Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Phungo Question: Death of the Autograph?

Will there be an end to the autograph?
The amount of communication we do via the keyboard/keypad medium has increased rapidly over recent years.  With this decreased use of the written word schools are struggling with the value of teaching cursive writing - From what I understand, today when it is taught, cursive writing is not a skill that is really focused upon.
I am not really interested in debating the merits of teach handwriting here - that is for the educators to discuss.  But I would like to discuss the impact on the hobby of collecting signatures.
2008 Topps #54 Victor Martinez - Image Swiped from Baseball Card Database

Let me first note that Mr Martinez's signature is not always printed as on the 2008 Topps card above.  In fact if you want to check on ebay you will find that for the most part his signed cards look pretty good.  But this card does provide a fairly noticeable autograph that is really not a signature as we commonly think of them.

My Questions are: 

- If autographed cards are still considered hits 20 years form now, will half of them be of a hand printed signature?
- If your one per box hit were of a printed "signature" would you be disappointed?
- If your a kid an can barely write your own signature, would you place any value in getting a ball signed by a ballplayer?


Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

I've got no problem with a "printed" signature. The ones that drive me nuts look like the signer just drew a line or two on the paper.

I suspect that our increasingly digital culture will kill off autograph collecting in another generation or so. How do you get an author to sign an e-book? How does a musician sign an MP3? Is that kid who's had a camera phone in his hand since he was old enough to work it even going to ask a celebrity to sign something, or is he going to want a picture instead?

(Lack of) Penmanship is just a side effect of the changing world.

Hackenbush said...

Provacative question. I guess some day we'll have some sort of techy signature like a fingerprint or eye scan. I would think it would increase the value of old signatures. Not sure about how it will go with new ballplayers. I agree with Paul that I'd rather have a hand "printed" signature than what passes for a signature these days. The point is that it's a direct connection to the player. I find some of the signatures just plain insulting to fans. If you're too busy, don't sign and certainly don't take money for garbage.

night owl said...

I did a post some time ago on the decline in legible signatures. It apparently doesn't dissuade autograph collectors, though, who pay huge sums of money for an autograph that bears no resemblance to the player's name.

It's one of the reasons (though a minor one) why I can't get into autograph collecting.

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions