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Why do some celebs refuse to sign autographs with blue markers?Submitted by: Chris Michaels
Taken from Michael Kasmar's upcoming Book On Autographs:
Blue has always been the preference on photos because even in dark areas it tends to POP a little more but over the years celebrities have been shying away from using blue markers. Part of it was from a rumor that I think dates back to Beyonce who said there were people using blue signatures to reproduce them on other items but more recently says people are “bootleggin” when they use blue and it’s just become a symbol of what all eBay sellers used so several celebrities treat it like a virus. Some celebrities who are definitely anti-blue include Red Hot Chili Peppers Flea, Aerosmith Steven Tyler, Slash’s security calls your items eBay if he sees blue, Joan Baez, Jake Gyllenhall, and the list really goes on so always have black as a backup and don’t even try these names with blue.
Do you ever butter up celebs with gifts and compliments?Submitted by: Chris Michaels
Michael Jackson actually owned one of our custom airbrushed guitars. While Justin Steffman, Michael Betlinski, and Ryan Turgeon were in Gary, IN to obtain autographs from him while he was receiving a Key To The City, he saw the airbrushed guitars and asked how to get one. He ended up with one of our custom airbrushed guitars as a gift and we ended up with a carload of autographs. It's always in everyone's best interest to offer gifts/compliments.
Have you ever asked a celebrity to sign their full name? What happened?Submitted by: Chris Michaels
I had Alice Cooper add Vincent Fournier which is his real name many years ago. He had no problem doing it.
What tips would you offer for someone who wants to get started collecting in person autographs?Submitted by: Chris Michaels
Read my upcoming book, absorbe EVERYTHING you can from RACC and Autograph Magazine Live, and always try to be innovative and constantly changing. Even if it's not, treat this like a job and be professional and educate yourself to be an expert.
Do you keep any of the autographs you obtain for yourself?Submitted by: Chris Michaels
It's funny, I often times have items that I'll bring home to hang on my walls. I'll put an "I don't wanna sell it" price on the item and more times than not, the item sells before I hang it up.
How do you avoid having a celebrity personalize the autographs?Submitted by: Chris Michaels
Taken from Michael Kasmar's upcoming Book On Autographs:
One thing you’ll be asked a lot even at conventions will be “Who do you want me to make this out to”. My immediate response is “No thank you, you don’t have to personalize it”. Sometimes they ask again and I politely say "No, that's Ok" and often times they surrender and simply sign.
Many times people will insist on personalizing and even in some cases at conventions. Adam West was this way which I found astonishing. Why do you insist on personalizing when you’re selling me your autograph? It frustrated me but he got away with it for years. One trick people would use is to say their name was Lone, with the purpose of having the personalization look like Love. None of my items have that inscription but I found that one pretty innovative.
What is the biggest changes in the autograph scene since you first started?Submitted by: David Durocher
Short answer: Selfies and cellphones
Taken from Michael Kasmar's upcoming book on Autographs:
Last summer some of the media jumped on a statement made by Taylor Swift in an interview she did with The Wall Street Journal. Many of those media outlets went with the story line based on her comments that autographs were becoming obsolete. That instead of people getting/wanting autographs they were opting for getting the photo with the celebrity often referred to as a “Selfie”. For those of you who have been hiding in a cave and are unaware a selfie is a photo taken by oneself with their phone to be shared on social media.
Her comment in the WSJ was “There are a few things I have witnessed becoming obsolete in the past few years, the first being autographs,” she then went on to add “I haven’t been asked for an autograph since the invention of the iPhone with a front-facing camera. The only memento ‘kids these days’ want is a selfie.” I can tell you that is a flat out lie. I know countless occasions where Taylor was asked for an autograph and simply ignored everyone asking or even in one on one circumstances denied the request. This I know from my own personal experience with her as well. When comparing her to an average pop/country star of today she falls in the bottom percent as far as being nice and willing to sign autographs these days which is kind of against what the media puts her out to be. I assure you when there’s a Top 10 Best/Worst Autograph Signers she’ll fall on the latter side.
Another interesting fact many don’t know is that Taylor Swift has people that work for her monitor the famous eBay auction and remove items with her reported autograph on them. Something’s changed because back in 2011 she spent countless hours signing at a Country Music Festival for everyone so the question to ask is what has changed and what could have prompted her to say such false comments. It doesn’t take long for one to do some research and find a potential reason. Taylor Swift has gotten into the autograph selling business and carries items with her autograph on it on her website with price tags upwards of $500! I know from a common sense standpoint if less people have her autograph to sell and even those who do have them removed from eBay, where else will the fans go to buy? To date it’s been really in poor taste for celebrities to sell their own autographs. In many cases the classier celebrities that do end up donating the proceeds to charity. This doesn’t appear to be the case with Miss Swift.
They say money corrupts. I know it takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to break into the music industry and to be honest I haven’t taken time to research all of Taylor’s past of what she’s done to get to where she’s at. I’ll leave that for another day. I respect everyone who puts in their dues no matter what they do in life but I have great disdain for those who once get to the top decide it’s time to take everyone for all they can. I’m not saying that’s what is happening here, I’m just putting out the facts and letting you the readers decide. I do know Taylor has done some charitable deeds but I question the sincerity when there are videos of your ‘good deeds’ recorded to be promoted on the net.
The fact is the autograph market is blowing up but in a good way. Just last year I could get a Paul McCartney autograph wholesale for around $300, now just 6 months later I can’t touch one for under $600 and you’re more likely paying $1000+. If you bought a Rolling Stones autographed guitar 5 years ago you’d be paying around $1000 and today they are selling upwards of $10,000. New auction sites, Facebook groups like RACC, and online forums are exploding as the internet advances the presence of the great autograph hobby/industry. Sales have consistently gone up and overall demand and values of all autographs continue to be on the rise. Yes, there is no denying that the selfie popularity is a great fad but autograph collecting has been around for generations and given the opportunity to meet Bob Dylan I wonder how many of you would prefer the photo with him over a great autographed photo to display, especially when considering the value of his autograph is at $2000+.
Michael Kasmar is owner of www.AutographPros.com
What is the most autographs you've ever obtained from one person during a single occasion?Submitted by: Justin Steffman
I don't know but I know I once obtained 24 autographed guitars from various individuals within 24 hours. The names included AC/DC, Roger Waters, Paul Simon, Miley Cyrus, Sia, and others.
Who was your first autograph?Submitted by: Nick Maas
My very first autograph I obtained in-person was from Rico Petrocelli. I was attending the Special Olympics being held in Massachusetts and he was there in support as well. My sister pointed out who he was and suggested I go get his autograph. I still remember the nervous feelings that shot through my body walking up to him trying to think of what to say but I fought through the fear and ended up with a program from the event signed by him and a story that now lasts a lifetime. I also was immediately hooked on that feeling of that accomplishment. Something about the thrill of the hunt and overcoming obstacles to achieve the goal.
Michael Kasmar is RACCTrusted.com Seller #101 and owner of www.AutographPros.com
What was your greatest autograph success?Submitted by: Adam Halloran
Of all the people I’ve been fortunate enough to meet I have to say meeting Eric Clapton tops the list. The first time I met him was in NYC at the Hall of Fame Inductions ceremony held at the Waldorf Astoria. I had been there trying to secure as many autographs from music legends and of course he fit that caliber and then some. I assumed the best of the best would exit through the rear and true to my theory here comes Eric with no entourage or security to speak of. He saw there were a few of us waiting so he delayed in the corridor just inside the glass doors. The excitement and anticipation was incredible and we were of course motioning him to come out and sign but he was either ignoring us or preoccupied. When he did finally decide to come out moments later, he wasn’t interested in signing autographs however he did something that was very memorable. He asked if I’d like to hold his Hall of Fame Induction Award. Of course I did, truly an honor and something not many can’t say they’ve done for anyone’s award, let alone a guitar God such as this. I was never big into getting photos with anyone as I was always trying to push towards securing an autograph but I certainly regret not getting the photo with him as I held the award. Ultimately I walked away empty handed for autographs but that changed for me later during the Rainforest Fundraising Concert held at Carnegie Hall.
This is one of those events that the end results have overshadowed the entire event so much so that it’s all I can remember. I mean, I remember that it was a very well attended concert that was a fundraiser benefit for the Rainforest. It was at Carnegie Hall and that venue literally had only 2 entrances, one of which was the front and very public so most of the guests arrived in the rear. There were maybe a dozen of us for the entire day and we’d occasionally run to the front and I do believe we got an autograph or two out front but did pretty well in the rear. Again, I couldn’t tell you one name of anyone we got that day and there’s a very good reason for that.
While the show was going on we figured that because there were so many guests that some would leave early. We were right. We were stationed up towards the back barricade when a limo pulls up. Of course we never know who it’s going to be until they are within visuals of exiting the venue but all of a sudden our mouths all dropped, here comes the guitar God himself, Eric Clapton. Clearly we weren’t going to get a better opportunity than this, there’s only a handful of us now, we’re behind a barricade, and it’s a charitable evening but alas he walked right into his car. We approached the window and proceeded to ask if he’d sign and the car began to move as he started to drive away.
The funny thing was, the car was never driving very fast. This is NYC and everyone is in a hurry to get everywhere so it was rather odd that with 6 people standing on the side of the car following that the car was going so slow and just about a block down the road the car pulls over to the side of the curb. We of course fear the worst which was that his driver was going to threaten to call the police but to our surprise Eric’s window rolls down and immediately starts signing. What’s even more insane was he starts signing stacks of our guitar pickguards. The first person to get signatures was flipping them and he kept going. I thought I hit gold when B.B. King set up the couch in the hotel lobby but here was one of the toughest signers out there literally signing stacks for us. Everyone got multiples and it was all pickguards. A couple of us also followed on foot several blocks to his hotel and got a few more there as well. It’s one of those days you live for as a grapher. If we’d have asked anyone that week how Eric Clapton was with signing guitars or pickguards everyone would have told you good luck with that but on this day he was the nicest you could ever imagine. I want to say we ended up with over 20 pickguards signed, all with almost identical signatures, of course only his first name only as he’d not signed full name signatures in many years but certainly not complaining. This encounter was an experience I’ve never topped.
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