Lil’ Things Ep. 1: Autographs

Your friend, Josh, has won the lucky draw which was conducted by the shopping mall you both visited last month. He has won two tickets to Hollywood and guess what he has invited you to go along with him. Who doesn’t want to go to Hollywood right? So, you accept his invitation and start packing your bags. But hey, he has asked- no he has ordered you to not tell anyone about the trip. Atleast until you get back from the trip. He has invited you ahead of his girlfriend, so you have to follow his orders. So, no Facebook statuses allowed or any other stuff on social media.

You reach Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport. Excited huh? To make things more exciting you see Leonardo DiCaprio sitting there in the coffee shop. Yup, this year’s Oscar Award Winner, Leonardo DiCaprio. Stop staring at him with your mouths open! Josh, who is a die hard fan of DiCaprio is already talking to him before you know. Both of you take pictures and selfies with him. You open your messenger bag and look for a paper or something to get his autograph. Alas! There’s no piece of white paper in your bag. You remove your leather jacket and turn your back. A big white T-shirt for DiCaprio to sign on.

What a way to start your trip huh? Oscar Award Winning Actor, Leonardo DiCaprio’s autograph on your T-shirt.

We have spent hours studying about the famous inventions made by scientists. Thomas Alva Edison’s light bulb, Wright Brothers’ Aeroplane, Newton’s Laws, Einstein’s Laws, etc. But there are so many Lil Things in our world that we don’t think about. I would like to talk about 26 such Lil Things. From A-Z. Hope it will be interesting.

Today, we will be talking about AUTOGRAPHS.

Let's Talk About Autographs

Lil’ Things Ep. 1: Autographs

I don’t know if ‘Autograph’ is actually a thing to begin with but I thought it would be interesting to know a little about it.

What is an Autograph? An Autograph is a signature, especially that of a celebrity written as a memento for an admirer. Signature is the Author’s name in his own handwriting.

The word ‘Autograph, like many other English words, is derived from Greek. Autos means Self and Graph means Write.

The oldest Autograph found is a Sumerian clay tablet from about 3100 BC which contains the name of the scribe. No proper evidences have been received for ancient autographs.

An Autograph has the power to increase the value of an item. For example, a simple Basketball of 150$. If this same Basketball has the autograph of Lebron James, then it’s value will go high, very high. Due to the same reason people like to collect autographs. The hobby of collecting autographs is known as Philography. Even though technologies like mobile camera and other things have come into existence, autographs have not lost its value and prestige. Many celebrities still love to give autographs. On the other hand, there are also celebrities who don’t prefer giving autographs due to safety reasons and also other reasons. Michael Jordan is one such celebrity who did not give any autographs in public. 80’s Actor, Steve Martin, gave business cards to those who asked for his autograph. The business cards read, “This certifies that you have had a personal encounter with me and that you found me warm, polite, intelligent and funny.”

People, those who surround movie stars during premieres might be crazy fans right? No, most of them are just Autograph traders who make a living out of this. They collect autographs and trade them for a profit. Due to the same reason, many celebrities often charged people for their autographs.

Player signatures on basketballs and footballs are sometimes actually signed by coaches and ball boys. These signatures are called clubhouse signatures.
Politicians might have to write thousands of letters and documents every day. To sign each and everyone of them might be tiring. So, they started using machines that automatically signed (since 1950’s). These machines which automatically signed signatures were known as Autopens. Former American President, John F Kennedy, has written a book(The Robot That Helped To Make A President) detailing the use of Autopens. Professional Autograph Traders can easily distinguish real autographs from duplicate autographs (even autopen signatures). If you ever plan to buy an autograph, please be careful when buying from a unknown sellers. Amateur collectors will find it impossible to differentiate an original autograph from a forged one and therefore professionals should be consulted. It has been estimated that about 80% of the autographed items of famous American sports stars that are sold through the internet are fakes.

Celebrities, who got tired of signing materials, would often let their secretaries or relatives sign their signatures. Some personalities used devices like rubber stamps and steel hand stamps to sign their documents.

If you think the job of autograph traders is easy, you are wrong. They have many problems when dealing with autographs. Finding out the authencity of an autograph is an Herculean task by itself. Autograph auctions are where these traders can make maximum profit. They may get autographs for cheap or so etimes they maybe able to sell autographs for huge amounts. In autograph-auction catalogues many abbreviations are used to describe the type of letter or document that is being auctioned (Some of them are AD, ADS, AL, AMS, etc).

Certain clubs were developed for both the collectors and dealers to obtain knowledge about the hobby of collecting autographs. These clubs are known as Autograph Clubs. Universal Autograph Collectors Club (UACC) founded in 1965 is the largest autograph club in the world. It has members from 20 countries. The UACC educates the collectors in all aspects of the hobby through its website.

George Washington's 'Acts Of Congress' Is One Of The Most Valuable Pieces Of Literature.

George Washington’s ‘Acts Of Congress’

Now, let’s talk about the most valuable autograph in the world. George Washington’s ‘Acts Of Congress’ is said to be the most valuable autograph in the world. George Washington’s personal copy of ‘Acts Of Congress’ is one of the most valuable literate pieces in the world. The first page of the back contains George Washington’s signature. In 2012, this piece was bought by Ann Bookout in am auction for 9.8 Million Dollars. This book is currently in George Washington’s Library. But, if one day you become the possessor of this piece, well you know what to do with it.

That’s it. That’s all you need to know about Autographs. I never knew autographs had such a big background and history. Sources – Wikipedia and . Lil Things will be back next Wednesday.


One thought on “Lil’ Things Ep. 1: Autographs

  1. Pingback: Lil’ Things Ep. 2: Band-Aids | ZakWriter

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