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  History of astronauts charging for autographs

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Author Topic:   History of astronauts charging for autographs

Posts: 1670
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 04-02-2012 02:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When did the astronauts start charging for their autographs? Who was the first? When did the market for their signatures start?

As previously mentioned elsewhere, all my autographs were given freely at a time when one could talk to an astronaut without having to pay for the privilege nor, necessarily, pestering him to sign something.


Posts: 96
From: Albuquerque, NM USA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 04-02-2012 03:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jtheoret   Click Here to Email jtheoret     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It pretty much started with the advent of the "world wide web" as it was called in those days. Many astronauts started signing for fees with organizations like Destiny, Odyssey and such while others were charging through the mails all around the mid-late nineties for sure.

In the late nineties astronauts like Bean, Mitchell and Duke were doing shows and charging $20 an autograph. Pete Conrad a few years before his death was signing for a $10 donation to the American Cancer Society.

Many astronauts started doing UACC events, Nolan Sims and Steve Hankow started doing theirs, ASF and Spacefest too of course — all that combined with eBay caused signing prices to rise steadily throughout the 90s til now — but even until early 2000s Haise, McDivitt and others continued to sign for free — not sure when they stopped signing for free.

I have a note from Mitchell raising his fee from $20 to $25 "because of internet sales concerns."


Posts: 756
From: NJ
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 04-02-2012 05:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A topic I have given some thought on as well...

Didn't Jim Irwin start to charge a few dollars for an autograph in the 1980's to offset the cost of his salute litho that he provided in reply?


Posts: 1620
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 04-02-2012 07:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can recall when Jim Irwin first started charging for his signature, one fellow brazenly asked how much he would charge to sign 100 prints of himself on the moon, which he had brought to a show with him, and Irwin replied that it would cost 100 dollars. Those were the days: $1 each for his signature. Imagine what he might be changing today if he was still with us.

1202 Alarm

Posts: 278
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 04-02-2012 07:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 1202 Alarm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I first saw James B. Irwin in 1980 during one of his conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

The usual litho ('His Love' printed plus his original signature) was yours for 5 Swiss Francs, sold by him directly at the end of the one hour long show.


Posts: 790
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 04-02-2012 10:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A friend reported that one of the celebrities onboard a cruise to Mazatlan, Mexico for the 11 July, 1991 total solar eclipse was Buzz Aldrin, who was selling copies of his book "Men From Earth." And, reported the friend, for $10 more one could purchase a signed copy.


Posts: 838
Registered: Jan 2002

posted 04-02-2012 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for rjurek349   Click Here to Email rjurek349     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It all started, in my mind, with the Sieger Stamp block sets in the early 1970's. That's the first recorded -- and rather infamous -- time in which the astros were paid for their signatures, outside of limited edition prints and limited first edition books.


Posts: 1017
From: Lincolnshire IL USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 04-02-2012 04:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jim Irwin attended a meeting of the Space Unit (space cover and stamp collectors) in 1986 in Chicago. At that event, he charged $2 for his signature and dedication, e.g. "David,"on a NASA litho showing him on the Moon. The litho was pre-printed with Irwin's inscription "His Love From the Moon."

I remember this event clearly because I bought a litho inscribed to myself and another to my son, who was about 10 months old then.


Posts: 702
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 04-02-2012 04:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Astronauts were a few years behind sports stars, but I remember baseball HOF'ers like Dimaggio and Mantle starting to jump their prices around 1990 and then going up from there. It was just the way things happened. More people were showing up and willing to pay more. The first baseball player I remember charging was Hank Greenberg asking for a $5 donation to some animal hospital or something around 1983-85. That got an angry letter from my Dad.

Alan Shepard was selling his book on TV in 94-95. Armstrong stopped signing in 94 and eBay wasn't even invented yet then. People didn't really start using the internet on a regular basis til the later 90's. While the internet is a nice scapegoat, it really had nothing to do with people charging to sign things or even stopping signing. All that started long before it was commonly used.


Posts: 3095
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-02-2012 10:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read this column by the ever-erudite Henry Rollins this evening, and I thought he summarized quite well why astronauts and others gradually moved into charging and signing at specific events.


Posts: 15
From: Czech Republic
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 09-04-2012 08:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chegi   Click Here to Email Chegi     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am just interested who from Apollo astronauts was the first, who started to charge his autographs and when? And who was the last one? Thank you all for your answers.

Editor's note: Threads merged.

Hart Sastrowardoyo

Posts: 2365
From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 09-04-2012 09:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's another take on charging for autographs: "guaranteed access."

Henk Boshuijer

Posts: 382
From: Netherlands
Registered: May 2007

posted 09-04-2012 05:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henk Boshuijer   Click Here to Email Henk Boshuijer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some Apollo astronauts who take part in commercial signings don't charge for their autograph when they feel that the autograph request is from a real space fan.

It must be frustrating for the astronauts to see that their (freely given) autographed pictures are being sold on eBay for a lot of money.

I think Buzz Aldrin was one of the first who started to charge money.

All times are CT (US)

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