Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Autographs - Why do people get them?


  • Please log in to reply
31 replies to this topic

#1 theblackangus

theblackangus
  • Member

  • 135 posts
  • Joined: March 13

Posted 19 May 2022 - 11:45

I know this sounds strange... but I have never understood why people get autographs.

Why do you get them?

 

I mean I can see if you had a drivers helmet or gloves getting them autographed.

But I am talking about random stuff.


Edited by theblackangus, 19 May 2022 - 11:46.


Advertisement

#2 FirstnameLastname

FirstnameLastname
  • Member

  • 4,845 posts
  • Joined: April 18

Posted 19 May 2022 - 11:50

Some folk get excited about meeting famous people. I personally don’t - but each to their own.

Is it not the old fashioned version of todays ‘selfie’?

#3 Collombin

Collombin
  • Member

  • 6,614 posts
  • Joined: March 05

Posted 19 May 2022 - 11:54

To sell them on ebay probably.

I'm with you, I have never felt the need to get an autograph - or even more bizarrely to pay extra for a signed item even though you personally were not there when the thing was signed!

I am pleased at having got to shake hands with many of my heroes though, that means more to me than any illegible scribble.

#4 PayasYouRace

PayasYouRace
  • RC Forum Host

  • 35,585 posts
  • Joined: January 10

Posted 19 May 2022 - 11:56

To have a little memento of having met someone. More relevant before everyone carried a digital photography studio in the pocket at all times, but it can be a nice thing to have.

I’ve got a few treasured autographs, mainly outside motorsport.

Most of my motorsport autographs are from organised signings, and I value them less than the quick chat it afforded me with the drivers.

But hey, good thing we have the hipsters around to look down on anything with a bit of sentiment.

#5 absinthedude

absinthedude
  • Member

  • 4,671 posts
  • Joined: June 18

Posted 19 May 2022 - 12:03

It's a memento of meeting someone you feel is important to you. Nowadays a selfie might be just as popular. 

 

When I was much younger, I occasionally hung around with a couple of the better known pro British BMX Freestylers. Come 1985 there was a big 5 day televised BMX competition taking in various age classes of racing and a freestyle competition. I got to meet many of the stars of the day, some of whom had flown over from the USA where the scene was much more professional than the UK at the time. Only a couple posed for photos with me but I filled an autograph book with names that went down in old school BMX legend. And incidentally, I shot a lot of photos of the races and freestyling which three decades later caused a stir in the old school BMX world. 

 

I still have that little book with the autographs in it, and it's a lovely reminder of five amazing days as a kid meeting guys and the odd girl who were my heroes.

 

Generally I prefer taking photos of these people but especially in the days before smart phones that wasn't always easy.  Plus photos are dependent on circumstances. I am not going to hide outside a star's home. But I like photographing them doing whatever it is they do for a living, or personal shots with them. The only other autograph I really enjoy is Stirling Moss, who I met at a motor show around the time his book "Fangio - A Pirelli Album" was published. It's signed and dedicated.

 

There are a handful of others, records and CDs signed by the musicians where I actually know them personally. I grew up around some A-listers so the mere fact that someone is famous isn't a draw to me. But if they've inspired me, if I admire them...that's different. I want a memento. And an autograph is a good one sometimes. 



#6 Zoe

Zoe
  • Member

  • 6,593 posts
  • Joined: July 99

Posted 19 May 2022 - 12:10

When I was a kid, my father took me to an event at his local car dealer. A guy dressed in local "Trachten" style was sitting there, enjoying his beer and signing pictures of himself. Somehow I thought it would be a good idea to get such a photo; without having the slightest idea who that was (we did not have a TV at the time!).

Years later, when I had already thrown away this picture, I learned who that was: Gustl Bayrhammer, a well known actor who actually lived just two miles from my parents at the time!



#7 absinthedude

absinthedude
  • Member

  • 4,671 posts
  • Joined: June 18

Posted 19 May 2022 - 12:20

I mildly enjoy having some books that are signed by the authors such as Nigel Mansell and Eddie Jordan, but I never met them....they were offers along the lines of "order before publication and you'll get a signed copy". I was going to buy them anyway and there was no additional cost....so why not get a signed copy? 

 

the real draw is a memento of having met someone. A unique memory of a treasured moment in time. Meeting Stirling Moss was great, he even called me "old boy" though I was 19 at the time I think. Meeting Tom Baker was another who certainly did not disappoint. Other "celebs" I have bumped into have turned out to be surprisingly lovely people while a few are....less lovely. then there are the occasions when you meet a celebrity and get chatting, not actually knowing they are a celebrity. 

 

Though I do have a signed portrait of Sir Winston Churchill, given to my parents by someone who worked with him during WWII....the portraits were handed out as a "thank you" for service a few years later....I enjoy being able to view it but it has no personal connection to me because I never met Churchill and only vaguely remember the neighbour who gave my parents the item. 



#8 theblackangus

theblackangus
  • Member

  • 135 posts
  • Joined: March 13

Posted 19 May 2022 - 12:31

To have a little memento of having met someone. More relevant before everyone carried a digital photography studio in the pocket at all times, but it can be a nice thing to have.

I’ve got a few treasured autographs, mainly outside motorsport.

Most of my motorsport autographs are from organised signings, and I value them less than the quick chat it afforded me with the drivers.

But hey, good thing we have the hipsters around to look down on anything with a bit of sentiment.

 

 

It was an honest question... I personally have no interest in selfies, autographs, etc.

So I was curious to hear why people liked to get them.

 

Its sad you had to take offense and make it personal, when it was simple curiosity which I made pretty clear.

Im far from a hipster, and Im not sure why you would stereo type hipsters with non-sentimentality.


Edited by theblackangus, 19 May 2022 - 12:35.


#9 theblackangus

theblackangus
  • Member

  • 135 posts
  • Joined: March 13

Posted 19 May 2022 - 12:33

It's a memento of meeting someone you feel is important to you. Nowadays a selfie might be just as popular. 

 

When I was much younger, I occasionally hung around with a couple of the better known pro British BMX Freestylers. Come 1985 there was a big 5 day televised BMX competition taking in various age classes of racing and a freestyle competition. I got to meet many of the stars of the day, some of whom had flown over from the USA where the scene was much more professional than the UK at the time. Only a couple posed for photos with me but I filled an autograph book with names that went down in old school BMX legend. And incidentally, I shot a lot of photos of the races and freestyling which three decades later caused a stir in the old school BMX world. 

 

I still have that little book with the autographs in it, and it's a lovely reminder of five amazing days as a kid meeting guys and the odd girl who were my heroes.

 

Generally I prefer taking photos of these people but especially in the days before smart phones that wasn't always easy.  Plus photos are dependent on circumstances. I am not going to hide outside a star's home. But I like photographing them doing whatever it is they do for a living, or personal shots with them. The only other autograph I really enjoy is Stirling Moss, who I met at a motor show around the time his book "Fangio - A Pirelli Album" was published. It's signed and dedicated.

 

There are a handful of others, records and CDs signed by the musicians where I actually know them personally. I grew up around some A-listers so the mere fact that someone is famous isn't a draw to me. But if they've inspired me, if I admire them...that's different. I want a memento. And an autograph is a good one sometimes. 

 

This is a funny example. When I was a kid I hung around with alot of pro skateboarders. Alot of people made a big deal about them, to me they were just people I skated with and had a good time.

I remember this one time I was skating with a couple guys, and then all of a sudden I noticed everyone else had stopped and there were like 30 people just sitting around watching the 3 of us skate. It was wierd.

I looked over at one of the pro guys and ask them - did you want me to stop? They were like - Hell no!

I have this same feeling with admiration.... while I personally sessioned with some of the best skaters I never really admired them. We got on well, their skill was impressive, but that never caused admiration in me.

Im not really sure I can say I admire anyone. Respect yes, admire no.


Edited by theblackangus, 19 May 2022 - 12:46.


#10 NewMrMe

NewMrMe
  • Member

  • 630 posts
  • Joined: August 12

Posted 19 May 2022 - 12:45

I think it can be a nice memory of when you met somebody.

 

I have a signed copy of Murray Walker's autobiography. I found out he was signing copies in a town about 15 miles away at a time when I had a few days off work, so I decided to go. When I heard he had passed away I looked at his signature in the book. It is a nice momento of the time I met him.



#11 absinthedude

absinthedude
  • Member

  • 4,671 posts
  • Joined: June 18

Posted 19 May 2022 - 13:00

When I was a kid, I did go to school with the offspring of some very famous people. . And because I saw them quite regularly, they were "just X's dad"...just people. And to be honest, when someone like that is attending a school parents' evening they just want to meet their kids' teachers and discuss how they are doing....not have a scene made. the one single time it turned out to be significant was that one of said offspring sort of followed in dad's footsteps and for a time was a notable actor herself....and thanks to my dad I have a complete audio recording and a set of photos of her stage debut alongside yours truly in a school play. 

 

Meeting someone you already admire for their work, is a bit different. Someone you've seen on TV or the big screen, or read their books or listened to their records. It may be a one-off and it's nice to have a memento. 

 

When I was on the periphery of the UK BMX scene in the mid 80s (and I really was only on the periphery), I certainly knew a couple of the better known pro's....and it never occurred to me to ask for a memento because they were friends. Meeting their contemporaries at the BMX competition was different because these were people I'd only seen on TV or in magazines before and might never get to see again. 



#12 theblackangus

theblackangus
  • Member

  • 135 posts
  • Joined: March 13

Posted 19 May 2022 - 13:27

When I was a kid, I did go to school with the offspring of some very famous people. . And because I saw them quite regularly, they were "just X's dad"...just people. And to be honest, when someone like that is attending a school parents' evening they just want to meet their kids' teachers and discuss how they are doing....not have a scene made. the one single time it turned out to be significant was that one of said offspring sort of followed in dad's footsteps and for a time was a notable actor herself....and thanks to my dad I have a complete audio recording and a set of photos of her stage debut alongside yours truly in a school play. 

 

Meeting someone you already admire for their work, is a bit different. Someone you've seen on TV or the big screen, or read their books or listened to their records. It may be a one-off and it's nice to have a memento. 

 

When I was on the periphery of the UK BMX scene in the mid 80s (and I really was only on the periphery), I certainly knew a couple of the better known pro's....and it never occurred to me to ask for a memento because they were friends. Meeting their contemporaries at the BMX competition was different because these were people I'd only seen on TV or in magazines before and might never get to see again. 

This last part isnt how I every felt, I met pros I saw on videos etc, and it was always just hey good to meet ya lets skate!

Part of why I asked this question was because it seems like I have different thoughts than most on meeting people that are well known.

 

Its neat to see the responses here, and the diversity of how people interact.



#13 IrvTheSwerve

IrvTheSwerve
  • Member

  • 2,122 posts
  • Joined: July 15

Posted 19 May 2022 - 13:42

They are nice little momentos.

 

Something I don't understand is people having their skin (arms, hands, chests, etc.) autographed, lol.



#14 ThadGreen

ThadGreen
  • Member

  • 2,438 posts
  • Joined: July 12

Posted 19 May 2022 - 15:46

I know this sounds strange... but I have never understood why people get autographs.

Why do you get them?

 

I mean I can see if you had a drivers helmet or gloves getting them autographed.

But I am talking about random stuff.

 

I guess that you need to define "random stuff".

 

When my son was a kid we would attend a lot, and I mean a lot, of baseball games and spring training. We would always take a few balls with us and would usually be successful in getting player autographs. We now have a box of about 200 signed balls which reminds me of time spent with my son as he grew up. I have noted the time and place of each autograph and can easily look at the ball and say "Yes that was when we were at (insert ballpark here) and (insert player name here) was kind enough to autograph this ball for us".  



#15 rjtart

rjtart
  • Member

  • 202 posts
  • Joined: February 09

Posted 19 May 2022 - 17:05

I've never been interested in collecting autographs, but when I saw Dan Gurney at a vintage race I just couldn't pass it up. To move the line along quickly we were told "autographs only, no messages". Never the less when my turn came, we had a friendly exchange, and he wrote a personalized message on my program.
Right now I couldn't even tell you where that program is, but I know I have it and I'm glad I do.

Edited by rjtart, 19 May 2022 - 17:10.


#16 F1 Mike

F1 Mike
  • Member

  • 1,563 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 19 May 2022 - 18:48

As we get older it becomes more difficult to remember every nice moment you've had along the way and I guess autographs are a way of strengthening those memories when you've met any of your heroes. Never been into autographs myself, but I understand the reasoning behind it. I've been able to meet some of my heroes in the music world and in most cases I forget to even take a photo but often think having a signature would help to strengthen those memories. I still never bother though :lol:

#17 JHSingo

JHSingo
  • Member

  • 8,242 posts
  • Joined: June 13

Posted 19 May 2022 - 19:49

I'm in my late 20s, and still own a large collection of race programmes - mostly from BTCC events - in which many of them have autographs. 

 

Going to these events when I was younger, and getting to meet drivers (even just for a split second) I usually watched race on TV always felt so cool to me. I was getting to meet THE Jason Plato and THE Matt Neal. And then getting to show them off at school the next day, to the few people who were interested, was always really nice too. 

 

So on the face of it it might seem silly now when you're older, but never doubt the effect those silly little squiggles can have on making someone a life long motorsport fan - or the happy memories they bring back when looking back at them today. 

 

If I met an F1 driver today, would I get their autograph? I mean, I guess so - it's not every day you get to meet one, and I've always preferred autographs to selfies. Autographs feel more tangible to me, somehow, and again, that probably goes back to the experiences I had when I was younger.


Edited by JHSingo, 19 May 2022 - 19:50.


#18 Sterzo

Sterzo
  • Member

  • 3,095 posts
  • Joined: September 11

Posted 19 May 2022 - 20:51

I know this sounds strange... but I have never understood why people get autographs.

Why do you get them?

Like you, this just passes me by. I know plenty of people who like autographs, and good luck to them, but they do nothing for me. And the felt-pen-at-the-signing-session isn't much like a proper signature anyway.

 

Once had a letter from Louis Chiron, signed in pen, and acquired not one but two from Kate Bush (whose bonkers music I love). Have given them all away.



#19 absinthedude

absinthedude
  • Member

  • 4,671 posts
  • Joined: June 18

Posted 20 May 2022 - 07:29

As we get older it becomes more difficult to remember every nice moment you've had along the way and I guess autographs are a way of strengthening those memories when you've met any of your heroes. Never been into autographs myself, but I understand the reasoning behind it. I've been able to meet some of my heroes in the music world and in most cases I forget to even take a photo but often think having a signature would help to strengthen those memories. I still never bother though :lol:

 

 

The point about growing older and having nice thing to look back on is important.

 

I think I developed a sense for how important this can be *much* younger than most people. I started photographing family and friends as a toddler, and making cassette recordings of events and older relatives telling their life story by the time I was 8. People literally thought me annoying and possibly mad. 

 

Now 40+ years on, those same people are asking if I still have the photos and tapes, because the moments are long gone and in some cases the people are long gone. And they want a tangible reminder. The thing is, five year old me was already thinking "when we are old, we'll want to remember this". 

 

It's similar with autographs. I suppose there's the whole bragging "I met so-and-so" but I think it's more something tangible to remind individuals of a fun day when their paths crossed with someone they admire. 



Advertisement

#20 IrvTheSwerve

IrvTheSwerve
  • Member

  • 2,122 posts
  • Joined: July 15

Posted 20 May 2022 - 07:51

Just out of interest (if it isn't too off topic), what motorsport-related autographs do people have? I only have two - Jackie Stewart and Luca di Montezemolo. 



#21 Collombin

Collombin
  • Member

  • 6,614 posts
  • Joined: March 05

Posted 20 May 2022 - 08:01

Just out of interest (if it isn't too off topic), what motorsport-related autographs do people have? I only have two - Jackie Stewart and Luca di Montezemolo.


Despite my comments above I do have two, Stirling Moss and Bobby Unser, but only because they were there signing things that I wanted to buy anyway (a book and an Indy 1930s track diagram respectively).

#22 WilliamsF1Fan

WilliamsF1Fan
  • Member

  • 1,340 posts
  • Joined: February 15

Posted 20 May 2022 - 10:33

I started getting them when I was young, a local cricket club used to have charity matches with celebrities in attendance.  I would, ahem, sneak in and try to get autographs just because it was fun to meet those people and it was fairly common at the time to do so.  30 years later, it is nice to have those momentos from famous cricketers (I don't even like cricket) and other celebs at those events (randomly Barry Gibb and Gary Lineker).  I have a load of random Barnet FC signatures and a few other minor celebs (Timmy Mallett!) and I did randomly queue up to meet Gordon Ramsay once.  Only motorsport one I have is Lewis Hamilton in a book I won.  

 

I think it's just a bit of fun, really.



#23 Catalina Park

Catalina Park
  • Member

  • 6,606 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 20 May 2022 - 10:37

I have a few things autographed. I got Jack Brabham to sign a couple of his books at a book signing. I have an Australian Grand Prix programme with a couple of autographs, Alan Jones and someone else, it might have been Roberto Moreno. I picked it up in the garage as we were packing up after the race and I didn't know it was autographed till I got home. 

The craziest thing is when I was first asked to autograph things when I was a driver. Kids coming up to get a programme signed was a real buzz. 

As for the whole collectable autographed merchandise thing, I hate that stuff. There was a guy on Ebay selling fake autographed stuff for years. His worst was an autographed copy of Mike Hawthorn's "Champion Year" which was published posthumously which is a bit of a giveaway, but old mate claimed it was real.



#24 CoolBreeze

CoolBreeze
  • Member

  • 2,188 posts
  • Joined: January 12

Posted 20 May 2022 - 10:40

Memento, memories.



#25 Sterzo

Sterzo
  • Member

  • 3,095 posts
  • Joined: September 11

Posted 20 May 2022 - 10:43

I have a load of random Barnet FC signatures...

Those must be fantastically rare and valuable now, as no-one else has ever asked for Barnet autographs.



#26 Collombin

Collombin
  • Member

  • 6,614 posts
  • Joined: March 05

Posted 20 May 2022 - 10:57

His worst was an autographed copy of Mike Hawthorn's "Champion Year" which was published posthumously which is a bit of a giveaway, but old mate claimed it was real.


In fairness a copy of Mike's signature does appear in Champion Year but yeah you can't exactly call that an autograph!

#27 Catalina Park

Catalina Park
  • Member

  • 6,606 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 20 May 2022 - 11:13

In fairness a copy of Mike's signature does appear in Champion Year but yeah you can't exactly call that an autograph!

This one was autographed with a Sharpie on the page with the publishers note. 



#28 TheFish

TheFish
  • Member

  • 3,235 posts
  • Joined: October 14

Posted 20 May 2022 - 11:19

I have a man cave and bought https://www.thefanca...c926b44d5&_ss=r to go on one of the walls in there. I started watching F1 in 94 cheering on Damon and I still have amazing memories of him winning the title in Japan. I have space for a couple more so will see what else becomes available at some point.



#29 Collombin

Collombin
  • Member

  • 6,614 posts
  • Joined: March 05

Posted 20 May 2022 - 11:26

This one was autographed with a Sharpie on the page with the publishers note.


I hereby withdraw my half hearted attempt at a defence.

#30 absinthedude

absinthedude
  • Member

  • 4,671 posts
  • Joined: June 18

Posted 20 May 2022 - 11:38

Just out of interest (if it isn't too off topic), what motorsport-related autographs do people have? I only have two - Jackie Stewart and Luca di Montezemolo. 

 

Stirling Moss (met him in person as detailed above)

 

Nigel Mansell, Eddie Jordan. Both from pre-orders for signed books. Which is nice, but they're not dedicated and I haven't met either gent. 

 

Non-motorsport related ones of most note are probably Winston Churchill (mentioned above)....Duncan Goodhue who I met at a swimming event and actually beat him in a race (I think he let me)....Henry Cooper who was doing the holiday camp rounds in the 80s. Had a nice chat with him about when he nearly beat Muhammad Ali (" 'course he was called Cassius Clay in them days") and got his autograph and a photo with him. Steve Hackett (guitarist) a 100% lovely gentleman I met when he attended a gig and he bought me a beer. From the BMX world, to my memory I have Harry Leary, Mike Miranda, Geth Shooter, Sarah-Jane Nicholls, Anthony Butt, Andy Ruffell, Neil Ruffell (RIP), Ron Wilkerson, Brian Blyther. Tried to get Eddie Fiola's but he was an arsehole to all the fans. I am sure there were others. The guys who I was friends with, I didn't bother getting their autographs. Doctor Who actors Tom Baker and Colin Baker, the former at a book signing event and the latter at a small sci-fi event. Tom was so funny, I told him my story of how my first TV memory was a particularly scary cliffhanger of one of his episodes in 1975 and he put his hand on my shoulder, asking "are you alright now?". Colin, I'd been conversing electronically on and off for a decade before we met and he actually remembered so we had a nice chat too. 

 

The "celebrities" who I knew as a kid and the handful I still know now, I don't ask for autographs. The memories are too strong to forget. It's the one-off encounters that I like to get a photo and if convenient an autograph. 



#31 JimmyClark

JimmyClark
  • Member

  • 2,148 posts
  • Joined: July 20

Posted 20 May 2022 - 12:11

Just out of interest (if it isn't too off topic), what motorsport-related autographs do people have? I only have two - Jackie Stewart and Luca di Montezemolo.


I don't really collect autographs, but two of my most valued possessions are a helmet visor from Spa '95 signed by Michael Schumacher and one from Monza '95 by Johnny Herbert, both in my name too. Definitely they are in the "grab if the house is burning down" list.

#32 FastReader

FastReader
  • Member

  • 92 posts
  • Joined: May 21

Posted 20 May 2022 - 16:11

I have a large motorsport library and twenty years ago started getting books autographed. It began with Chris Nixon's Sportscar Heaven which I bought from Chaters at the Goodwood Revival when it was first published in 2002 and they had Chris and Roy Salvadori signing copies on their stand. I quickly realised that the two Goodwood events presented a perfect opportunity to get the book signed by the other drivers involved in the story with the result that my copy was eventually also signed by Stirling Moss, Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Tony Brooks, Carroll Shelby and Jack Brabham. Things kind of took off from there so that I would always take a few books to Goodwood or elsewhere to obtain relevant autographs. It has also meant that I have attended and enjoyed several events that I might not otherwise have been at such as the BRDC Evening with Vanwall (with Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks) at Bonhams Auctioneers in 2007 (not being a BRDC member I sent a polite request to the club to ask if tickets were available and received an equally polite reply to the effect that, provided I was suitably dressed in suit and tie I would be very welcome and my name would be added to the list of guests!) or Brooklands' An Evening With David Hobbs in 2018 (which was tremendously entertaining). I've had a great time pursuing this hobby alongside my love of motor racing to the extent that I now have a large collection of signed books from which I derive a great deal of pleasure whilst finding it quite difficult to explain that pleasure. It's an emotional thing I suppose.

 

Still, I can't help but be annoyed at the dealers who turn up at Goodwood and then get a driver to sign 10 or 20 photographs with the obvious intention of putting them up for sale on Ebay or the contemptible dealers in fake autographed books as mentioned earlier with the example of Mike Hawthorn's "autograph" in Champion Year published after his death. I know of at least one who sells clearly fraudulently signed books on Ebay and yet there is no easy way of reporting this behaviour. I guess it is just a case of Caveat Emptor, or go and get the autograph yourself whenever possible.

 

Having said all of that, I think my hobby may be drawing to a close now as sadly, many of my heroes are now passing away and I'm not particularly interested in the modern fashion amongst contemporary racing personalities for passing off a quick scribble as an autograph. As I overheard one disappointed youngster say at Goodwood a few years ago, "I could've written that".