Sunday, October 24, 2010

Building your collection

Sample of my many themes.

For the most part I would argue that the best way to build an autograph collection is to build it around a theme.  Mine started with baseball players autographing my personal photos of them in 2002.  I am very proud of this sentimental album of 8x10 photos that I personally took of these athletes. However, the collection expanded quickly into award winners and team champions for different local sports.  My priority is in this order:

1.  2004 Red Sox
2.  2007 Red Sox
3. Cy Young Winners
4. Gold Glove Winners
5. World Series MVP'S
6.  Patriot Superbowl champions
7. Past Celtic Champions
8.  500 HR club

Sample of my Cy Young Collection

Example of Gold Glove Winner Collection
  In addition to these themes I have many smaller collections that I continue to get autographed such as a 100th anniversary Red Sox guide, Red Sox prospects, magazine covers, bobbleheads, my daughter's bat, my Red Sox Jersey, politicians and many, many more.

Signed Red Sox Jersey, position players on the "Red" side & pitchers on the "Sox" side.

Sample of my political autographs, compliments of the Clintons, Joe Lieberman & Jon McCain (The buttons are autographed)
There are many pros with creating a theme: 1.  Once you have more than 10 autographs in that theme the potential value of that collection will double or triple.
2.  You can display the autographs together.
3.  The autographs will be consistent.
4.  It's rewarding to complete the collection, like putting the pieces of a puzzle together.
5.  You can find dealers who specialize in themes and can help complete a collection.
6.  Autograph show promoters typically create shows that are revolved around themes (More on this next week).
7.  Athletes appreciate people who are building a theme.  I've had many good conversations with Bob Cousy, Mike Lowell, Carlton Fisk and Johnny Pesky about some of my items and reasons for needing a special inscription.  Once they understood what I was doing they were more than happy to help me out.

Wool Celtic Championship banner signed by many former Celtics, including Russell, Cousy, and McHale.

Some of the cons with creating a theme:
1.  Some of the people you may need have passed on.
2.  Some athletes in categories just don't do public signings at this point (i.e., Kevin Garnett, Tom Brady, Bobby Orr).  I used to say the same thing about former Celtic Bill Russell, but he had appeared 2 times in the Boston area in the past year.  So there is hope.
3.  Some players charge more for an autograph for a theme based item. (i.e. Tom Seaver charges extra money for items to be signed from the old Shea Stadium.)
4.  Some of these players don't live in the area and just aren't accessible up in Boston.
5.  It's hard to maintain consistency.
6.  Some themes can accumulate to over 100 autographs.

With all that said, I should note, I still go back to my roots and do the best I can to take good photos of these athletes in action and work hard to have them autograph my photos.  None of those photos have any bearing on awards, championships or themes, just something that I hold sentimental between me and my camera.

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