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Author Topic:   Astronauts' crew completion autograph fees
mjanovec
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posted 10-22-2014 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While I have been critical of certain signing fees in the past, I have generally held the belief that astronauts are free to sign for whatever fee they wish to set...and collectors are free to walk away if the fees are believed to be unreasonable. For the moment, that is not up for debate.

However, I still cannot wrap my head around a reasonable justification of the "completion fee." No matter how hard I try to make sense of it, it still appears to be a tasteless fee added on simply to exploit the desperation of the autograph collector. If a collector has spent their own time and money to collect signatures from the other crew members, why should the last signing crew member get an extra fee just because they happen to be the last person signing the photo?

I know the justification from some is that the last signature is more "valuable" because it completes the crew and therefore the item is more valuable as a complete piece. But ultimately, the last signature generally has no more monetary value than the first or second signature, once the item is completed. The only difference is that the collector has more already invested in the piece once it's ready for the final signature...and therefore is more desperate to complete the item.

Indeed, the completion fee seems to have been the invention of dealers who knew that they could prey upon the desperation of the collector. Somehow, along the way, this questionable practice became adopted as the norm, with astronauts also adopting completion fees for autograph shows. Once a few people set the precedent, (nearly) everyone started doing it.

Is it time that collectors made their displeasure with completion fees be known? Do any other areas of the autograph hobby have completion fees (sports, music, history, etc.)? What is the current opinion of collectors here? Do you find the completion fee to be distasteful...or is it simply something you're resigned to paying, because it's now a standard practice? Other than the argument that astronauts can charge whatever they like (which nobody disputes), is there is reasonable justification for the completion fee?

Greggy_D
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posted 10-22-2014 01:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Personally, I am against completion fees. Unfortunately it is their house, their rules. The only manner to combat these fees while playing by their rules is to try and have the astronaut with the lowest completion fee sign the item last. Impossible in some cases, but could be maneuvered with others.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 10-22-2014 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Take a look at the upcoming AAMS show: there are three members present out of four that constitute a crew. Two of them do not have a completion fee. If I were going, I would take my item and have the one with the completion fee sign it first, then the other two, since it has already been signed by the remaining extant crew member... unless the term "completion fee" means it can be finished by that person regardless of who is left alive on the crew or regardless of who else signs it.

I'm not against paying for autographs either, but when you have to whip out a calculator and go through the permutations like one is filing their taxes, I move on. As I've said, I'm glad it hasn't gotten to the point where people charge to have their picture taken - not with them, but of them.

mjanovec
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posted 10-22-2014 01:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I should also note that some Apollo astronauts do NOT appear to charge a completion fee. Based on the current AAMS fees, Alan Bean, Gene Cernan, and Fred Haise do not charge these fees.

Perhaps it's time we show our appreciation towards those astronauts who have not adopted this practice.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-22-2014 02:43 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 mjanovec:
Indeed, the completion fee seems to have been the invention of dealers who knew that they could prey upon the desperation of the collector.
I realize it is tempting to blame the dealers, but those requesting autographs share in some of the responsibility.

Note that I didn't say "collectors," as that is too narrow a term, but those who gathered autographs to only turn them around for a quick profit (in some cases, quite a large profit) did not go unnoticed. And if those buying and/or receiving the autographs can line their pockets, why not the astronauts, too?

Completion fees do penalize collectors, just as signing fees do in general. But then again, collectors are primarily those who are bidding up the price of crew-signed items, and in some cases, are the ones putting them on the market.

This isn't to say that collectors and those others who obtain autographs don't have a right to sell. They do. But to lament the astronauts from directing collectors' funds their own way rather than to auction houses, dealers or the collectors themselves seems a tad one sided.

mjanovec
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posted 10-22-2014 04:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To be sure, there is plenty of blame to go around with regards to this topic.

I lump those who gather autographs for resale as dealers too, even if they don't directly advertise themselves as dealers.

Also, legitimate dealers will often negotiate deals with astronauts for a lower signing fee in exchange for signing a higher volume. So it's not always the case that higher prices are established as a response for those who re-sell items.

The one who most often ends up paying the premium price is the collector looking to expand their collection. And while I don't begrudge the astronauts from earning their share of the profit, it seems there should be a way to do so without penalizing those who have spent their own time and money to gather up crew signatures.

Ultimately, I have more respect for the astronauts that don't charge a completion fee. A flat rate for a signature seems to be the fairest way to set the price.

JasonB
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posted 10-22-2014 04:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In my experience they will charge the completion fee whether they're the last one or not if the other people are there.

Completion fees are pretty ridiculous and simply a way to get more money. I respect Gene Cernan's autograph policy far more than most. He raised his fee to $300 and will sign anything and write whatever you want. I wish more people were like that.

David C
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posted 10-22-2014 06:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JasonB:
I respect Gene Cernan's autograph policy far more than most...
I think that Charlie Duke has pretty much the same policy.

Mike_The_First
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posted 10-22-2014 07:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JasonB:
In my experience they will charge the completion fee whether they're the last one or not if the other people are there.

Only time I've ever heard that was from someone who wanted Jim Lovell on a piece signed by Swigert, because they MIGHT get it signed by Fred Haise.

I don't remember if they said Fred was at that event or not.

That, to me, is just ridiculous, because you could end up paying it twice, if everyone adopted that policy.

But with regard to the practice in general, I had just commented on the show thread the other day that it looks like those fees have dropped lately.

Also, it's not the most uncommon thing outside of astronauts, either. I've heard through the grapevine that Adam West charges a premium at shows to sign anything already signed by Burt Ward. (I can't verify since he did mine at a discount, but it's not something that I've only heard once or twice.)

Steve Zarelli
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posted 10-22-2014 08:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Zarelli   Click Here to Email Steve Zarelli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree that completion fees are particularly distasteful, have no rational explanation, and smack of gouging the desperate.

If I am not mistaken, Buzz Aldrin even charges the completion fee for items signed only by Armstrong simply because there is the potential of completion with Collins still amongst the living. I can't help but wonder what Mr. Armstrong would have thought about this practice... not that he would have ever publicly shared his thoughts.

I also actively collect baseball autographs and have never seen any sort of completion fee in that field.

In any case, as long as collectors continue to line up and drop $600 to $2,200 a pop as Buzz signs — never looking up or away from his iPhone — completion fees will continue to be charged.

Mike_The_First
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posted 10-22-2014 08:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Zarelli:
I also actively collect baseball autographs and have never seen any sort of completion fee in that field.
It happens — depending on who you're dealing with, where, etc.

Athletes and astronauts have quite similar fee structures, including potential premiums for signing things that have already been signed by another person.

Astronauts are more honest and up front about it, though. And please tell me Buzz isn't really like that...

SpaceyInMN
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posted 10-22-2014 08:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceyInMN   Click Here to Email SpaceyInMN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I, too, collect autographs in other areas, most notably hockey. I have at least three complete team signed items, including all 20 members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team and Herb Brooks. Never have I paid a completion fee. In fact, I had never even heard of one prior to seriously taking on astronaut autograph collecting about a year ago, although I don't doubt others when they say it exits in other areas.

Regarding Buzz, I've heard and read conflicting reports of his demeanor at signings. All I can personally attest to is my own in-person experience back in April, which is in line with what Steve alluded to. I won't go into detail, because I already posted about it months ago. I will say, though, that some of the photos I have of him on stage with three other astronauts prior to the book signing show three engaged astronauts and one looking impatiently down at his cell phone.

In his defense, I think I, too, would tire of writing my name countless times over 5+ decades. I'd probably just stop all together, as some have chosen to do, but to each their own. If he (or others) want to charge what I feel are exorbitant fees, and buyers are willing to pay them, more power to both parties. For as much as I enjoy collecting autographs (I've been hooked since 1985), I can't think of any autograph worth the cost of a mortgage payment to me. I'll just go without.

Mike_The_First
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posted 10-22-2014 09:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceyInMN:
Never have I paid a completion fee... although I don't doubt others when they say it exits in other areas.
Like with astronauts, it does depend on the person.

Keep in mind, the number of athletes at shows (each with their own signing habits) is far greater than the number of astronauts at shows. So while only a handful of astronauts might adopt this practice, it becomes "common practice" because, despite it being an arbitrarily low number, it ends up encompassing a decently high percentage.

I suppose I should also clarify that I'm not talking about necessarily a "completion fee" per se, but more of a "This picture was already signed by..., so I won't sign it. I will reconsider this position if you pay me more money than you already paid for your signing ticket." However, it's essentially the same practice and the results are the same — no signature on that item unless you pay a higher premium.

Astronauts are more up front about it. The others use the "We reserve the right to refuse to sign anything for any reason" fine print on the ticket, and then act like they're doing you a favor for offering to sign it anyway in exchange for more money.

As for Buzz, that's really unfortunate. After reading "Magnificent Desolation" (which I only bought in the first place because it was the cheapest way to get his autograph, as I got it mail order from a B&N in California after his signing), he became a hero of mine. I guess that old adage is true: "Never meet your heroes (or discuss them on message boards with people who have)..."

SpaceyInMN
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posted 10-22-2014 09:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceyInMN   Click Here to Email SpaceyInMN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wasn't meaning to besmirch Buzz. I've also heard of positive experiences at his signings/events. My experience wasn't the greatest, admittedly, but I also haven't walked a mile in his shoes. Who knows how I'd react if I had.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 10-22-2014 10:25 PM     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 Mike_The_First:
I guess that old adage is true: "Never meet your heroes (or discuss them on message boards with people who have)..."

Actually it's not. Of the about 150 or so astronauts I've met in-person all have been quite kind. Even when one told me that they don't sign at all, whether in-person or by mail. This one introduced me to another astronaut who did sign for me, and was firm abut not signing - friendly, almost apologetic, but firm.

I don't get those who will sign for kids but not for adults, but that's a whole 'nother topic.

Mike_The_First
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posted 10-22-2014 10:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceyInMN:
I wasn't meaning to besmirch Buzz.
I wouldn't call it "besmirching." I understand what he's gone through in his life (those who haven't read it, "Magnificent Desolation" is an amazing memoir) and, knowing how certain psychiatric illnesses work, I'm sure there are certain details he left out that would very clearly explain this behavior. But I'm not his psychiatrist, so I can't (and won't) speak on that as it applies to him.

But, at the same time, I often lambaste Bill Shatner for this exact same behavior, and his signing fee is only a fraction of Buzz's. I'm not of the camp that we should excuse any behavior coming from these astronauts just because they're astronauts and heroes. There's an episode of "Murphy Brown" where they have a quite similar conundrum.

Their personal lives don't reflect the actions they have taken for this country and science in general, and vice versa.

Buzz doesn't have to do these events and signings, but if he does, then the least he can do is look at the people who went out of their way to see him. I say it about actors and I will say it about astronauts; it doesn't matter who you are or what you've done — if people are going out of their way to see and support you, then don't go out of your way to make even one of them doubt that decision.

quote:
Originally posted by Hart Sastrowardoyo:
Of the about 150 or so astronauts I've met in-person all have been quite kind.
As someone who interacted with some of these astronauts (not Buzz, but a few others) as a reporter and a student (and Mike), my experiences tend to differ from a lot of yours, who have done so as fans. I've met only Harrison Schmitt, but I've had interview-related dealings with a few other Apollo-era guys via telephone and email. In fact, they were some of my first interviews.

I always find it interesting, because the general consensus here about the attitudes of some of these men (who's the best to deal with, who's the nicest, who's the rudest, etc.) is often significantly different from my own "professional" dealings with them.

So it often depends on who you are, who they are, where you are, and why you're talking that affects that — often more than people realize.

Sorry that was more of a tangent, but I think it makes... some sort of point.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 10-23-2014 01:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, I've interacted with some astronauts - granted not a majority of them - also as a reporter, as well as a fan. They're still no different, for me, in their interactions.

I will agree that it depends on who you are - or at least who you appear to be, because a fair number of interactions with those astronauts happen at professional conferences and the like, where I'm dressed up a bit more - than at a meet and greet at the local department store. But either way, I haven't had any different interactions as a "professional" versus me being a "civilian."

neo1022
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posted 10-23-2014 09:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for neo1022   Click Here to Email neo1022     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Say what you will about Buzz' public signing policies, but also remember — you haven't spent the past 45 years as one of the first two humans to land on, and walk on, the moon. Imagine the tedium, the same conversation a million times, everyone wanting a piece of you... I get it, especially for someone as achievement-oriented and introverted as Buzz...

As an aside, I spent a long night alone with Buzz, and he was very pleasant, if quite internal. At the end of the evening, he happily signed his business card for me as well, while arranging for a family member to pick us up and drop me at my hotel.

So that's my $.02 — Buzz was a class act, but clearly tires of being known for something he did almost half a century ago. Spend 45 years being the second man to walk on the moon, and I think I'd cash in too when the time came...

So Buzz, go for it. If people are willing to pay $600 for a signature (and god knows how much for a completion fee) go for it! You're the last Apollo 11 moonwalker alive, and there will never be another First Landing on the Moon.

Mike_The_First
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posted 10-23-2014 09:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We're getting off topic here, which is partially my fault (apologies, all), but I have to respond to that last message.

Last I heard, his completion fee was $1000 for something signed by Collins and $1500 for something signed by Armstrong or something signed by Collins and Armstrong (which seems a bit rude to Collins).

He can charge what he wants (nobody here is disputing that), but if someone gives him over $1,000 just to write his name (and maybe a few additional words) on a piece of paper, the least he can do is look at and acknowledge them.

Granted, the behavior we're talking about here seems to be free book signings, not those kind of signings (I personally have never attended either), but if he does it for one, then he can do it for the other.

We also have to remember that nobody is forcing him to have those conversations or deal with the public — he's choosing to do just that. If he wants to stop, he's more than free to go the way of Neil Armstrong and stop putting himself in a position where he no longer has to answer the same questions over and over and hear the same thing repeatedly. But if he's going to put himself out there and essentially invite those interactions, then he should at least acknowledge the people who went out of their way to see him — be it at a book signing, talk, or show.

I don't understand why so many have the attitude of "We should be happy they're doing this at all." If they're going to act like they have somewhere better to be and not seem to care about the number of people who come out to see them, then, personally, I'd prefer if they didn't do it all, because I'm tired of celebrities (astronauts, athletes, actors, and the like) who think that's the norm.

MrSpace86
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posted 10-24-2014 12:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mike_The_First:
I'd prefer if they didn't do it all, because I'm tired of celebrities (astronauts, athletes, actors, and the like) who think that's the norm.
I agree with this all the way. I met Ray Park (Darth Maul from Star Wars) and I have never met a celebrity (be it actor, astronaut, whatever) that was nicer than him. He was so accommodating and took his time with everyone. I have met other athletes that are the complete opposite (Danica Patrick for example) that make me regret standing in line for three hours for 15 seconds of being ignored and barely even looked at.

As for astronauts and completion fees... well, wouldn't completion fees assist in driving up the cost of crew signed items? All of a sudden my John Young autographs were worth a lot more when those completion fees popped up at his signings.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 10-24-2014 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Worth more only to those looking for it. Since I'm into Shuttle-era astronauts, an STS-9 CP with Young would be worth more to me than a Gemini 3 CP with Young.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-24-2014 01:21 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 Mike_The_First:
I'd prefer if they didn't do it all...
It's no a win situation.

I guarantee you that if Aldrin, or any other astronaut for that matter, were to stop charging completion fees and instead refused to sign any piece already signed by his crew mates, or were to cease signing altogether because he didn't want to deal with signing any longer, there would still be people critical of his choice.

Many, many collectors did not respect Neil Armstrong's decision to stop signing. His well-known choice didn't stop people from asking for his autograph, nor did it stop others from criticizing him for not signing for charity, or signing for kids, or signing at all.

If you don't like completion fees, you have the choice to not ask for autographs on items signed by other crew members. If you want an astronaut to be fully attentive to you what you have to say, there are more than enough astronauts who don't have lines waiting for them and would more than likely welcome the interaction.

lspooz
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posted 10-24-2014 02:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lspooz   Click Here to Email lspooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
If you don't like completion fees, you have the choice to not ask for autographs on items signed by other crew members. If you want an astronaut to be fully attentive to you what you have to say, there are more than enough astronauts who don't have lines waiting for them and would more than likely welcome the interaction.
Well said, and the best way to improve both problems.

Mike_The_First
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posted 10-24-2014 07:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can speak only for myself, and that's what I've been doing.

Of course you'll never please everyone. Some people are in this for the solely for the autographs and others are in it for the interactions. Others just want a celebrity to complain about.

I respect Neil greatly for his stance. I'm disappointed that I was born in 1992 to parents who didn't collect autographs so I never had a shot outside the secondary market, and if I ever got a chance to meet and talk with him, I would probably ask him for one, knowing full well that he'd say no. But I respect him greatly for taking that stance, applying it across the board, and refusing to waiver from it. I don't like what he (through Ms. White) had to say about autographs/autograph collectors, much like some of his fellow astronauts, but I still respect him greatly for his dedication to adhere to the stance he chose, with no amount of money changing it. He didn't want to do it, so he didn't (rather than begrudgingly go through the motions with no interest whatsoever).

quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
If you don't like completion fees, you have the choice to not ask for autographs on items signed by other crew members.
Well, you have to remember that, with some astronauts, you don't necessarily need to get the item signed by other crew members to be charged the completion fee. Those in Buzz's thread referred to it as the "Multi-Signable fee", where he was charging his "multi-signed" fee for pieces where it was simply possible to add Collins.

Other astronauts will charge you the fee if the remaining crew member(s) are at that show, even if you never intended to add them to the piece.

But I do have a question about that... For those who collect things like the picture of the moon signed by everyone (I've seen a few of those), do they waive the completion fee, add it automatically, or take the time to study it to see if they're the last signature from that particular crew?

quote:
If you want an astronaut to be fully attentive to you what you have to say, there are more than enough astronauts who don't have lines waiting for them and would more than likely welcome the interaction.
Now THAT is some interesting rationale. I don't know how they'd react when I told them how much I love their memoir "Magnificent Desolation", how inspiring I found their story about overcoming depression and alcoholism in the face of the stigma attached (while being such a big name), how it changed my life, and how I can relate to being resigned to forever being the second man on the moon (when military protocol would have dictated otherwise) and forever being buried in the footnotes of history, but at least they'd be attentive, I guess...

My point is that if Buzz is going to put himself out there, then he should do that and put himself out there.

As it is, I can't afford his fees, completion or otherwise. Heck, especially not the completion. But until I read through this thread and the thread devoted to him, I would have been willing to scrape together the $300 and a $.50 copy of "Magnificent Desolation" for a chance to meet him and say the above. I wouldn't be doing that because I want to meet and talk to ANY astronaut, I'd be doing it because I want to meet and talk to Buzz.

But now, in all honesty, not only won't I do that, I likely wouldn't even consider traveling to a local bookstore if he came here for a signing.

David C
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posted 10-24-2014 07:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mike_The_First:
...if I ever got a chance to meet and talk with him, I would probably ask him for one, knowing full well that he'd say no.

Well, that sure would have been a waste of a unique opportunity. Can't imagine how some "autograph hunters" get this hobby a bad rep.
quote:
For those who collect things like the picture of the moon signed by everyone (I've seen a few of those), do they waive the completion fee, add it automatically, or take the time to study it to see if they're the last signature from that particular crew?
I can only speak for myself, but I've never even had it mentioned, not in person, nor through mail in signings, and yes, that includes Buzz (four years ago).
quote:
My point is that if Buzz is going to put himself out there, then he should do that and put himself out there.
Buzz's recent behavior is just plain old fashioned bad manners, no excuse.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-24-2014 07:57 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 Mike_The_First:
But now, in all honesty, not only won't I do that, I likely wouldn't even consider traveling to a local bookstore if he came here for a signing.
Anecdotes can be fun to trade, but they shouldn't stop you from at least trying to meet someone you say changed your life.

For every anecdote someone can offer about any astronaut, bad or good, someone else can offer an opposite example.

Anecdotes can help temper your expectations but they rarely provide a reliable account of the big picture. They are too personal, too individual.

As far as "multi-signable" fees or the like, the advice is still valid. There are numerous items that are neither signed by others or would be appropriate to have signed by others. If all you want is that astronaut's autograph, you can pick one of those items to be signed.

If you what you really want is signature on a multi-signed piece, then you need to pay the fee, whatever it is.

JasonB
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posted 10-24-2014 08:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've heard this many times about Neil's stance on autographs being so much better than Buzz's stance. I've never understood that. Buzz at least gives you an opportunity to get something signed. Neil shot everyone down for 18 years and drove up the price for his autograph to insane levels. You can quibble over the price but I far prefer Aldrin's stance.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Registered: Aug 2000

posted 10-24-2014 08:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would argue that it is what Neil is associated with that the asking price is high - and I would venture that it would remain at a premium price even if he did sign for those 18 years.

Young did his "once in a lifetime" signature thru the mail, he did at least one mail-in signing, he wasn't keen to signing in-person yet his signature doesn't compare in price to Neil's.

David C
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Posts: 279
From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 10-24-2014 08:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JasonB:
I've heard this many times about Neil's stance on autographs being so much better than Buzz's stance.

I wouldn't say that Neil's stance was better, rather that it was appropriate both for his character and stature. As for him driving up the price of his autograph, that's nonsense. Where does it say that anyone is obligated to supply anything just because there's high demand?

It's nice that Buzz still gives people the opportunity to obtain his autograph, but, at the moment I reckon people are better off going mail-in with Buzz rather than in person. Of course, other aspects of Buzz's public profile have understandably raised eyebrows.

Completion fees? I don't pay them - but then I'm not a "completionist". Now about this new (started by Buzz as far as I know) "large item fee". I see Al Bean is also starting to charge it. Not happy with that.

JasonB
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Posts: 862
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Registered: Sep 2003

posted 10-25-2014 06:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I didn't say anyone was obligated to do anything. I said Armstrong's policy of never signing drove up the price because there was no other way of obtaining one. It also also caused a rather rampant forgery market of his autograph.

Other than his signature or Apollo 11 crew items, space autographs are remarkably limited in known forgeries compared to other fields. It's the law of unintended consequences.

I don't think he intended that or cared, but that's what happened. If he hated commercialization of his autograph, he did the one thing that commercialized it and drove the price up.

You can see Armstrong as a hero and still criticize his autograph policy.

Also signing or not signing is not a character issue at all. Refusing to sign or charge for autographs does not mean you have more character than someone who does. It just means you either hate signing, dealing with people or having money involved.

I often think people give Armstrong a first man pass on his autograph policy. I've never heard that Bill Anders autograph policy gives him high moral character. I've mainly just heard different versions of "Geez what a jerk." The difference being that Anders obviously doesn't have the level of notoriety and hero worship that Armstrong does.

David C
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Posts: 279
From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 10-25-2014 07:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JasonB:
Neil shot everyone down for 18 years and drove up the price for his autograph to insane levels.
He didn't drive the price up, the market did, and that's not just a matter of supply, it's also demand and possible distorting factors. I suspect that if Armstrong had, for example, signed 1,000 pictures at an ASF show, the secondary market price would have barely been dented. The source and size of demand is well beyond the common "space collector" pool.
quote:
It also also caused a rather rampant forgery market of his autograph.
No he didn't cause the forgery market, the high market price incentivised it.

I'm sorry, but precision is important. I think I know what your trying to say, but what you're actually doing is blaming Armstrong for other people's actions.

quote:
You can see Armstrong as a hero and still criticize his autograph policy.
I agree, but that right does not imply that all criticism is equal. Some is founded on fact, some on opinion.
quote:
Also signing or not signing is not a character issue at all.
From The New Oxford American Dictionary:
Character — the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.

SPECIAL USAGE — strength and originality in a person's nature

So we're both right, I was using "character" in it's basic not special sense. Sometimes English could do with extra words. Perhaps if I'd used "personality" that would have been clearer.
quote:
I often think people give Armstrong a first man pass on his autograph policy... The difference being that Anders obviously doesn't have the level of notoriety and hero worship that Armstrong does.
I don't think it's that simple. It's not a matter of having to give anyone a pass, it's their free choice to make. Armstrong didn't break the law or do anything immoral, he simply exercised his right as a free individual.

To my knowledge the only astronaut gloating about the price of his autograph and giving the impression of playing around with his signature (possibly just to torque off collectors) is Anders. If, Anders is actually going out of his way to disrespect people, intentionally antagonizing them or actually intentionally defacing their property (signing with a "joke" signature), that is not the mark of high moral character (special usage). They are very different situations.

JasonIUP
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Posts: 199
From: PA
Registered: Apr 2004

posted 10-25-2014 07:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonIUP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I didn't like reading David's response to Mike's comment about asking Armstrong to sign even though Armstrong likely wouldn't. It sounds like jealousy to me. I think NOT asking Armstrong to sign is the wasted opportunity. I asked Armstrong every time I met him. One of the times, he did it.

As for completion fees for photos of the moon (or similar), yes, Aldrin charges based on whether or not Armstrong or Collins is there. Cernan has charged more to sign something signed by Armstrong. For other signers, I don't think they charge completion fees in this situation.

David C
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Posts: 279
From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 10-25-2014 07:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JasonIUP:
It sounds like jealousy to me.
Huh? Jealous of what, Mike's not having met him? I did meet him and I didn't ask. Instead we had an enjoyable discussion. Far more professionally valuable and personally satisfying to me than trying to pressure him into signing a bit of paper. Would I have liked an autograph? Yes, but not under duress.
quote:
I think NOT asking Armstrong to sign is the wasted opportunity.
And you're entitled to that opinion, as am I to mine.

Mike_The_First
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Posts: 81
From: Joliet, IL
Registered: Jun 2014

posted 10-25-2014 12:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd like to clarify, as I felt it was fairly obvious when I wrote it (to the point that I had written, then deleted, the following caveat): if I had met Neil, I wouldn't only have asked for his autograph.

Even if I had nothing else to say to him (couldn't be farther from the truth), just randomly asking him for an autograph with no rapport would have been a waste of time.

When I met Harrison Schmitt, I spent about 20 minutes (probably more) asking him every question I could about the moon, his work, etc. (and that was before I entered into the journalism field) and never said a word to him about an autograph until much later. Of course, he didn't give me one, but it was still all I could talk about for days.

Autograph collecting isn't my only priority, but if I have the opportunity, I won't not ask for one.

With regard to Neil, also, we have to remember that he'd prefer to talk about his time as a test pilot rather than his time as an astronaut, whereas my ideal conversation with him lies within the latter. So the odds are my talking to him without asking for an autograph would have been about equally high on the annoyance scale with my asking.

David C
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Posts: 279
From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 10-25-2014 03:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mike_The_First:
I'd like to clarify, as I felt it was fairly obvious when I wrote it (to the point that I had written, then deleted, the following caveat): if I had met Neil, I wouldn't only have asked for his autograph.
Sorry Mike but it wasn't obvious to me, I don't like to make assumptions about what other people really mean. Thanks for the clarification.

I suppose that I viewed Armstrong as something of a rare case. His policy on autographs was so well known, and unlike Jason I didn't get the chance to meet him several times. As such it was important to me that I didn't walk away knowing that he thought I was a jerk.

In the unlikely event of a positive response it would still have been my memento of "the day I p'd off Neil Armstrong", and I really didn't need that. Anyhow, I already had his autograph.

schnappsicle
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Posts: 221
From: Houston, TX, USA
Registered: Jan 2012

posted 10-28-2014 05:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for schnappsicle   Click Here to Email schnappsicle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With regards to crew completions:

I want a Gemini 9 photo signed by both crew members. I already have several, but I need another one with a special inscription, providing Stafford is willing to write it on a photo. Naturally, I'm going to him first at the upcoming ASF show. If he decides to charge me a completion fee, I'll probably pay it after arguing and lying to get out of it because I want it that bad. If I do get what I want, I'll probably sell one or two of my other Gemini 9 photos to pay for the new one.

It's not that I want to pay the completion fee. Its more like I want Stafford to write a particular inscription on it. I could have and should have gotten it three years ago when he was cheaper and didn't charge a completion fee, but I was so excited to finally meet him that I didn't think of it at the time. Yes, I'm definitely kicking myself, but what can I say? I'd much rather get it now at a higher price than not have it at all.

I guess in a way, that makes me the problem. I'm definitely not happy about the completion fees, but I'm fortunate in that I can afford to pay them for what I want. Those who aren't will have to rely on the secondary market, as I've had to do with those who no longer sign.

With regards to Aldrin and his table manners, I've been on both sides of the Aldrin issue. When I first met Aldrin three years ago, he was on his phone some of the time while sitting at the table, but he always put his phone down when someone asked to him to pose for a photo. He was very nice to me and everyone else in line that day. At least I heard no complaints from anyone about him.

I was also lucky enough to catch him between phone calls. We had a nice little chat about his time in Bitburgh, Germany. I got my photo with him and left with a smile on my face.

When I ran into him at this past Spacefest, he was completely zoned out. Still, I left his table with a smile on my face because I finally got the Aldrin autograph I've always wanted. For me, it's all about getting the signature on a photo. The "experience" adds very little to the value of the photo, either to me personally, or to the price I charge when and if I ever decide to sell any of them.

fredtrav
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Posts: 1155
From: Birmingham AL USA
Registered: Aug 2010

posted 10-28-2014 12:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A question for you on the Stafford inscription, is it specific to a specific photo? If not then why not try and have him add the inscription to one of your photos already signed/completed. He would charge for the inscription and possibly also for a signature even though he would not be signing it again, but I doubt he would think of charging a completion since it was already complete.

schnappsicle
Member

Posts: 221
From: Houston, TX, USA
Registered: Jan 2012

posted 10-28-2014 12:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for schnappsicle   Click Here to Email schnappsicle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Stafford I want is an Angry Alligator photo. I already have one with the standard inscription (by Cernan) that was also signed by Stafford, but I want something different. Basically, I just think a fresh start would be better than any additions Stafford may or may not want to do. While your suggestion has merit, I'm not real comfortable asking for an addition to an already signed photo. Besides, I can sell the old one and get my money back on the signing fee anyway, so its almost like getting an additional inscription.

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