The Road to Star Wars Celebration 2015
After seeing the list of guests scheduled to attend “Star Wars Celebration Anaheim”, I made up my mind that I had to go.
Like many Star Wars autograph collectors, I’ve been working on cast signed items for quite a while. Assembling these pieces is often a never ending task because there’s a seemingly endless amount of cast members you can add to them. It can quickly get out of hand. Some collectors will add anyone who had any affiliation with Star Wars to their posters. (Sound engineers, puppeteers, Stormtroopers, ewoks, background actors etc.) I really find that to be excessive and it clutters and even cheapens the item in my opinion. If you have Harrison Ford and George Lucas on your poster, why clutter it with people who had very minimal envolvement in the film like an extra who stood in the background wearing an alien costume? My goal was to just have the principle characters signatures, as well as any “known” important cast members.
The remaining few cast members that I needed to finish off my posters were all attending Celebration: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Ian McDiarmid (The Emperor), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) & Kenny Baker (R2-D2). Since Kenny Baker makes so few appearances in the US and is in poor health, it was very important to get him on these items. When I saw him on the list, I knew that this may be the only opportunity to ever get his autograph without having to fly to London. After this one weekend, ALL of my Star Wars projects would be completed, never needing any additional signatures. For that reason, attending was a must.
Living on the east coast means that I would have to fly out to Anaheim if I wanted to attend Celebration. That presented a huge problem because I wouldn’t be able to fit all of my items in a “Carry on”. Checking in my luggage wasn’t an option at all considering the high value of these items and the years it took to put them together. I surely wasn’t going to let them leave my sight. What to do? Take a train? Drive all the way across the country? Take a boat? Haha. I decided to make a road trip out of it. In the end, that proved to be a great decision.
I decided to purchase a van just for the road trip. My brother wanted to go with me on the voyage so we loaded up the van and off we went. The drive out to Cali was something I’ll never forget. Crossing the Mississippi river for the first time. Stopping in all kinds of small towns and scenic destinations along the way. I visited quite a few amazing places. Most notably the Grand Canyon & Las Vegas. Getting to Vegas was a great feeling because we were only a few hours from Anaheim, our final destination. Being upgraded to a suite at the Belaggio was an awesome bonus as well.
After nearly 3,000 miles, over a dozen states, and countless gallons of gasoline, we finally arrived in Anaheim. We made it! The scene at Celebration is really something. Its easily five times bigger than any comic con I’ve seen and it’s all Star Wars. I walked through the convention halls in awe of the sheer magnitude of the whole thing. It’s really ridiculous. I made my way to the Autograph Hall and wanted to get down to business right away. When I picked up my pre-paid autograph tickets, they informed me that Kenny Baker wasn’t there. Kenny Baker, the reason I had driven across the country, wasn’t there. WTF. “What do you mean Kenny Baker isn’t here?” I asked the lady at the ticket counter. “He’s not here today.” she said “He wasn’t able to make it.” I was devastated and I’m sure she saw the look of despair on my face. But the she smiled. “Don’t worry, he’ll be here tomorrow.” Why she didn’t say that up front, I don’t know. This fucking lady.
It was finally autograph time. Getting the autographs wasn’t really an enjoyable experience though. It’s more work than fun. Waiting in crazy long lines in a muggy convention hall isn’t my idea of a good time. The result made it well worth the aggravation though. As you could imagine, the cast members aren’t very personable after spending hours meeting hundreds of fans. It has to be exausting. I don’t really mind though, I’d rather it be more business like than have them act like they’re interested in meeting me.
After getting Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels, and Ian McDiarmid on all the items I needed, there was only one more name, Luke Skywalker. Mark Hamill was easily my best experience from the Autograph hall. His handlers were adamant that he would “Only sign his name. No additional inscriptions.” But when I spoke to Hamill about how I drove crosscountry to attend Celebration and that he was the last one I needed on the posters to complete them, he said “I’ll write whatever you want me to write, just let me know.” That was awesome to hear and I definitely took him up on his offer. I got him to add a number of great quotes to the items as well as his character name, “Luke”. One of the coolest quotes that Hamill gave me was on a Return of the Jedi poster, “I am a Jedi, like my father before me.”
All together the trip was legendary. I got to meet up with some of my west coast friends which was great, and I managed to complete all of my cast signed posters & photos. It was really an awesome experience that I would recommend to anyone. Putting together these cast signed items nowadays is getting to be incredibly costly. The autograph prices are going through the roof and travel cost can really add up. If you have the patience and the means to do it though, it is still possible. The main cast members are all still alive and making appearances. My one piece of advice to anyone considering starting a cast item is this. Don’t hesitate. You’ll regret not doing it.
Piece Of History Collectibles
A Piece of History Collectibles has been an established name in the autograph industry since 2004. We specialize in personally obtaining autographs from the biggest names in entertainment.
I used to attend a ton of Phillies games every year and I'd watch the players come over and sign autographs before the game. One day I decided to give it a shot and I went down and had a few players sign a hat. After that I was on a mission to get the whole team on the hat. Collecting turned into a full on hobby to help pay for my Phillies tickets. I could go and get players to sign whatever I could, then sell my doubles to cover ticket costs. This was great because I got to meet all of my favorite players, I had autographs to give friends and family which make great gifts, and I got to attend Phillies games for free!
I collected Baseball players autographs for about 2 more years until I ended up trying to meet some of my favorite musicians. I had no idea at the time what path this would lead me down. My hobby turned into a full time business. As I traveled collecting autographs from celebrities of all kinds, I met a lot of other collectors. Once I was in this network of collectors, I constantly got tips of where celebs are appearing which kept me very busy. The mission is to acquire the best names on the best items. I take pride in providing awesome authentic autographs direct from the biggest names in the entertainment world. That's what a Piece of History Collectibles is all about.
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