Getting Autographs at Golf Tournaments

There are some dos & don’ts for golf tournament autograph requests.

DOs

Talk to the players as you ask for the autograph.

  1. Explain where you got the item you’re asking them to sign (especially the cachets).
  2. Explain why you’re asking them to sign a particular item.
  3. Always say “thanks” for their autographs.
  4. Ask them to sign no more than two items at a time.

DON’Ts

Never approach them while they are playing.

  1. Never approach them while they are practicing.
  2. Do not approach them after they’ve had a bad round.
  3. Do not holler or be loud.

If you treat golfers the way you’d like to be treated, you’ll be successful getting autograph at golf tournaments.

COLLECTING SIGNATURES TAKES MANY FORMS

There are obviously thousands of people who are interested in collecting sports autographs. Perhaps the greatest number are those who collect signatures on baseball cards (if you’ve ever attended a baseball card show, you can attest to the popularity and commercialism of the area), but there are also many, many people who collect autographs on items other than cards and who collect sports figures other than baseball players.

Maybe it’s football or boxing, basketball or hockey, tennis or golf, auto racing or fishing, track or bowling that particularly interests you. Or maybe it’s chess or mountaineering or thoroughbred racing or Olympic athletes. Despite the diversity of sports, sports still are a common bond among many collectors. And there are few areas to which sports fans can turn for help and support in their hobbies. One purpose of the V.I.P. ADDRESS BOOK BLOG is to provide a forum for sports collectors to find items and information about the hobby and their specialties which either interests or informs them and to provide a way in which collectors all over the world can locate fellow hobbyists and new friends.

Some people do their collecting in person, others through the mail, some buy from dealers, while many try their hands at winning items at auctions. Some people like the items personalized to them, others do not.

The variety of items which collectors use as the base for their autographs comes in many ingenious ways. These include autographs on pieces of paper (called cuts), on 3×5 cards, on letters, checks, legal documents, photographs (either black/white or color), illustrations, uniforms, caps, team balls, equipment, in books or first editions of books, baseball card items (also available for some other sports), first day covers, cachet covers, cartoons, programs, magazines covers, photos and articles, media guides, newspaper articles and pictures, menus, ticket stubs and sheets of stationery.

We hope to have articles on all sports and all types of collections. We plan to have tips on where to buy items you need for your collection and even where to find unique or expensive items which you might need to round out a collection or to fill in a missing name or two.

We expect that baseball collectors may dominate any sports publicaton.  But if they do, it will be the fault of collectors in other sports, not the baseball aficionados.  After all, there are more than 3 million women bowlers and an estimated 9 million people who play golf.

Despite the diversity, sports still are a common bond among many collectors.  And there are few areas to which spors fans can turn for help and support in their hobbies.  A major purpose of the V.I.P. ADDRESS BOOK BLOG is to provide a forum for sports collectors to find the items and information about the hobby and their particular speciality.  Collectors who do not stand up and voice their opinions or lend their voices will probably find their speciality remaining in anonymity.  If on a weekend 40,000 people turn out to watch a high school football game, 95,000 to see a college game and 92,000 to cheer for their pro favorites, it means there are a lot of football fans running around out there.  And a lot more than one might think collect, or did collect, autographs.  Just imagine how many autographed items are sitting stored away in attics and cellars.

Collectors vary in other ways.  Some are youngsters, some are teenagers, some are adults, some are retirees with more time for their hobbies.   Gender makes no difference and autograph collecting is a worldwide hobby.  There are beginners, advanced collectors and the professional dealers without whose help some items might never become available.  All add to the hobby’s mix and fun.

We hope to have articles and tips for all types of collectors.  So join us as the V.I.P. ADDRESS BLOG offers information and a forum where collectors of like mind can meet, share tips and enjoy one of the finest hobbies.

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The Wiggins Collection boasts more than 20,000 autographed items! Autographed photos, letters and cards from celebrity personalities across the globe are included in this collection, right here at the Wiggins Collection!

FOR SOME, THE JUMP FROM ATHLETICS TO SHOW BUSINESS IS NOT SO DIFFICULT

Having your name in lights is a strong lure for many of us, but some sports greats are also able through their acting (or in some cases non-acting) to enjoy the spotlight after their athletic careers end.

The list of great athletes who became big name stars in the entertainment world is truly impressive.  Collectors with interests in both sports and entertainment have combined the fields to create an interesting specialty.  Among the most sought after older stars are figure skater Sonja Henie, swimmers Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe, football star Johnny Mack Brown and track star Herman Brix, who changed his name to Bruce Bennett during his movie career.

Sonja Henie, who died in 1969, was a dimpled, blonde queen of figure skating from Norway who won three individual Olympic gold medals, in 1928, 1932 and 1936.  She is a member of the Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

She was among the Top Ten actresses in 1937-39.  Her ice-with-music movies included One in a Million, Thin Ice, Happy Landing, Second Fiddle, My Lucky Star, Sun Valley Serenade, Iceland, Wintertime and The Countess of Monte Cristo.

Johnny Weissmuller, who said “no thanks” to offers of a screen test until he was told he could meet Greta Garbo and have lunch with Clark Gable, was voted “the Greatest Swimmer of the half century” in 1950.  He won five Olympic gold medals and a bronze and broke 24 world records.  His Olympic medals were the 100 meter and 400 meter freestyle races, the 4×200 meter relay in 1924 and the 100 meter and 4×200 meter relay in 1928.  He also won a bronze medal in water polo in 1924.  He held world records in all 11 free-style distances starting at age 17 and he was still setting records five years later.  He, of course, is a member of the Swimming Hall of Fame.  He died in 1984.

 

He played Tarzan 12 times before switching to Jungle Jim, which he did both in movies and television.  His movies included Glorifying the American Girl, Tarzan the Ape Man, Tarzan and His Mate, Tarzan Escapes, Stage Door Canteen, Swamp Fire, The Lost Tribe, Pygmy Island, Captive Girl, Jungle Jim, Valley of the Headhunters, Savage Mutiny, Killer Ape, Cannibal Attack, Jungle Man-Eaters and Devil Goddess.

Clarence (Buster) Crabbe won an Olympic gold medal in 1932 at the 400 meters, four years after he had captured a bronze medal in the 1500-meter race.  He also set a world record at 880 yards in 1930 and held 11 American outdoor titles.  His swimming exploits resulted in his election to Swimming’s Hall of Fame.

Crabbe, who died in 1983, appeared in more than 170 movies, all in the heroic mold.  He played space heroes Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, legionnaire CaptainGallant and Tarzan.  His movies included Tarzan the Fearless, Sweetheart of Sigma Chi, The Thundering Herd, Million Dollar Legs, Billy the Kid Trapped, Swamp Fire, Badman’s Country and serials Red Barry, Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe and Pirates of the High Seas.

John Mack Brown starred as a running back at Alabama from 1923 to 1925 and was elected All-American in his senior year when his team was untied and undefeated.  He was the outstanding player in the Rose Bowl as the Crimson Tide beat Washington 20-19 where the handsome athlete was noticed by Hollywood scouts.

His first movie role was The Bugle Call and he appeared with actresses Greta Garbo, Mary Pickford and Joan Crawford.  After 1933, he concentrated on westerns and became one of the screen’s most revered cowboys.  His movies included A Woman of Affairs, Our Dancing Daughters and Billy the Kid.

A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Brown died in 1974.

Herman Brix/Bruce Bennett, who died in 2007 at the age of 100, was a shotput silver medalist at the 1928 Olympics and was 4-time AAU champion.

After his track career, he went into the movies and was another who played Tarzan in the series “New Adventures of Tarzan.”  At first, he used his real name but later changed to Bruce Bennett, a name movie buffs are more apt to know.  His movies included Touch Down, Silk and Saddles, Phantom Submarine, Sahara, Danger Signal, Cheyenne, Dark Passage, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, Undertow, The Second Face, Sudden Fear, Bottom of the Bottle, Flaming Frontier and The Outsider.

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The Wiggins Collection boasts more than 20,000 autographed items! Autographed photos, letters and cards from celebrity personalities across the globe are included in this collection, right here at the Wiggins Collection!

 

PRO FOOTBALL’S HALL OF FAME MEMBERS ARE REAL GENTLEMEN

In person, by mail or on the phone, they give you favorable responses

By Paul Esacove

 Collecting autographs of members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame has always been a pleasure for me.

Although my collection of the Pro Football Hall of Fame members includes numerous 3x5s, autographed photos, team sheets, brochures and Hall of Fame cards, I’ve tended to concentrate on getting the all-time greats to sign Jim Thorpe first day commemorative covers with a football motif. And as a collector of baseball players, I can personally attest that the football players are a lot more accessible and cooperative. Meeting and talking to immortals like OTTO GRAHAM, JIM OTTO, YALE LARY, PAUL WARFIELD and DICK (NIGHT TRAIN) LANE can be a real thrill.

I remember as a kid hopping on my bike and pedaling to the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles during the second Pro Bowl in 1952 just to meet Otto Graham. When I missed him, I left a note. The Cleveland Brown great, who had starred at Northwestern, responded by sending a signed team sheet which included future Hall of Famers like Lennie Ford, Bill Dudley, Dante Lavelli, Sammy Baugh, Chuck Bednarik and Pete Pihos. A couple years ago, I finally got to meet Graham in Rancho Mirage, California, where I took him and his wife to lunch during a celebrity golf tournament.  We chatted about the team sheet he had sent me, his career and the greats he had played with and against.

When I learned that Yale Lary, the defensive back from Texas A&M who played 11 years with the Detroit Lions despite taking off three years for military service, was with the Mid-Cities National Bank in Hurst, Texas. I wrote him asking for autographs on some Thorpe covers.  He responded by signing the covers and also sent his business card and some signed black/white illustrated post cards. A few months later when I went to the Sports Collectors National Convention in Arlington, Texas, I called on Lary. He was most friendly recalling his playing days with Bobby Layne and the hunting trips the two took during the off seasons and after they retired. Layne had a great reputation for hard living, but Lary said the recently deceased quarterback was always a professional on the playing field and never failed to give more than a 100 percent effort.

Another super person is University of Miami and Oakland Raider great Jim Otto, who always signs his name with “00,” the number he wore on his jersey during his 15 years in both the American and National Football Leagues. Otto now is in the liquor business in Fremont, California. I met him at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles at a golf tournament where he talked about his playing career and the bad knees the sport left him with.

When I contacted Paul Warfield at the Cleveland Browns, he not only signed my covers but sent along as an extra a signed 8xl0 color photo. How many stars in other sports send you something extra when you ask for an autograph? Warfield, who played 13 years as a wide receiver for the Browns and Miami Dolphins after playing his college ball at Ohio State, was at the time I wrote him with the Browns’ front office. Now he’s in the public relations business in Cleveland.

Another technique I’ve used successfully in my collecting is to make personal contact with the former players via the telephone. Of course, we cannot always afford to travel to meet them personally, nor are they apt to visit our hometowns. But the phone is an easy way to let them know you’re a real person and one of their fans. Many of the players are listed in their local phone books. I remember calling Dick Lane, the great defensive back for the Rams, Cardinals and Lions who had prepped for the pros with the Fort Ord, California army team.  When he answered, I asked (Night Train)? He responded amiably. I told him I wanted to send some items for him to sign, then we chatted about his work with the Police Athletic League in Detroit. He is very friendly and of cour

Yes, I’ve really enjoyed collecting the pro football greats. There are currently 140 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I’ve got quite a number of their autographs on the Thorpe covers and have different kinds of signed items on all but six members. And I’m still looking. Anyone who can help me obtain autographs of Hugh (Shorty) Ray, Joe Carr, Bill Hewitt, Tim Mara, Dan Reeves or Charles Bidwell Sr. will be my friend for life.

Escove is head of Capitol Sports Wholesalers in Van Nuys, California

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The Wiggins Collection boasts more than 20,000 autographed items! Autographed photos, letters and cards from celebrity personalities across the globe are included in this collection, right here at the Wiggins Collection!

 

 

IS THIS THE RAREST SPORTS AUTOGRAPH?

Whose autograph is the hardes to find in the sports world?  According to many knoledgable collectors and memorabilia dealers, the distinction belongs not to Jim Thorpe, John L. Sullivan, Babe Ruth, Babe Zaharias, Paavo Nurmi, James Naismith, Bobby Jones or other sports giants, but to a relatively unknown baseball player-manager-executive who never played, amanaged or was an executive for a major league club.

RUBE FOSTER – whose John Hancock is considered by some as the rarest sports signature – was the driving force in Negro baseball long before Jackie Robinson earned immortatlity for breaking the color barrier.

It is claimed there are less than a half-dozen authentic signed letters/documents of Foster.

We’ll talk more about Rube Foster in another post.

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The Wiggins Collection boasts more than 20,000 autographed items! Autographed photos, letters and cards from celebrity personalities across the globe are included in this collection, right here
at the Wiggins Collection!

FOSTER AUTOGRAPHS ARE EXPENSIVE AND HARD TO COME BY

rube-foster
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NERS OF FOSTER ITEMS  VARY IN TIME IN HOBBY AND
TYPES OF COLLECTIONS

If it isn’t the rarest sports autograph in existence, it is at least one of the hardest to find and most valuable according to the several collectors who claim to have the genuine article. And it’s so rare that even the Baseball Hall of Fame doesn’t have a copy of the signature in its files. There are reputed to be less than a half-dozen genuine signed items such as letters or teamsheets of Baseball Hall of Famer ANDREW (RUBE) FOSTER, whose contributions to organizing Black baseball led to his election to the shrine at Cooperstown.

Foster’s signatures on letters and a team sheet are known to be in possession of collectors Doug Averitt of Canoga Park, California, Bill Zekus of New Port Richey, Florida, Dan Ginsberg of Chicago, Illinois, Mike Gutierrez of Marina del Rey, California and Barry Halper of Elizabeth, New Jersey.

If you could locate an authentic cut (and authentic is the key word), it would cost an estimated $600; a signed letter would probably be in the $1,000-$1,500 range depending on the condition, content and whether the letter is typed or in longhand.

Averitt is one of the few collectors who has a signature or signed item from all members of the Hall of Fame. While he won’t go so far as to say Foster’s is the rarest autograph, he does place it at the top of the list along with 19th Century first baseman Dan Brouthers and out- fielder Ed Delahanty, who died in 1932 and 1903 respectively. In fact, he says it was equally difficult for him to acquire signatures from 19th Century pitchers Pud Galvin and Addie Joss. Galvin died in 1902 and Joss in 1911.

Averitt’s item is a typed letter dated June 26, 1915 on American Giants Baseball Club stationery. The letter discusses dates for the Giants to play games.

Averitt, a 47-year-old sales manager for Colgate-Palmolive Company, has been collecting for 20 years. One of his three sons also collects baseball autographs but he concentrates on more contemporary players.

Although Averitt started out collecting Hall of Fame signatures, his collection includes some 5,000 signed items, primarily in the baseball field. Non baseball autographs include Jim Thorpe and Jesse Owens.

Despite having rare signatures such as Foster, Brouthers, Delahanty, Galvin and Joss, Averitt is most proud of his handwritten letters from hitting greats Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, an 1877 letter signed by A. G. Spalding, the pitcher-owner-businessman, and a 1925 St. Louis Cardinal contract signed by pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander.

Zekus possesses a team sheet signed by an entire Negro league team including Foster. He acquired it in 1986 for cash and other items and says he would not part with it unless he could get a better Foster item such as a signed photo or letter.

Like Averitt, Zekus won’t go so far as saying Foster is the rarest signature and lists a cut by outfielder-infielder-catcher Mike (King) Kelly (who died in 1894), and letters by pitcher Candy Cummings (the man credited with inventing the curve ball and who passed away in 1924), Galvin and Delahanty letters more than the Foster team sheet.  He also places Henry Chadwick (the pioneer baseball writer who died in 1908) in the same class.

Zekus says his children are not too serious in their collecting and tend to concentrate on current stars.  His Hall of Fame collection is kept in a room protected by a burglar alarm.  He would not be surprised if more Foster items become available through relatives and various baseball archives.  And after 65 years, he’s still collecting – and always trying to upgrade his items.

Ginsberg has amassed his complete collection of Hall of Fame signatures in only seven years.  His Foster item, which he values at around $1,000, is a short note which he acquired in 1984 and is securely tucked away in a safety deposit box.  Ginsberg feels there may be a few more Foster items out there and believes they are most apt to come from Foster’s former teammates.  Foster and King Kelly were the two hardest signatures for him to acquire.

Gutierrez, a latecomer to the collecting field since he got into the hobby in 1985, says he would never sell or trade his typed letter “because it is the item most major collectors need to complete their collection.”  The typed letter on American Giants stationary is also dated 1915 and bears a clear bold Foster signature. Gutierrez says he keeps his letter in “a safety deposit box in an album with acid free material around it.”  Though he brought out the letter during the interview for this article, he declined to allow a reproduction.  He pointed out the recent rash of forgeries which have entered the baseball Hall of Fame market and said he didn’t want to provide a sample of the signature to the people who might be circulating bogus items.

Halper is considered by many to be the country’s leading baseball memorabilia collector and his collection includes autographs of all Hall of Famers.  Halper has autograph items which include signed photographs, letters and more than 3,000 autographed balls.  Non-autograph items include a million baseball cards, 900 players’ uniforms, tropies, a baseball pinball machine, grandstand seats, hand-operated peep show, games, press pins, gloves, bats, masks, photographs, posters and statues.

Are these collectors satisfied with their collections?  Hardly.  Averitt is looking for signed photos of Cy Young, Nap Lajoie and Honus Wagner.  Zekus is actively seeking signed photos and letters of Buck Ewing, Jack Chesbro, Henry Chadwick and other older deceased Hall of Famers.  Ginsberg would like to find signed items of the 19th Century slugger Pete Browning (who died in 1905) and pitcher Tony Mullane (who is extremely rare even though he didn’t pass away until 1944).  He would also like to find something signed by William Hulbert, the second National League president.  Gutierrez is looking for items signed by Hulbert and also is interested in autographed items of 19th Century managers.  Halper?  Well his baseball memorabilia collection is so wide ranging it’s hard to pin down specific items.  If you have something you think is extremely rare or unusual, you might contect him.  If he doesn’t already have it, he’ll probably want it.

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A WORD OF CAUTION

 

The excitement of pursuing extremely rare autographs – such as Rube Foster’s – can be fraught with danger. Not only are there the usual problems unless one obtains an autograph in person – but lately a number of forgeries have arisen – particularly for deceased Baseball Hall of Famers – in the East.

If, in the unlikely event, you run across or are offered an autograph of Rube Foster or some other extremely rare signature, be particularly wary. To safe guard your investement, you might want to take the following steps:

  • Do not buy from a collector or a dealer who will not give you an unqualified lifetime guarantee to refund your full purchase price should you want to return the item.
  • Ask the collector/dealer for details of the item’s provenance such as where he/she got the item and from whom. If that doesn’t satisfy you, check with that party as to where they got the item. If they won’t tell you or can’t, maybe you should back off.
  • Send a copy of the item for review to an experienced collector who has a comparable signature and ask the Baseball Hall of Fame to send you a copy of the person’s signature or handwriting if they have one.

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The Wiggins Collection boasts more than 20,000 autographed items! Autographed photos, letters and cards from celebrity personalities across the globe are included in this collection, right here
at the Wiggins Collection!

WHO IS RUBE FOSTER – 1879 – 1930?

The founder of organized Negro Baseball, Andrew (Rube) Foster was born in Calvert, Texas.  At first he was an outstanding pitcher in Texas and Michigan.  He joined the Cuban X Giants in late 1902 and became their top pitcher.  A year later, when his Cuban team beat the Philadelphia Giants for the Negro championships, he pitched 4 of their 5 victories.  In 1904, Foster joined the Philadelphia team and pitched them to the championship over his former team by winning 2 games in the 3-game series.  In 1907 he joined the Chicago Leland Giants, where he remained for three seasons.  In 1910, he became manager with a team record of 123-6.

Foster and John M. Schorling organized the Chicago American Giants in 1911, which was considered the best Negro team in the Midwest.  Foster played occasionally until 1915 enjoying the lifestyle of his team which took its long trips in a private railroad car.

Foster began campaigning for a Negro league in 1919 and the National Negro League was formed in February of 1920.  His idea was to have a single league with two circuits but a rival league started up in 1923.  But through Foster’s strong leadership, his league was stronger than its Eastern rival.  Foster remained president and secretary of the National Negro League until late 1926 when he was committed to a mental institution in Kankakee, Illinois, where he died four years later.  The NNL folded two years after his death.

Foster was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981 in the special category to honor Negro baseball pioneers whose careers preceded the admission of Black athletes to the major leagues.

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The Wiggins Collection boasts more than 20,000 autographed items! Autographed photos, letters and cards from celebrity personalities across the globe are included in this collection, right here
at the Wiggins Collection!