There’s a certain thrill in a famous signature. It’s an excitement that can come from the experience of actually meeting the signer, from what the signature means in the memory, or in considering the financial worth of the investment.
Hero worship has been around since The Garden, and will always be a part of everyone’s psyche. As children we define our heroes, and as adults we codify those definitions maybe not as openly, but certainly unconsciously in our fantasies.
In The Garden it may have God or the other divine creature that was stirring up trouble. Over the years kings and warriors were heroes that generated worship. As literature began shaping culture fictional giant slayers and legendary world travelers were the recipients of beatification. In today’s world there are more honorary gods than there are people to worship at their feet. They are created by games, by performances, by tall tail tellers and producers, and by personal admiration.
People want any kind of attachment to the heroes they find in their cultures; be they from sports, entertainment, fantasy, or the political worlds. Autographs seem to be a significant way to make that attachment, particularly if one meets the beatified hero and gets at least a moment with them to remember. Autographs are our proof of that glorious moment.
If one cannot meet the hero personally then a fan can capture the memory in a picture of a moment; lifting a trophy on the field of battle, or of making The Play that brought the hero worship to a new level. Obtaining a signed piece of the hero’s life, like a photograph, shirt or a boot, is an invaluable and iconic moment for the fan, and can be worthy of almost any price to obtain.
The Financial Reason
Less innocent is the financial side of autograph collecting. The signed memorabilia industry is a global, world-wide phenomenon. It pays to buy a signed jersey or picture and sell to the hero worshiper.
It pays so much that not only honest collectors get into the business, but charlatans as well. That’s why the Authenticity Industry was created, to make sure real signatures were being sold to collectors and hero worshipers. Authenticators can warn collectors of risky purchases, and also educate them on how they themselves can avoid the risks.
The Thrill is Passed on
One of the great things about collecting autographs is the thrill of passing our thrill on to others. Few financially motivated collectors don’t have some pleasure in the uniqueness of what they collect. There are hero worshippers and remembers among them too.
So on every level stories are told of how the autograph was obtained, of how the thrill of the moment captured, or even the how the joy of a great buy was accomplished.
This is what autograph collecting is really all about; the thrill.