Saturday, March 28, 2015

Peter Bondra Signed Puck and Photo

I recently had the opportunity to get some signatures from a player I've always liked, and felt never really got his due, Peter Bondra, when a fellow SportsCollectors.Net user was taking orders for a public signing in his area. The price was pretty good, and got my hands on a puck and an 8x10 photo.

I always liked Bondra's ability to score goals, despite being on some  very average Capitals teams. Maybe that's the reason his name doesn't really get thrown around as one of the best in his era, but his career goal total of 503 is astounding. He doesn't do a whole lot of public signings, though, so once I had the opportunity to get his autograph, I just had to take advantage of that, and now have two great items to add to my collection. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ferguson Jenkins Autographed Baseball

I was able to add another Hall-of-Famer autographed baseball to my collection, just simply by chance, with this ball signed by former Chicago Cubs pitcher Ferguson Jenkins.

When I was in Arizona earlier this month, my cousin and I were going to a Spring Training game. There are plenty of opportunities in the Phoenix area, but being the big cubs fan that I am, of course that was the team I wanted to see. As we were entering Sloan Park, there were signs pointing to a covered area that said "Fergie Jenkins Signing" and pointing us in that direction. Apparently, there was a fundraising event at the field, and I had no idea that it was coming, despite looking in to such opportunities before leaving for my vacation.

In addition to Jenkins, there was Rollie Fingers, Bill Buckner, Gary Mathews, Bob Dernier, Pete LaCock, and Meadowlark Lemon. Unfortunately, it was towards the end of my trip, so my finances were a bit strapped, but I still was able to pick up a ball from a Chicago Cubs Hall-of-Famer.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Autographs From the 2015 Rock & Jock Expo

Most of my area in-person autograph opportunities take place in the Minneapolis area, which is a four-hour drive away from Moorhead, MN, so the ones I attend in person usually are pretty special. Now sometimes, it can be a challenge to convince my wife that such a trip is necessary, especially when you consider the time & money it takes to make such a trip, as well as figuring out whether to take the kids along or find a sitter for the day. Luckily, she was wanting to make a trip to the outlet stores that are in that area, and when she asked me if there were any signings coming up soon that I wanted to go to while she shopped, well, that took care of things.

This specific event was the third annual Rock and Jock Expo, held in New Hope, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis. It is put together by FanHQ and combines music and sports for an afternoon of fundraising for local causes. The big deal is the many autograph guests that come each year, but there is also live music, as well as records and sports memorabilia for sale.

The big draw for the event was the "Minnesota North Stars Goalie Reunion." Six former goaltenders were signing autographs, and when you combine all six, could be had for less than 10 bucks a piece, with proceeds benefiting the Minnesota NHL Alumni Association. I came prepared with cards, but once I saw some of the 8x10s they were selling, I had to indulge that side as well. I ended up with each player signing both a photo and a card.

Cesare Maniago

Jon Casey

Don Beaupre

Gilles Meloche

Pete LoPresti

Carl Wetzel

All 6 on cards

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen was also signing autographs at the event. He wasn't charging a fee for his signature, but was requesting donations for his former college teammate Isaac Kolstad, who suffered a serious brain injury when he was assaulted outside of a Mankato, MN bar last May. Kolstad was at the event as well to show his appreciation to his supporters, and he signed 22 limited edition 16x20 prints of him and Thielen. I picked up one of those, as well as an 8x10 of Thielen for my photo collection.

Lastly, Minnesota boxer and current USBA Middleweight Champion Caleb Truax was at the event signing free autographs. He was at the Minnesota Sports Holiday Show that I went to last September, and each time was such a nice, friendly person to everyone who stopped by. He is set to get his big national break when he faces Danny Jacobs April 24 on SpikeTV for the WBA Middleweight Championship.

Lastly, is the one item I picked up that isn't autographed...yet. There were quite a few seat backs from the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome for sale for just $10. It's cheap, and a pretty cool collectible for any Minnesota sports fan, but I picked it up with the idea of getting it signed by the many Twins and Vikings who played in the dome. It may take a while, but it's going to look great when it finally gets some ink scribbled all over it.

I always love the many autographed opportunities that are available in the Minnesota area. There are plenty of current and former athletes, and they all seem nice, and happy to be interacting with the fans. Due to the fact that I live 4 hours away from the cities, I can't make them all, but the ones I am able to get to certainly make it well worth it.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Charlie Coyle Autographed Puck

AME Sports has really been bringing in the Minnesota Wild players as autograph guests this season. They didn't do too many last year, but they seemed to have found a formula that works.Their most recent signer was Wild center Charlie Coyle, who signed a puck that I sent in.

They mostly have been bringing in some of the "role players" for the team, and while they don't have the name value of Parise or Suter, they are still important parts of the team, and more importantly, quite affordable

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Bunch of Penguins Autographs (and One Pirate)

A couple of weeks ago, I was trolling around Ebay and noticed a few Penguins autographs that caught my eye. Of course, any time you see autographs on Ebay, you have to be very careful about who you buy from. A quick investigation showed that the seller of a few items I was looking at is Total Sports Enterprises, which is an autographed memorabilia company that specializes in Pittsburgh-area sports stars, and hosts tons of private signings, most recently with Evgeni Malkin, Pascal Dupuis, and Phil Bourque. 

I went a little crazy, picking up a total of 11 Penguins and 1 Pirate. Despite a large number of items, though, I really didn't spend too much, relatively speaking. Each of these items were posted as an auction with a $.99 starting bid, and none of them got too far out of hand. In total, I paid just $91.37 + $15 shipping, for all of the following items:

James Neal (Jersey, 3 pucks, 8x10)

Deryk Engelland (Puck, 8x10)

Jayson Megna (Puck, 8x10)

Joe Vitale (8x10)

Simon Despres (8x10)

John Candelaria (8x10)

Each of these are pretty amazing items in their own right, but considering the deal I made, I'd say I did pretty well. Also, I did notice that TSE has not posted any more Ebay auctions since these ended. I guess they felt they got pretty burned by the low winning bids, but I was certainly happy to take advantage of some great prices while I could.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Autographs from 3/5/2015 Arizona Coyotes Morning Skate

My family and I made a trip to Chandler, AZ for a week-long vacation, and being the sports fan that I am, I wanted to be sure to hit up some hockey and baseball games. I ended up attending two Arizona Coyotes games and one Chicago Cubs Spring Training game, which made for a fun week. Now, being not only a sports fan, but an autograph collector, I wanted to really look into any potential autograph opportunities, whether they be in-person, private signings, or even before or after games.

Through the message board on, I was able to get in touch with two fellow collectors who gave me some really good tips on getting signatures from Arizona Coyotes players. Both told me where the team always did their game day morning skate, as well as where and when the players would arrive at the facility.

Now, the Coyotes are not my local team, so my ability to recognize the players is limited, especially seeing them in regular street clothes. I brought a few cards with me, but my main plan was simply to bring a bunch of Coyotes autograph-style pucks, and get those signed, which would allow me to not be so worried about picking out player-specific items. Still, I brought some cards with me, just in case I was able to recognize a player quickly enough.

It turned out to be an incredibly successful outing, as I ended up with 11 pucks and 3 cards. Every single player that I approached on their way in was willing to sign, too. None of them were particularly conversational, but then again, it was about 9:00 a.m., and they're essentially on their way to work. Still, I didn't get one single rude response, and no refusals. I was told by both guys that I exchanged messages with on that the team overall was great to get autographs from, and they certainly were all of that.

Here's a quick look at what I got signed:

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Joe Vitale

Mark Arcobello

Klas Dahlbeck

Brandon Gormley

Kyle Chipchura

Craig Cunningham

Michael Stone

B.J. Crombeen

Louis Domingue

Tye McGinn

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ryan Suter TTM Return

It's a good thing I'm a Minnesota Wild fan, as the team seems to be one of the best for through-the-mail autographs. Of course, not everyone signs as much as some of the others do, but some of the bigger names, like defenseman Ryan Suter, are great at returning TTM requests.

I mailed four cards for Suter to signs, and he returned them to me in just 21 days. It may seem like more than enough time for an in-state TTM request, but considering that Suter is one of the team's most well-known stars, it came back to me very quick. Suter signed each card in a red Sharpie, which doesn't always work with certain cards, but considering red is one of the Wild's colors, it actually looks really nice.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Bret Boone Autographed 8x10

I got a great opportunity for a really nice autograph when my friend, Darrell, who runs Halkman Sports hosted a private autograph signing with Bret Boone.

Boone is a 4-time Gold Glove winner, a three-time All-Star, and a two-time Silver Slugger, so when the opportunity came to get a signed item of his, I knew I needed to get something. The photo I got signed of Boone is perfect, as it spotlights him fielding, and looks amazing with the scoreboard in the background.