On this week’s TTMCast, hobby legend Les Wolff joined me to talk autographs and how to protect your collection.
Wolff began collecting autographs in 1968 when he visited the New York Jets’ training camp and obtained an autograph from Joe Nemeth and some of the other Jets’ players. Since obtaining his first signature, he has been hooked. Wolff made autograph collecting a science learning the best places to track down his heroes to obtain those treasured signatures. Over the years he developed friendships with legends like boxing great Mohamed Ali and baseball’s Mickey Mantle.
One autograph has eluded him however.
“Michael Jordan has been the one I’ve been unable to get. I’ve had two chances to get him, but he didn’t sign for me both times. He was very friendly but just wouldn’t sign,” Wolff said during our interview.
Recently he has become involved in helping people preserve their collection and hosts in person and online seminars of the subject. He discussed steps collectors need to take to protect their collection and shared some horror stories about collectors who cost themselves thousands of dollars by failing to take the necessary precautions to preserve their autograph collection.
You can listen to my interview with Les Wolff on this week’s TTMCast podcast at ttmcast.com.
Next week’s guest will be Senior Vintage Sports Card Grader at CSG, Andy Broome.
This week’s TTMCast give away
Just another plug for our Kids Collectors Pack giveaway courtesy of Collx.app. The winner receives a pack of toploaders, a pack of Topps baseball cards, a card stand and a t-shirt. You can listen to Sports Collectors Club (my weekly nationally syndicated radio show heard Sunday’s from 7 AM – 8 AM on the SportsMap Radio Network). Listen to this week’s show to learn how to enter to win. The prize pack will be shipped directly to the young collector who enters.
Recent TTM autograph successes
Baseball Hall of Famer Marchichal has been a great TTMer over the years. He has a nice clean signature and has a knack for choosing the ideal place to sign on a card. I sent this 1961 Topps rookie card to his home address with a $10 requested donation. It took approximately two months to return.
Oliva was recently elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. I thought this one was a lost cause as it had been more than six months since I sent it out but Tony O personalized and signed this 1973 Topps card for me. I did not send a donation. I believe he requires a $10 donation if you want to receive your items signed without the personalization. I’d suggest requesting no personalization if you don’t want it.
Some days you go to the mailbox, and it holds a real surprise. I sent this Topps card to Johnny Damon about 3 years ago and it finally found its way back home signed last month. Damon, who starred with several teams including the Royals, A’s, Red Sox and Yankees also included an index card highlighting his Johnny Damon Foundation and the relaunch of a new hydration beverage A-Game. Johnny Damon is on Instagram at @Johnny Damon and is a good follow.
Turner played sixteen years from 1964-79 in professional football as a kicker with the New York Jets and Denver Broncos. He was a member of the Super Bowl winning Jets and played in the 1977 Super Bowl with the Broncos.
Jim is a great TTMer and usually a quick turnaround. He signed this 1973 Topps card and I got it back in about two weeks. No donation was required.
One of the things I truly love about TTM is finding a great looking vintage card and sending out to get signed. Topps did not have right to use NFL logos from 1970-81 so most of the football cards from that era were either are of head shots or posed shot from training camp.
Jim Files was a first-round pick by the NY Giants out of Oklahoma in the 1970 draft and played middle linebacker with them for four seasons from 1970-73. He signed his 1973 card (he’s number 58 in this beautiful card) and returned it in less than 2 weeks. No donation was required.
Stock appeared in over 300 games as a relief pitcher with the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Athletics from 1959-67. After he retired, he served as a coach with Kansas City and Oakland A’s, Milwaukee Brewers and Seattle Mariners winning two World Series Championships with the A’s in 1973 and ‘74. He signed three cards for me including this 1960 Topps. A fun part of TTM is learning who signs from posts on the internet and then going out and picking up their cards on eBay, your local card store or at card show. I had purchased three of Wes Stock’s cards from the $1 bin at a local card show, sent them out the next day and a few weeks later they were returned signed and added to my collection. No donation was required.
Here’s a few more people who are currently signing for free. I have had success with all of them in the past:
- Wilbur Wood – Former 20 -game winner with the White Sox
- Richie Zisk – 1977 and 1978 All Star Outfielder
- Rick Mirer – Notre Dame and Seattle Seahawks quarterback
- Jim Lonborg – 1967 Cy Young winner
- Bert Campaneris – 6-time AL All Star shortstop
TTM tip of the week
I always use self-sealing envelopes for my return self-addressed stamped envelopes. It may seem like a small matter but making it a little easier for the athlete goes along way in making your chance for success just that much greater.
Please note: Most athlete’s mailing addresses are available on several TTM related web sites including Sports Card Forum and Sports Collectors.net. I will not give out any mailing addresses.
Have a TTM success story you would like to share with me? Please, send it me at [email protected]. If I use it in my column, I’ll send you a prize.