and others for having the feelings they do, I think were it me, I would have tried to reach out to Schweickart before sharing my grievances publicly.
Not everyone has the contacts and abilities to address the grievances individually and privately with the astronauts as you do.
quote:
I strongly doubt that he set out to pull a "bait and switch" as some likened it; he is just too nice a gentleman for that.
Nice or not, it is business and he was opportunistic and seems to have jacked his customers with a last minute price increase. Maybe not bait and switch but certainly in the same neighborhood.
quote:
Personally, I've never considered the price lists put out in advance to be anything more than a guideline. Obviously others felt they were rules.
Some people have limited means and need to budget the amount to spend. The costs to fly there, the hotel, etc. It is not a cheap proposition.

I was VERY tempted to fly across the country (from NY) to attend this year and due to another commitment I did not. Now, I have decided that from what I read I doubt I would attend a show like this in the future. If the organizers post a list of signing fees, I would expect to pay that price and budget accordingly. Doubling of a price here and there, charging for "possible" completions, etc., make me realize that no matter how nice and respectable the participants are they view it as 100% business and that changes everything. They are not being altruistic in attending these shows, they are doing so and meeting the "fans" as a means to a paycheck. That's fine but if it is business there is little room for adulation.

It's nothing personal, but only business and I can meet businessmen anywhere without flying across the country to do so.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28757
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-01-2009 10:00 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 jimsz:
Not everyone has the contacts and abilities to address the grievances individually and privately with the astronauts as you do.
Everyone who attended Spacefest (or who had items signed there) should be able to contact Novaspace Galleries for assistance, who in turn could connect them with the astronauts who were there as appropriate.
quote:
Nice or not, it is business and he was opportunistic and seems to have jacked his customers with a last minute price increase.
As has since been pointed out by Spacefest's organizers, the fees published for Schweickart before the show were done without his knowledge, and were based on the previous year's rates (as he was otherwise indisposed at the United Nations in Austria).

stsmithva
Member

Posts: 1423
From: Fairfax, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 03-02-2009 08:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There could have been better coordination regarding the fee in this specific case, and I shall continue to issue the valiant rallying cry that we collectors should not accept changes to listed fees at any event by any astronaut.

However, just so you know I can still appreciate a good thing when I see it, last night I drove to the home of the cS member who had brought things to be signed for me. Wow.

I showed the photo Schweickart inscribed to me to my wife, and her reaction was to immediately say where we should hang it prominently after it's framed. (I didn't tell her about the price doubling.)

So yes, I know I got some wonderful, attractive additions to my collection. If only there hadn't been that last-minute price increase. Finding out only that day that I couldn't afford to have a nice Apollo 9 beta cloth patch signed, and realizing afterwards that I have to sell some items to pay back my friend for these, did put a damper on things.

But that print is going to look great on my wall.

GACspaceguy
Member

Posts: 1502
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 03-03-2009 05:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a question for those who had Rusty sign with the Apollo IX inscription, what was your final price? I was charged $105. In going back over my receipts I noticed he charged that amount (I know I should have looked at the signing but I tend to just sign the reciept while speaking to the astro as "their fee is their fee"). I am assuming the added Apollo IX incription was the "negotiable" part. Understand, I am not complaining, just curious. Thanks.

ilbasso
Member

Posts: 1501
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 03-03-2009 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had a batch of five items signed: one personalized, one without a mission number, one with a mission number, and two with a lengthy inscription. For those, I got a receipt for $540 with no itemization. On Saturday, I had a photo signed with a personalization and it was $105.

Spacefest
Member

Posts: 1092
From: Tucson, AZ USA
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 03-03-2009 10:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by stsmithva:
There could have been better coordination regarding the fee in this specific case, and I shall continue to issue the valiant rallying cry that we collectors should not accept changes to listed fees at any event by any astronaut.
Then we'll simply stop listing fees for autograph shows. It just takes extra time anyway and we're not going to take a browbeating over it. Done!

GACspaceguy
Member

Posts: 1502
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 03-03-2009 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ilbasso:
On Saturday, I had a photo signed with a personalization and it was $105.

Thanks, that confirms I had the correct name with correct receipt. After attending the Spacefest UACC class on autograph authentication, I wanted to keep the documentation associated with the signatures correct and I was not completely sure I had it right.

jimsz
Member

Posts: 539
From:
Registered: Aug 2006

posted 03-03-2009 12:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Spacefest:
Then we'll simply stop listing fees for autograph shows. It just takes extra time anyway and we're not going to take a browbeating over it. Done!
That would simply keep people such as myself away.

I would like to attend shows like the one held recently (this year did not work on my end) but I want to know what the costs will be prior to going.

I book travel by knowing the costs involved, I book hotels knowing the costs involved, I certainly would not attend a gathering of which autograph signing is a large portion without knowing the costs involved.

While Mr. Schweickart's doubling of some fees will not make a huge difference it simply speaks to the integrity of the event.

Why would the prices charged not be a part of the appearance contract so the promoter could publish that fact and the customers know what the charges will be? Being informed and informing customers is simply good business. It is after all, at its core nothing more than a business transaction.

A.Pelago
Member

Posts: 34
From: Canada
Registered: May 2005

posted 03-03-2009 12:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for A.Pelago     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spacefest ended almost two weeks ago and by all accounts was a roaring success - except for a higher than expected fee for Rusty and the addition of the introduction of a new price category by Buzz: "multi-signable". Other than that, it would seem that Spacefest was a fantastic event that no one who attended will ever forget and everyone who missed will always regret.

The organiser arranged for 17 astronauts to appear including half the men who walked on the moon! Ten years ago, how many of us would ever have guessed that we'd meet even one moonwalker... never mind have dinner with 6!

Kim has explained what happened with Rusty's fee:

quote:
Originally posted by Spacefest:
I published his fee based upon the last Spacefest, as he couldn't be reached otherwise.
And although undeniably unfortunate, can we just move on? Almost two weeks later and we've reached a point where despite Kim's very understandable explanation, we're still beating this dead horse.

Rusty charged double what had been posted. Consequently, people either spent more than they'd budgeted, or had fewer items signed. That's definitely regretable and everyone sympathises with everyone who was inconvenienced. I am sure that we can rest assured that every effort will be made by Kim to ensure that this doesn't happen again.

However, we've already seen an exasperated Kim suggest that future shows won't have prices listed at all because we seem to have completely lost sight of the fact that we just had a show that featured some of the biggest astronaut names still living plus top test pilots, entertainers, artists, scientists and historians - and yet we're hung up on one pricing change. I'm not belittling the impact of that decision... but let's reflect on what we did get, on what did go right. Let's reflect on the positive experiences, on the people we saw speak, the people we spoke to, the hands we shook, the photos we took... and yes, the autographs we collected in person. Let's be grateful for an opportunity that seemed utterly impossible and beyond our dreams just a decade ago... and let's thank Rusty for making an Apollo 9 public reunion possible despite a very hectic schedule, and let's thank Kim for all his hard work.

Now, let's look forward to the next one, if Kim still feels like putting in the effort!

Andy McCulley
Member

Posts: 220
From: Lansdale, PA USA
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 03-03-2009 01:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Andy McCulley   Click Here to Email Andy McCulley     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A.Pelago, I attended Spacefest 2007 and it was tremendous. I am sorry as all get out that I didn't make it to 2009. But I hope to make 2010.

And I absolutely agree with your sentiments.

I have had the great fortune of attending a number of these shows with my daughter and we have had some incredible experiences. And most of the shows have had one problem or another.

But we ALWAYS went home feeling exhilarated by the experience, regardless of whatever issue may have momentarily distracted us.

I think I am like most others - the cost of these trips is a real burden; just as the hobby itself has become very expensive. But the benefits far outweigh the issues and in my opinion, it would be a real shame to browbeat the promoters and especially the astronauts (particularly in a public forum like this) into not having or attending these shows.

Rizz
Member

Posts: 1208
From: Upcountry, Maui, Hawaii
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 03-03-2009 02:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by A.Pelago:
The organiser arranged for 17 astronauts to appear including half the men who walked on the moon! Ten years ago, how many of us would ever have guessed that we'd meet even one moonwalker...never mind have dinner with 6!
Just thought that was worth repeating, in case certain people didn't get it the first two times.

Let's show some class, respect and appreciation for these gentlemen that put the event together, and for those who traveled a great distance to show up in the first place.

Austria is quite a bit farther away from San Diego, than Virginia is.

And for what its worth, Rusty re-signed an artifact without charging me a cent.

That's class.

stsmithva
Member

Posts: 1423
From: Fairfax, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 03-03-2009 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ironically, I was trying to be positive in my most recent post, showing what a great thing I ended up with.

I will disagree with the contention that mentioning negative aspects of an event or an astronaut's signing habits is "browbeating" or a personal attack. In a forum like this, collectors share observations about things to see if other people had similar experiences or feel the same way. Some of the opinions are not going to be positive, but as long as they are presented in a clear, constructive way, wouldn't they possibly improve future experiences for collectors?

People spoke up on the Aldrin thread about being overcharged, and now perhaps something will happen because of that.

Also, just because this one aspect of Spacefest is being discussed here doesn't mean that it's the only thing about Spacefest the posters are thinking about. I didn't even go, but several days ago I commented on several of the excellent, even heartwarming photos in the "Reflections" thread.


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