I’ll go first, because I asked the question. Besides several distant presidents and the likes of Michelangelo, Thomas Edison and Ben Franklin, I am thinking of the more recent past. I doubt if I could ever afford a Shakespeare signature, which is said to be the most rare of any kind. And Jesus never signed anything, to the best of our knowledge. No, I would have to settle for someone else. I’m an artist and gravitate toward certain painters. Over the years, of collecting fine art, I’ve managed to obtain signed works of everyone from Picasso and Marc Chagall to Leroy Neiman and Peter Max, my most recent. But, let’s be more objective. Who is admirable and why would one want their signature or autograph?
We have the right to envy other famous people for what they have accomplished and who they were. We desire a part of them and a signature is something quite personal. If it happens to be on a photo, album, t-shirt, or other specific document, then all the better. It brings us closer to them in a way that allows a cosmic connection, while providing a degree of satisfaction. Which brings me back to the main question.
Some former presidents come to mind. I loved Kennedy until that fateful day in Dallas. Many TV stars were my heroes, like Rod Serling for his writing and anyone on Star Trek, but they were just actors. I loved the Beatles and Billy Joel, for their amazing writing and music. I think highly of any inventor and other creative individuals. In the business world, there is Steve Jobs of Apple, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and Warren Buffet, to name a few movers and shakers that have altered the corporate landscape.
We have our share of prolific writers like Stephen King, Tom Clancy, and Dean Koontz. Yet there are so many to worthy to choose from, where do you begin? Neil Armstrong who was the first to walk on the moon or perhaps Prince Charles, the future King of England? On a personal level, my wife treasures a book signed by Eleanor Roosevelt. I have a personal letter from Salvador’s Dali’s secretary while he was staying in New York and a signed photo. I also have a photo of Robert Redford taken at an event I attended. But I have someone else in mind on the top of my “most admired” list. He was someone that changed America and arguably, the world. His vision, creativity, and passion was to affect children and families for decades to come. It began with a mouse featured in a movie named Steamboat Willy in 1928 and the rest is history.
Walt Disney made animated movies and redesigned the American theme park. Today there is barely a man, woman, or child on this planet that hasn’t seen part of his legacy. Whether it’s an image of Mickey Mouse, one of the many Disney-Lands, toys, pictures, or TV shows, his stamp is everywhere. I sought out something special of his that could not be faked or duplicated. Today, I own a check he signed in 1963 out of his Anaheim bank account while he was building Disney World. It was authenticated by Phil Sears, a noted collector and verifier of Disney memorabilia. It makes me smile every time I look at it, just to remember the joy that Walt brought, and still brings, to millions.
I may buy a few other autographs of other influential people, but none will be as special. So, was it worth the expensive and effort? I’ll say yes for myself without any regrets. Walt passed away in December of 1966 at the relatively young age of 65. That check is and was part of his legacy because it helped fund his many projects. But enough about my collection.
Who would you love to connect with via a signature or autograph? Who is a hero or heroine to you? What part of their legacy or successes would you like to share by way of a signature? Even if they passed away, you could probably still obtain one like I did. The Internet is a great resource with dozens of legitimate businesses that specialize in that subject. By the way, if you like my articles and have followed my career, I’d be more than happy to send you my signature, although I wouldn’t count on it going up in value any time soon.