To cities, they’re just part of a massive archive documenting the legal affairs of past and present residents. To baseball historians and collectors, those signatures are buried treasure.
No matter how famous, no one gets out of signing a legal document. Courthouses and their storage vaults are full of decades-old papers citizens have signed to make something official.
Amid the ordinary Toms and Harrys andJanes and Joans are some signatures that some collectors would love to own.
Even though they’re not attached to an old photo, a scorecard or baseball card, the scarcity and demand for Hall of Fame autographs–and those of other famous people–have archivists across the country on notice. Cities and counties holding old legal documents are coming to the realization that some are worth preserving.
In St. Louis, one recent call led to an old Rube Waddell divorce paper, signed by the eccentric Hall of Famer a few years before his untimely death at age 37. But that isn’t the only famous name they’ve found.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says they’re not for sale, but those rare autographs have created work for archivists, who realize what they have in storage needs a little TLC.