In an effort to come up with another unique autograph deal, Universal Rarities may have set the table for O.J. Simpson’s big trouble.
The idea to have celebrities sign unusual autographs is not a new concept for Universal Rarities. Earlier this year, SportsCollectorsDaily.com reported on the company’s acquisition and subsequent sale of baseballs signed by Pete Rose with the inscription "I’m Sorry I Shot JFK", a tongue-in-cheek retort to the furor over the discovery of 30 baseballs Rose had earlier signed "I’m Sorry I Bet on Baseball". They also created a buzz in the entertainment world when they sold Anna Nicole-Smith’s diaries earlier this summer.
Company representative Tom Riccio was in Las Vegas last week to see if O.J. Simpson would make a similar deal, this one coinciding with the release of a suddenly popular book. According to Fox News reporter Geraldo Rivera, Riccio would help Simpson get some of his personal items back from two memorabilia dealers in exchange for a special inscription on the newly released book about the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ron Goldman.
The network report stated that according to Riccio, Simpson agreed to autograph 200 copies of the book, "I Did It, Confessions of a Killer" with the inscription, "This book is B.S. None of it is true. Regards, O.J. Simpson."
Originally written by Simpson to explain why he couldn’t have killed his former wife and a friend, the book was re-titled by the Goldman family, which had been awarded the rights. The book is number one on the New York Times Best Seller list.
Simpson would sign the books for Riccio in exchange for Riccio setting up the ‘sting’ where Simpson could retrieve items he believed had been stolen from him by former licensing agent Mike Gilbert. For his part, Gilbert has said he kept some things belonging to Simpson because of an unpaid debt. The items, along with other pieces of baseball memorabilia later recovered by police, were in the possession of Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong. The two dealers were attempting to sell them at the Las Vegas hotel and casino where all of the men had gathered.
The Rose "apology" line later became a staple of the former Cincinnati Reds’ star’s autograph sessions in Las Vegas. He later signed balls for Universal with the inscription "I’m Sorry I Broke up the Beatles", among others. Rose continues to sign for fans during frequent paid autograph sessions at a Vegas shopping mall.