Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Small Business Saturday

Back in June of 1988, I was 14, just finished 8th grade, and went out looking for a job.  So one day I decided to walk into a local business (Video rental and one hour photo store) and apply.  What do you know, I got hired.  I learned much about good customer service, connecting with your customers, and being active in the community we worked in.  I also learned more about what it takes to run a small, successful, independent business. There's no way we would've been as successful as we were if it wasn't for our local, neighborhood customers.

23 years later, how times have changed.  Big box stores, retail chains and a tough economy have negatively impacted the livelihood of these small businesses that took a chance on me.  Trust me, I shop at the big stores as well, but I like to think I find a balance. 

There is a movement called Small Business Saturday, in which small business owners are asking that you shop their stores on Saturday November 26th.  Over 2 million people have pledged to make at least one purchase at a local small business on Saturday.  There is no reason to not do this if you need to purchase items on Saturday.  Yes, the price might be a bit higher. Yet, the positives out weigh that with easier parking, smaller crowds and a great way to stimulate the local economy.  

If you are not aware of the 3/50 program it is worth reading about.  Essentially, they are asking you to think about what it would the impact would be if you had 3 less independent businesses in your community.  They note that if you spent $50 a month at a local business, that would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.  And that for every $100 spent in the community, $68 of that will be returned to that local community through taxes and other means. 

Fore more information on these movements please check the following websites:

So I hope that all of you will take some time and shop at a local business this Saturday.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Discretion is in the hands of the signer!!!

Last week, I had the pleasure of working at the Greater Boston Sports collector's club convention/collector's show.  It was a great weekend honoring the 1986 Red Sox, baseball hall of famers Orlando Cepeda and Cal Ripken Jr, and working with some of the current Bruins. 

However, one problem that kept arising from the paying customer was the lack of cooperation from some players to inscribe special messages or noting accomplishments or items there were not authentic.  What does this mean?  Well, there was one customer who thought he had authentic game-used hockey sticks for Tim Thomas and Tyler Seguin.  However, Tyler noted those specific sticks were not used by him and that he would not inscribe them as "game used".  He inscribed them with 2011 stanley cup champs instead.  Then according to the customer they were not signed in the correct spot. 

Additionally, Rich Gedman and Wade Boggs were asked to inscribe accomplishments that they actually did not accomplish.  There were willing to add accurate information, but not something they did not complete themselves. 

So beware, players don't have to sign inscriptions at all, especially if they are not comfortable with it.  Most promoters will put a disclaimer on tickets or in signage that all signatures, inscriptions and locations of inscriptions are up to the players.  Now, this hardly seems fair, as a paying customer, but the rules are posted.  If there is a legitimate issue, the promoter will work with the agent and player to attempt to make everyone happy and maybe add a refund.  Again, this is rare, especially if a customer paid for the extra addition, but on that weekend this came up too often. 

My advice, be fair and make sure you have your facts straight on the items you have to be signed.  As happened with the Nomar signing, you really never know what you have with regards to game used items.  And with inscriptions be reasonable and keep them to a professional sport accomplishment or a simple personalization.  If you are reasonable, the player will be as well.

Stanley Cup Champion Zdeno Chara Autograph appearance!!

Zdeno Chara and the Boston Bruins are Stanley Cup champions. (AP Photo)

Do you need a great gift idea for the the diehard Bruins fan.  How about this?  For the 3rd time in the past 8 months and the 2nd time since the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, team captain, Zdeno Chara will be making an autograph appearance.  His pricing is $59 and $79 depending on the item signed.  Having an autograph from the captain of any championship team is the most valuable one a collector can have, especially in hockey.  This item will appreciate in value by at least 50% as soon as the item is signed. 

This will be happening on Monday November 28th from 7-8:30pm.   The location is La Carretta Restaurant in Derry NH.  For more information please check

The Patriots are coming!!!!! The Patriots are coming!!!!! Aaron Hernandez, Kyle Arrington, Dane Fletcher, Rob Gronkowski, Stevan Ridley!!!

It's been a while since I've been able to post about a current Patriot autograph signing.  Well that is changing.  There are 5 player appearances in the next 3 weeks.  What's great about these events is that, the pricing is fantastic for an NFL player appearance.  There is nothing that will cost more than $60, and some as low as $20 per autograph.  For a total of about $150 you can receive 5 patriot autographs on photos.  What a great Holiday present for the die hard Patriot fan.

So who is coming and when?

On Monday November 14, Dane Fletcher, Rob Gronkowski and Kyle Arrington are appearing at Sports and More in Providence Place Mall.  There is a great super ticket that you can purchase for only $60.  That means you will receive an autograph from each player for only a total of $60.  You save over $20 by doing this instead of purchasing individual tickets for each player.  They are appearing from 7-9pm.  If you purchase tickets at event, prices will increase by $10. 

For more information on this please check or

On Tuesday November 22, Stevan Ridley will be appearing at the New England Picture store at South Shore Plaza in Braintree Massachusetts.  His pricing is $29 for any item.  Add $10 for day of show ticket purchase.  He will be there from 7-8:30pm. 

For more information visit

Then tight end Aaron Hernandez is appearing on Saturday December 3 from 3-4:30pm.  His pricing is $49 and $59 depending on the item being signed.  He will also be at the New England Picture store at South Shore Plaza.  Add $10 for day of show ticket purchase.

For more information, please visit

Sunday, October 16, 2011

2004 World Series Champions, Mark Bellhorn and Alan Embree

It's been a while since we heard from Mark Bellhorn and Alan Embree.  Both of these unsung heroes played important roles in the Red Sox 2004 championship run.  Bellhorn was the starting 2nd baseman for the season, remember how he emerged over Pokey Reese.  Embree was in his 3rd season as the left handed set up man in the bullpen.  They both had impactful plays in the 2004 ALCS vs. the Yankees.  Bellhorn hit an important homerun in game 6, (Almost called a double, but umpire Joe West got the call correct).  Embree was the pitcher on the mound that threw the pitch that turned out to be the final out in the historic series.

Both will be appearing to sign autographs in Whitman Ma. on Saturday October 29th, 2011.  Each of them have only made one public appearance since they left Boston in 2005.  Their prices are great, $49 for any item, $10 for inscriptions.  There is also a deal that for $100 you can acquire 3 autographs, so it's like getting one free. 

Essential information is below:
Time: 12:00pm to 2:00pm
Location: The Whitman VFW, 95 Essex Street, Whitman, MA

For more information please visit:

Meet 577 NHL goal scorer and Stanley Cup Champion Mark Recchi

Now is your opportunity to meet a future NHL hall of famer, 2011 Stanley Cup Winner and just classy man, Mark Recchi. 

Mark scored 577 goals in his 22 year career and is one of only 41 players in history with over 500 goals.  He is one of only 15 players to score 1500 points in his career and won a Stanley cup with 3 different teams.

Mark will be appearing at a very reasonable price on Thursday October 27th, 2011.  His price ranges from $39 - $59 plus a $20 inscription fee, depending on which items you have signed.  This is an outstanding opportunity to acquire an autograph that is sure to enhance any collection.

He will be signing from 7pm - 8:30pm at the La Carreta Mexican Restaurant on 35 Manchester Road in Derry NH.  For more information please visit

Nomar Garciaparra says "Buyer Beware"

Last week, I was afforded the opportunity to work with former Red Sox shortstop and fan favorite Nomar Garciaparra.  This was Nomar's first autograph signing of any kind that we and him were aware of.  Despite the fact that Nomar signed autographs prior to every game, there were still many, many items mailed into the company to get signed.  We saw plenty of magazines, books, 2004 world series items, photos, balls and even baseball cards.

Nomar Garciaparra autographed baseball.
However, what caught Nomar's attention were the mailed in Garciaparra game used jerseys and bats, or so we thought.  You see, Nomar owns all of his game used jerseys, as he stated to us they are in a safe closet at or near his home.  And the bats, well, they weren't used by him either.  All the bats with his name on them, they were not his model number.  He said it's very possible they were used in a game somewhere, just not by him. 

Nomar explained he receives requests to autograph game used items often and every time he feels bad for the buyer that in some cases spent upwards of $1200 for these items.  So his advice, don't buy them, at least with his name on it. 

Nomar Garciaparra autographed bobblehead doll.
For authenticated Nomar Garciaparra autographed items visit  They now have baseballs and photos available for sale at great prices.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Famous Collapse

The Red Sox had the worst collapse in their team's history, and even Major League Baseball history.  It parallels the current state of the economy, where as an observer it got worse and worse and continues even 5 days later to seem to get worse and worse.  With the way the team played, it's amazing that anyone even has an interest in the Red Sox, especially seeing that they used Francona as a scapegoat for the lack of the players ability to win.

Therefore, with the current collapse still fresh in our minds that has generated many questions and conversations about the state of the Sox.  Especially, in my case, many have asked, "so what are the autographs worth now?".  I've been asked enough, I thought it was time to comment on that question.

Here's the reality of the current Red Sox autograph situation:
1.  The players who won a world series with the Sox in 2004 and/or 2007 will maintain the same price/value.  David Ortiz, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis won as members on both teams and most definitely should not drop off.   Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, JD Drew, Jonathan Papelbon, and Clay Buchholz may drop off slightly, but that is more a function of them being over priced to begin with, than the collapse.  They all have individual accomplishments, that may trump them being a part of the famous collapse.

Jon Lester and David Ortiz autographed world series baseballs.
2.  The players who we acquired via free agency such as Adrian Gonzalez, John Lackey, Carl Crawford, Marco Scutaro, and Eric Bedard should definitely lose value in this high priced market, until they win a world series in Boston.  Although they own individual accomplishments, until they prove they can win or succeed in Boston, they won't have any type of major demand.

Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez autographed baseballs.
 3.  The jury is still out on players such as Josh Reddick, Daniel Bard, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Lavarnway, Jed Lowrie, Lars Anderson, Darnell McDonald.  They have never had high demand and certainly shouldn't cost anyone so much that they'll break the bank.  I would recommend purchasing Lavarnway's autographs now, because he showed a ton of positive potential in the last week and his memorabilia will be on average $25 or less.

One tip I have for everyone is that if you want to purchase any current Red Sox player autograph, this is the time to negotiate the price down.  Most of the players have been here the 2 seasons in which the team came in 3rd place.  Any collector/customer should be able to get at least 30% off current retail prices through Christmas.  I know for a fact there is a ton of Red Sox signed memorabilia on the market and the supply out weighs the demand about 2-1 right now.  So get your Red Sox deals now and rebuild your collection from this unprecedented collapse.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Terry Francona: The Best Red Sox Manager Ever

Terry Francona Bobblehead
 Prior to 2004, I can think of the names of popular or not so popular Red Sox managers; Dick Williams, Don Zimmer, Darrell Johnson, Jimy Williams, John McNamara, Butch Hobson, Joe Morgan, Grady Little, Joe Cronin, etc....I remember when Francona was hired.  It was no surprise that Grady Little was fired after the 2003 ALCS game 7 debacle, but I also was like "Terry Francona"?  "Who the hell is that?"  "He Sucks."

On October 27, in his first season that all changed.  He managed the Red Sox to their first World Series championship in 86 years.  He instantly became a Red Sox legend after the last out.  Then 3 seasons later, history repeated itself and he managed another World Series champion with the same team, only legitimizing his legendary status and making him the most popular and greatest Red Sox manager ever.

2004 World Series Team Signed ball, Terry Francona on the sweet spot.
So what does that mean after he and the Red Sox legally separated today?  It means to find his autographed bat, photo, ball or other item and purchase it.  It means that his memorabilia will forever be marked as historic and valuable in the Boston Market.  His autograph is one that you'll want to pass onto children and grandchildren.  It means you have a piece of Red Sox history.  
Terry Francona 2004 World Series Autographed ball.
Thanks for the past 8 years Terry and we hope to see you in the visitor dugout for your much deserved Fenway Park standing ovation.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chasing the Movie Star

For one person who does not particularly like movies (The only time I watch a movie is if it was made prior to 1996, or is a Disney movie my daughter wants to see.), it is no surprise most of my autographs come from athletes.  However, I do have some autographs from actors in the movies Return of the Jedi (My favorite movie in the Star Wars series) and How Do You Know.  In fact one of those is Jack Nicholson.  Now, this is still of no major interest to me, however, movie star autographs are highly valuable and frankly, not as available, and there is a strong market for them.

Autographed Return of the Jedi poster.  Signed by Kenny Baker (R2D2), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) and 2 other actors.
In the past few years, Boston has been the backdrop, and setting for many movies.  Many famous stars have come to Boston to film their productions.  And honestly, from most accounts, these people are easy to find and sometimes accessible.  Now I'm not going to stalk an actor/actress, as I have athletes, but if I know someone will be at a location, at a particular time, and I have a good chance to pick up an autograph from say, a Tom Cruise, Drew Barrymore or Jack Nicholson, I might check it out.  So, have your star scrap book ready, a sharpie in hand and maybe a camera.  You may not only be an extra in a movie, you might add to your movie star autograph collection.

How Do You Know Poster autographed by Jack Nicholson, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd and 2 other people.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The political autograph!!!

For one who hates most aspects of politics, whether locally, nationally or at work; I have to say I am fascinated by the whole process.  The art of the campaign, selling your ideas, the rhetoric, not offending people and what intrigues me most, the meet and greet.  I have been fortunate to meet many, many politicians including local mayors, up to U.S. presidents and every experience has been different.

As I've been collecting autographs, it took me time and courage to ask a politician to sign an item.  For years, and this is still the case, I've collected political buttons, but never their autographs.  That changed in 2003/2004 when I met Joe Lieberman, John Edwards, John Kerry and John McCain on the presidential campaign trail in New Hampshire.  As I attended more and more functions I realized these people could some day become president and started asking for autographs.  As I researched autograph values of politicians, president or not, I quickly discovered their values are far more valuable than most athletes.  Senators and congressman are valued at about the same as top athletes, presidents about 20 - 30% more and supreme court justices about 50% higher.  Moreover, meeting people that have so much power and influence over the nation and world is what makes these experiences and signatures so valuable.

So now is the time to start visiting New Hampshire.  The presidential primary is coming up in 4 short months. and folks such as Giuliani, Romney, Perry, Paul and Bachmann will be appearing regularly in the granite state.  Most of their functions are free to the public and more often than not they will both local and national politicians there to speak on behalf of them.  Hence, how I met Bill Clinton 4 years ago at a Hillary Clinton rally.  All their appearances will posted on the individual candidate web pages. 

So bring your sharpie, a magazine or button and have it ready to be signed when they mingle with the crowd following their speeches. 

Bill and Hillary Clinton, Scott Brown autographed items.

Meet NHL Hall of Famer Cam Neely

Cam Neely Autographed puck.

Bruins great and NHL Hall Of Famer Cam Neely will be appearing at New England Picture Store in the South Shore Plaza in Braintree Mass, on Saturday September 10th.

Cam is a Bruin legend, the current Bruin president and one of the people responsible for building a stanley cup winning team.  This is a rare opportunity to meet him and score an autograph at a reasonable price.

He is appearing from 3:00 to 4:00pm.  His prices are $39 for regular items, $49 for premium and $20 for inscriptions.  This is a steal for any hall of fame athlete.

Please check the following websites for more information and presale tickets:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Heat of a Texas Autograph

For all of my Texas readers, and in recognition of your hottest summer in 40 years, this entry is for you.  As I am watching the Rangers game tonight I started thinking. "One aspect of my collection I'm missing, are autographs from famous Texas personalities, athletes and politicians".  In fact, as I started walking around my room I started to realize what I had ( Texas Natives; Roger Clemens, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz) and  current Rangers David Murphy and Josh Hamilton. That is all. 

Roger Clemens Signed Baseball
 So I started making my hottest Texas athlete, personality, or native autograph wish list:

1.  Larry Hagman: Who wouldn't want an autographed photo of JR.  I'm sure I can find an authentic one on EBAY or from dealers in Texas.
2.  Any Dallas Cowboy:  We don't see the cowboys signing autographs in New England, but when I see any Cowboy is making an appearance around the country they are very popular and expensive.
3.  Nolan Ryan:  His autograph is one of the hardest to acquire in baseball.  He rarely signs and when he does he does it in a limited fashion.
4.  Either of the George Bush's, Lyndon Johnson and Dwight Eisenhower:  Presidential autographs are always valuable and generally rare.  Despite their issues in office, I'd be thrilled to have something signed from any of them.  (Their autographs are not as hard to get as everyone thinks).
5.  Jerry Jones:  NFL owners rarely sign autographs and are generally not worth it, but getting one from the most charismatic owner in sports is.  He truly is the heart of the Cowboys and would be a great addition for any collector.
6.  Dirk Nowitzki, David Robinson and Tim Duncan:  They brought NBA championships to their respective Texas cities and almost never make autograph appearances.  They are equal to Boston's Larry Bird, Paul Pierce, and Kevin McHale in terms of basketball autograph rarity and popularity.
7.  For you wrestling fans, nobody can beat the popularity of Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Undertaker and the showstopper Shawn Michaels.  These two ruled wrestling in the 90's and are amongst the hardest wrestler autographs to acquire.

On the honorable mention list are:
Craig Biggio
Dennis Rodman
Tom Kite
Ben Hogan
George Gervin
Labonte Brothers

Hopefully, in the near future, I'll acquire some of these and make sure Texas is better represented in a cool and comfortable Massachusetts home.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A New Perspective

Elizabeth and I at the Sox Game.

It's rare that I don't follow my normal pre-game, game time and post game routine when I attend a game at Fenway, or for that matter any other ballpark.  I want to take advantage of every opportunity to get an autograph, take in the atmosphere, eat at my leisure, keep score and enjoy friendly conversation.

However, I made an exception to this routine this past Thursday night.  While my daughter has been to Fenway many, many times, it's usually with my wife and sister or my wife and me, etc...  I had never taken her alone to a game.  I knew going in, this meant no keeping score, no autographs, probably missing a portion of the game, and maybe leaving early.

This night was about the pizza, the balloon artist, seeing Wally the green monster in the 3rd inning, snuggling in our seats, reading a book, playing in the kids area, exploring the team store and long shoulder rides to and from the car while singing silly songs.  This night was about paying attention to 3 innings of a game, and pretending to keep score, (Yes Elizabeth knows how to keep score and could recite plays back to me).  It was about finding a safe family restroom.  It was about holding a my little girl's hand, while navigating the crowded Fenway concourses to find our destination.

This night made me realize it's sometimes wise to place what we take for granted in perspective.  Made me realize that this isn't about what I want to do, or about the result in the game ( I honestly don't know who won, we left in the 5th inning, 2 hours into the game).  This is about spending time with a loved one (in this case my daughter), and just have a good time and live the experience through her eyes

Nothing made me happier than we when we arrived back at the truck and she said, "Dad, I'm sorry you didn't get any autographs, would you like my Wally autograph?".  I said, "how about a hug?".  Then her little arms squeezed me tight and the drive home didn't seem so long.

Elizabeth with her Ariel Balloon.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

How did you know that?

So often, in the collectible world, I will participate in conversations with collectors and we will share information about celebrity appearances.  Inevitably, the quote that is most often spoken is, "I wish I knew that." or "How do I find these things out?"  One of the interesting things about autograph collecting is that finding out where celebrities are appearing is actually a challenge unless you are on email lists with collector companies, you attend a ton of shows or you work in the industry.  Occasionally, you will find information via an internet search engine or in your local newspapers, but even those avenues are not a consistent reliable source.

However, don't fret, thanks to a gentleman in Connecticut, there is a fantastic website to find out all this information.  In my experience his website lists about 95% of all celebrity appearances in the United States and Canada.  Some of the information is sent to him from collectors and most right from the promoters themselves.  The name of the website is

The website is very comprehensive and has improved every year.  You can find an athlete appearance in a variety of ways.  You can look up an appearance by professional team, award winners, dates, states, college team and many more ways.  You can receive daily updates for celebrity appearances via email.

There are free usage aspects to the website, but I recommend subscribing as you will receive more updated and pertinent information.  I have the $24.95 a year plan which ends up paying for itself.  You see, for some events if you are a member of you can print out coupons to save money at autograph events.  I usually save about $75 a year with those coupons.

So in addition to checking your local newspaper, joining an company's email list, consider signing up for and stop feeling like you are out of the loop.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Stanley Cup Champion and Current Boston Bruin Dennis Seidenberg Appearance

Another member of the Bruins Stanley Cup Champion team will be signing autographs on Wednesday August 3rd.  Yes, Dennis Seidenberg #44, will be appearing at P & T sports cards at 560 Bedford Street in Whitman Mass.. 

He will be appearing from 5:00pm - 7:00pm.

Tickets are $39 for any item, inscriptions are extra. 

Please check to place your order.

Hope to see there.

Come and Meet Red Sox Prospect Jose Iglesias

Jose Iglesias in action.

Here is a great opportunity to meet the future shortstop of the Red Sox, Jose Iglesias. I have met Jose before and he is a great gentleman and worth meeting.  His price is only $29 an autograph.  He is an exciting prospect for the Red Sox and will become a crowd favorite quickly.  Once he becomes a full time major league player expect this fee to minimally double to $60. 

He will be appearing on Tuesday August 2nd from 7:00pm - 8:30pm.

He will be at Sports and More in the Providence Place Mall, Providence Rhode Island.

Hope to see you there.

Jose Iglesias Autographed baseball.

Use Tuff Stuff to answer the Tough Questions

I was recently at a retail bookstore and I was browsing the antique/collectible section.  Of course there were plenty of books on collecting many items such as sport cards, antiques, coins, stamps, toys (I have to admit I liked the 80's toy book) etc..  Much to my dismay, I could not find a single book on autograph collecting.  I was pretty shocked considering the market for autographs of any kind is so large.  So this made me think, how do I track the value of my collection?  Where did I learn some of my tricks from?  How did I learn the difference between regular and premium items?  I certainly remember looking this all up in books, not too long ago.

So I did the famous google search and I found what I was looking for; The Tuff Stuff website.  Tuff Stuff is incredibly useful and fun for any sports card or autograph collector.  You will find everything you need to know via their website, magazine subscription program or from their books link.  Their magazines are great as you will find updated sport card information.  Dates for autograph signings around the country are usually in the publications.  Trends in collecting are written about regularly.  However, what I find most useful are the tidbits on autograph values.  Their magazines and books will explain everything you need to know to grade and assign a value to your pieces.  Very useful if you ever needed to have it appraised or insured.

So check out and find the answers to the tough questions.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Red Sox All Stars Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz and more......

With the Bruins being in the spotlight lately, as they should be, we all forgot about the Red Sox. They quietly played out of their early season slump.  They are now in 2nd place in the division and 4 of their players were selected to the American League all star team.  Saturday July 9, will be your opportunity to meet two of them in addition to some of their teammates. 

Jon Lester Autographed baseball with no-hitter inscription

That's right, current players, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Tim Wakefield, Jon Lester and Felix Doubront will all be appearing to sign autographs. Former Red Sox players, Rico Petrocelli and Ramon Martinez (Pedro Martinez's brother) will also be in attendance.

David Ortiz and Tim Wakefield 2004 World Series Autographed Baseballs.
So here's the deal. The current players are rather expensive, but for current Red Sox superstars, the prices are about market price.  Felix Doubront is free with admission fee.  Don't bother bringing a camera, because players will not be posing for pictures as they need to complete their obligation to sign for paid customers and then scoot off to prepare for their night game. 

This will be a crowded event because this is Gonzalez's first appearance in Boston.  David Ortiz hasn't appeared in 2 seasons and Lester and Wakefield are very much fan favorites.  With the crowd comes the fact that fans will need to move through the lines quickly, so only expect about 5-10 seconds with the players, if that.

If you don't have an item to get signed, there will be plenty of merchandise for sale including baseballs, world series baseball, bats, and plenty of photos.  Also, please remember that there is an admission fee of $5 at the door.

Below is all the information you need, which includes, location, prices and times.

We hope to see you there.
th- 9:00am to 4:00pm -The Lantana, 43 Scanlon Drive, Randolph, MA 02386
David Ortiz
11:30am to 1:30pm
$89.00 - Regular (Flats up to 11x14)
$99.00 - Premium (O/S Flats/Baseballs)
$109.00 - Premium (Caps/Equip/Bats/Jerseys)
$20.00 - Inscription
Jon Lester
11:00am to 1:00pm
$79.00- Regular (Flats up to 11x14/Baseballs)
$89.00 - Premium (O/S Flats)
$99.00 - Premium (Caps/Equip/Bats/Jerseys)
$20.00- Inscription
Adrian Gonzalez
11:30am to 1:30pm
$99.00 - Regular (Flats up to 11x14/Baseballs)
$109.00 - Premium (O/S Flats/Caps/Equip)
$119.00 - Premium (Bats/Jerseys)
$25.00 - Inscription
Cecil Cooper
10:30am to 12:00pm
$25.00 - Any Item
Ramon Martinez
10:00am to11:30am
$39.00 - Any Item
$5.00 - Inscription
Felix Doubront
10:00am to 12:00pm
One free autograph per paid admission.
Additional items are $10.00 each
Tim Wakefield
11:00am - 12:30pm
$49.00 - Regular (Flats/Baseballs)
$69.00 - Premium (Caps/Equip/Bats/Jerseys)
$20.00 - Inscription
We w
For tickets and info – contact Sure Shot Promotions at 781-754-0063
or send us an email at
iillll glladlly acceptt maiill orders!!!!
Fenway’s Finest

Saturday, July 9

Friday, June 24, 2011

Stanley Cup Champion Autograph Ideas

Traditionally, the nice thing about acquiring hockey autographs is that most of the items players sign are jerseys, sticks, a photo, but mostly pucks, really simple and inexpensive.  However, when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, many, many more choices of items became available.  They'll be collectible magazines, newspapers, ticket stubs and game used items.  Seeing that most fans will probably just want to score an autograph from their favorite player on the team, and collectors will be seeking to acquire from all 20 plus players and the coaches, I have some recommendations.

If you are going to seek out one or two players I'd go for the photo or puck.  They are inexpensive, easy to display and the ink on those items will show up well. If one of those players is Tim Thomas or Zdeno Chara I recommend purchasing the special edition Sports Illustrated with Tim Thomas on the cover, and for Chara a photo of him hoisting the cup over his head.  I'd also strongly consider a Stanley Cup game ticket stub or the white official Stanley Cup hat (if you can find it) for one of them to sign.

Items for Zdeno Chara or Tim Thomas to autograph.
 If you are seeking the whole team consider purchasing one of these items for them all to autograph.  A 16 x 20 team photo, an ash colored or black colored stick, a blank Bruin Jersey (meaning no name or number on the back) or individual pucks for each player to then get displayed in one single wall unit.  Yes they exist.

Mark Recchi, Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas Autographed pucks.

Lastly, whatever you choose to get signed make sure you preserve it well.  Spend the extra $2-$3 for those essential protectors such as plastic cases for pucks, plastic sleeves for photos and ticket stubs, water proof bags for jerseys.  Unfortunately there are no items I'm aware of that protect sticks.

Good luck seeking out your 2011 Boston Bruin Stanley Cup Champion Autographs.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Stanley Cup Champion and Current Boston Bruin Shawn Thornton; Appearance Information

As I mentioned before, the Bruins will start making autograph appearances this summer, whether they won or lost.  The appearances start next Saturday, June 25th with Shawn Thornton.  The pricing is great.  $39 for him to autograph any one item.  That is either an item you want to buy at the store or an item you bring with you from home.  I would recommend that you purchase your tickets early, as this will either sell out and the price will increase by $10 the day of the appearance.

I suppose you want to know where?!?!?!

New England Picture Company
South Shore Plaza Location, Braintree Massachusetts
Time:  Noon - 1:30pm

Here is the link for more information.

The "Ice" of the Moment

Product Image
Congratulations Bruins!!!!  Bringing the Stanley Cup back to Boston is such an exhilarating experience for the "die hard" Bruins fans and more broadly the city of Boston.  Reminds me very much of what the city was like back in 2004 following the Red Sox World Series win.  Everyone was happy and just wanted to party.

With the exhilaration also comes the "heat of the moment" euphoria or in this case the "danger of the ice" moment.  Meaning you must have that Stanley Cup Champion Bruin Hat, T-shirt, picture, autograph or whatever you can find that has the Bruin name and logo on it.  You seem to think you need to have it now.  Unfortunately, the business world, both legitimate and underground, are looking to take advantage of your emotions.  Yesterday I was with a friend at a well known retail location in Waltham Ma..  They had none of the licensed Bruin or Stanley Cup merchandise in stock, but they decided that the "knock Off" Bruin items could sell at $30 and up. By the way of about 20 people we saw looking at the overpriced merchandise, only one person bought an item.

So if you can be patient and wait a few weeks, merchandise, apparel and autographs will be in abundant supply and yes you can purchase the same items you would today, but save yourself about 30%.  And more importantly, save yourself from financially falling through the "Ice".

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Big Bad Bruins Deals

Even for a "bandwagoner" Bruins/hockey fan such as me, I am very excited about the Bruins playing for the Stanley Cup!!!  I'm so happy for all the "die hards" such as my sister and brother.  Nothing would please me more than to have the Bruins bring the 7th championship to Boston in the past 10 years.  I remember attending game 2 of the Stanley Cup in 1990. It was the loudest I ever heard an arena.  The Garden roof could've come off the building.  The excitement was fantastic.  I can only imagine what it'll be like if they win now.

1990 Bruins Team photo, autographed by Ray Bourque and Cam Neely.
 With that said, this also means a Bruins autograph or piece of memorabilia will become more in demand.  It's already happening.  With higher demand comes higher prices. That being said, the Bruins have by far the best prices with regards to appearance fees and autographs. However, that will change whether they win the cup or not.

Therefore, I recommend you check out the following websites for some great deals.
These companies are offering great prices on autographed pucks and photos of current Bruin players.  Prices start at $29 and range upwards of $100 for the premium items.  I guarantee you, this will increase by a minimum of 30%, again whether they win or not.  So get your orders in now and save your money. 

Me and Bruin Goalie, Tim Thomas.
Me and Zdeno Chara.  He is truly a nice man.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The 2nd Autograph

We all think of an autograph (legible or not) to be the person's name and maybe their number.  Most of us are happy, including myself, if we can clearly read the name, and the quality of the signature is good.  However, one of the characteristics of collecting I enjoy is adding the inscription/personalization to an item.  This can almost only be accomplished at a paid appearance or show, as celebrities or athletes will not take the time to add a name or accomplishment on the item at the park or arena. 

So what is an inscription?  The inscription can be many, many things.  Essentially, it's an abbreviated line, usually written under an athlete's name, that describes an accomplishment they have reached in their career.  Examples are HOF (Hall of Fame), maybe a nickname, MVP, a Champion, no hitter, etc...   It is also considered a personalization such as "To John, Best Wishes". 

Kevin McHale Signed Basketball, with the "3X Champs" inscription.
 Is the inscription worth it?  I say absolutely.  It will cost you, anywhere from one free inscription to upwards of $100 to add in a line.  This is the 2nd autograph part.  Agents and players will charge for the extra line because it takes time to write, it takes up as much if not more space than the name of the person, and it's considered an infrequent, yet added value to the autograph.

Dom DiMaggio autographed bat with the very rare inscription "Lil Professor".  I had to beg him to add that onto the bat. 
If you choose to invest in the inscription here are some hints.  Try to gather a themed collection of inscribed items, such as world series MVP's or no hitters, perfect game accomplishments, etc...  If you can collect a consistent set of inscribed items in any category, you will have a rare collection on your hands. Also, be creative.  Try to find a nickname of a player and have them add that in.  Maybe have a person inscribe their debut to a sport, etc....  There are many, many options to do this.

Cal Ripken Jr. autographed baseball.  He is the rare person who actually writes out the words in the inscription '2632 consecutive games".  Another rarity with celebrities.
 Lastly, there is nothing wose than a player who is asked to write a book.  I highly recommend that you request one or 2 lines at most.  If you request more than that you will pay a high price, but most importantly frustrate the person signing and they will almost always make a mistake.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Challenge of Fenway

Once upon a time, the Red Sox players signed many, many autographs at Fenway Park.  Through 2003 and in 2005 the Red Sox were pretty accessible, both outside and inside the park, as well as before and after games.  This aspect of visiting Fenway was a huge part of my experience.  That is no longer the case.  Your chances of winning a big lottery are better than receiving an autograph from a current Red Sox player at Fenway Park.  This is not to say they don't sign, but it is so rare, that I don't even waste my time on their side of the field. 

Therefore, if I want to have any chance of getting an autograph at Fenway I focus all my attention on the visiting team.  This is by no means easy, thanks to Fenway operations management, but it's not impossible. Last week I was able to get a good quality autograph from David Price, pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays.  The more recent challenges Fenway management has implemented is that you can no longer lean into the dugout to attempt to get an autograph on the homeplate side of the field, unless you have a ticket for those seats.  (Did they get idea from Yankee Stadium?  I thought the Red Sox were better than that.)  The wall from home plate to the dugout is blocked by the VIP area.  Therefore, players will almost never come over and sign for the non VIP's.  The left wall is almost completely blocked by grounds crew tractors and supplies. 

So where do you go?
1.  I've had luck right behind the visitor dugout, just where the players walk up the stairs to enter the field.  You need to get there early to get a good spot and do your best to physically keep it.  The challenge with this is that it is hard to toss items across the top of the dugout, especially for kids.

Visitor Dugout: Side where the players enter the field.
2.  The area just to the left of the visitor dugout camera well.  This is where I got David Price to sign for me.  This is another small space, so you must work hard to keep your spot.
Area by photographer/camera well to the left of visitor dugout, usually good for autographs.

Corner of wall behind 3rd base, heading out to left field.  Good spot for visiting pitcher autographs.
3.  The area of the wall behind 3rd base where it stops and turns to left field.  There is usually plenty of room here for about 20 people.  This is a popular spot for visiting pitchers to sign as they usually warm up or play catch right at this corner on the field. 

So good luck and have your items ready.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Think Outside the Box

Yes, I have many regular signed items, such as mini-helmets, photos and plenty of baseballs.  The easiest explanation for this is that these items are easy to carry, at shows they are the cheapest to have signed and most importantly athletes/celebrities are accustomed to signing these everyday collector items.

However, I have found that if you can diversify your collection with some unique or rare items, not only does that add value to your collection, it will usually generate a conversation with the athlete/celebrity and you will have a more memorable interaction with that person.

Some simple, but sometimes expensive ideas are game used items such as bases, stadium seats, and stadium seat backs.  There just aren't many of these around and these items have just become accessible to the regular fan, such as me. 

Fenway Seat Back signed by Hall of Famers, Jim Rice and Carlton Fisk.
There are some other unique items that many of us never think of.  For instance collectible toy team trucks are usually numbered to 1500.  Bobblehead dolls given out by minor league teams usually only have 500-1500 available on a particular night.  Seeing that very few people will ever get them signed, they become a unique and rare item in a collection.

David Ortiz autographed collectible truck.

Bret Saberhagen autographed bobblehead, less than 1700 of these items were produced.
When I'm asked what some of my favorite items are in my collections I always show those individuals my Bill Clinton signed flyer from 1992, my baseball lineup cards from different dugouts and my 2004 world series headline collage.  All of these items are great conversation starters, they are rare and most importantly they are all one of a kind and will not be reproduced.

Bill and Hillary Clinton autographed fliers from their respective presidential campaigns.

2005 Portland SeaDog line up card from a game in May.  Autographed by current stars such as Jon Lester, Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia and others.
So before you are ready to get that 8x10 or mini helmet signed, see what else you can find, think outside the box, and add value to your experience and collection. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Rankings Are Out.

One of my favorite aspects of collecting autographs is having the inevitable conversation with a stranger in a line or at an sporting event about who signs and who doesn't.  Who is rude and polite?  Who signs a great autograph and who scribbles.  I probably have this conversation about 40 times a year and I always learn something new about an athlete or celebrity and their signing habits.

With that said, I thought it was time for me to release my rankings of such topics.  As I've said before, all my autograph experiences have an individual story.  So these rankings are from my own experience and my own observations.  All of these experiences occurred at a sport venue or an athlete's workplace.

I have 7 categories that I will list.  The first player listed is the best or worst of that respective list.  Everyone after that is listed in no particular order.

Category #1:  I have always witnessed these retired players sign autographs when requested.  In my opinion, you couldn't have even tried to miss these players signing.
Johnny Pesky
Nomar Garciaparra
Dwight Evans
Rick Dempsey
Phil Niekro
Luis Tiant
Rafael Palmeiro
Kevin Millar
Bill Mueller
Bob Feller

Category #2:  I have always witnessed these current players sign autographs when requested.  In my opinion, you couldn't have even tried to miss these players signing.
Vernon Wells
Josh Hamilton
Roy Halladay
Carlos Gonzales
Chris Carpenter
Jack Wilson
Matt Holliday
Bronson Arroyo
Chipper Jones
David Murphy
Eric Hinske
Eric Chavez
Todd Helton
Doug Mientkiewicz

Category #3:  These players used to sign all the time and since 2007 I have not seen them sign any items when asked.
Jacoby Ellsbury
Mark Teixeira
Jason Varitek
Alex Rodriguez
Dustin Pedroia
Albert Pujols
Jonathan Papelbon
Hanley Ramirez
Manny Ramirez
David Ortiz

Category #4:  These folks will sign once in a while, and when they choose to take time to sign, they will sign for about 40-50 people.
Mariano Rivera
Pedro Martinez
Frank Thomas
Keith Foulke
Dave Roberts
Joba Chamberlain
Carl Crawford
Aaron Hill
Lyle Overbay
Ubaldo Jimenez

Category #5:  I have never seen these folks sign autographs when requested.  Most of these athletes won't even acknowledge the fans when request signatures.
Ken Griffey Jr.
Curt Schilling
Josh Beckett
Derek Jeter
Roger Clemens
Tim Wakefield
Eddie Murray
Fransicso Rodriguez
David Wells
Andy Pettitte
Randy Johnson

Category #6:  These athletes have the best quality autographs.  Every letter is spelled out and written clearly.
Mariano Rivera
Carl Yastrzemski
Andre Dawson
Dom Dimaggio
Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Bobby Richardson
Bill Mazeroski
Gordy Howe
Harmon Killebrew
Rodrigo Lopez
Adam Vinatieri
John Havlicek
Sam Jones

Gordie Howe, Dom Dimaggio, Carl Yastrzemski, Rodrigo Lopez, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Andre Dawson signed items.
Category #7:  These folks have the messiest autographs.  Usually have to label the item as soon as it's signed so I don't forget who signed it. 
Pumpsie Green
Rajon Rondo
Manny Ramirez
Robert Parish
Josh Hamilton
Chris Carpenter
Dustin Pedroia
Ryan Kalish
Jonathan Papelbon

Manny Ramirez, Robert Parish, Pumpsie Green, Ryan Kalish and Chris Carpenter signed items.  Can you guess the correct signatures?

If you have a different experience or want to add to these lists please comment below.