Autograph Seekers Chase White House Seekers

Maybe you’ve got George Mitterwald.  But do you have Mitt Romney?  Maybe you’ve got Joe Garagiola.  But do you have Newt Gingrich?  The chase is on for autographs from the Republican candidates for president.  What once may have been a quirky little segment of collecting is now recognized–by the profit seeking autograph hounds who chase them, by the collectors and ‘fans’ who buy them and by the candidates themselves.

People have been collecting autographed baseballs for decades, but now you don’t have to have actually played baseball to have people chasing you down to sign one.

At each stop along the campaign trail, autograph seekers stake out locations where candidates like Romney, Gingrich, Rick Perry and others are speaking.  They come armed with bags full of baseballs, hoping to snare signatures they can either keep, or in the case of many, sell them on eBay.  What’s an autographed Romney baseball worth?  $125-150 is the going rate (check them out here).  For some, it’s an extension of their autograph baseball hobby.  For others, money is the motivation for playing political stalker.

The candidates and their staffs are well aware there’s a market and aren’t crazy about the whold thing–but they also don’t want to stiff the profit seekers just in case they blow off a kid or a real collector and lose points with the public for being a jerk.

It’s quite a dance and the Boston Globe got right in the middle of it for this interesting piece.