Posts Tagged ‘Lyndol’

Got autographs??…Of Course!!

September 25, 2008



It seems most anyone who follows a sport or collects anything related to sports, a question that will eventually surface is “Do you have any autographs?”  or some related variation.  That leads me to the subject of this blog….Why do we get autographs, and why are we impressed by them?


Autographs mean different things to different people.  Some don’t care if the autograph is obtained via purchase, trade, or inheritance…they are just as proud as if they had been there in person to get the autograph.  Yet others give little value to an autograph unless they got it personally.  Then there is the subject of whose autograph it is, some only like the superstars, heroes, and legends, while others will even make an attempt at getting the autograph of the bullpen catcher of a minor league baseball team, who doesn’t have a roster spot on the team, much less a card, jersey, or bat to sign.


The seemingly overwhelming reason most people consider when getting autographs is the value that the signature brings on the open market.  The perception of anyone hanging outside a ballpark, arena, dugout, clubhouse, hotel lobby, trying to get an autograph is that they are doing it for the money they can get by selling that autograph.  The collectibles industry has done a fabulous job of feeding that perception by flooding the market with high priced autographed items, either by inserts in baseball card sets, or as auctions, or even selling them on TV via the Home Shopping Network. 


Speaking only for myself, I like to get autographs just simply for the experience of meeting a player, or celebrity in person if even for the two or three seconds it takes for them to sign their name.  It is always interesting to me to see the personality of a person when they are asked for their autograph.  Some make it a point to strike up a short conversation like “ How are you doing?”, or to look the person making the request directly in the eyes, almost as if to determine the intent in the request, while others barely even look up, or stop walking, or even stop a conversation with someone else to sign their name effortlessly on whatever is handed to them.


My very first autograph experience was when I was 5 years old, living in Ft. Worth, and a budding Dallas Cowboy fan.  My dad took me to a local car dealership where Roger Staubach was making an appearance, and signing autographs.  The highlight of my day was not only getting to see my favorite cowboy player in person, but him handing me his autographed picture while I was riding on my father’s shoulders.  I was so proud of that autograph that as soon as I got home…I put my name on it, so everyone would know it belonged to me.  Needless to say…the value of that autograph on the secondary market may have dropped considerably with the addition of my 5 year old signature, but the autograph attached to the memory is priceless to me. 


Over the years, I have obtained a wide variety of autographs from a variety of people, from indy car racer Johnny Rutherford, to football players, baseball players, even former tonight show band director Doc Severinson.  Not every autograph has a sentimental memory attached, but for most I can at least tell the story of how I got them. 


Feel free to share with us what motivates you to get autographs, or some of your most memorable autograph experiences.


The Road less traveled

March 11, 2008

As Kris and I venture into this wide wonderful world of trading cards, we are discovering that the road is bumpy along the way, and that the rewards we receive sometimes come with a little learning experience attached. Nothing that prevents us from continuing on our journey or makes us want to search for seemingly smoother avenues, but we are still challenged by the ever present learning curve, and having to learn how to navigate our way around it.

When we first embarked on this journey, we had the excitement and anticipation of a long awaited dream coming true, as the seemingly unreachable was now coming into reach. Nothing has discouraged this excitement, however we are becoming aware that there were some unanticipated detours along the way…(kind of like getting tube socks at Christmas, something useful, but not exactly what you were looking forward to).

Some of the things that we have discovered (without giving away any of our trade secrets!) are that card manufacturers are very proud of their product, and some require seemingly unattainable goals for an upstart company such as ourselves to even begin to peddle their product. Other companies make it so hard to even get in touch with them that we can’t even find out what their requirements are to become a “valued” dealer…so, as a result, we have had to temporarily seek other sources for our inventory and merchandise…which has been successful, but not as fulfilling or happening at quite the speed or volume that we had initially anticipated.

Another pitfall we have encountered is the shipping of products when they are purchased online. Although Shakespeare penned that “To be or not to be” was the question…I think the more appropriate question for us has been “To insure or not insure”. With the online community being such a large and diverse one, it would make sense to insure our shipments so that all parties have the security of knowing that they are receiving what they are buying. The dilemma then becomes the cost! In order to be competitive in the market we have tried to keep our shipping costs as minimal as possible, as we all hate the experience of purchasing a $1 card and paying $5 shipping and handling that other websites seem to offer. However…the insurance game is one of gambling, as the old saying goes, insurance is a waste of money….until you need it! (not sure if that is an old saying…but I’ve heard it before, and it is true). After much debate, consideration, and research, we inevitably will be adjusting our shipping rates in order to not only protect the customer, but protect our business as well.

Last, but certainly not least…one of the biggest challenges that we have come up against is the amount of time it takes to not only get a business up off the ground, but to grow it, nurture it, feed it, and then hopefully begin to reap some fruit from it. We are all allotted the same amount of time in a day, and the same number of days in a week, but it is a challenge to coordinate the time to fit in all the tasks that we have on a daily basis, much less the additional tasks that are necessary for Aardvark Trading Co. to stay current, and ever growing.

The adventure that Kris and I have started, is still exciting, thrilling, and most important of all….FUN! We are learning, adapting, and changing direction as necessary as each challenge comes our way, but we are committed to making Aardvark Trading Co. a trustworthy source for quality cards, fair trades, and a fun place for fellow collectors to share stories, experiences, and want lists.

Thanks for coming along for the ride


It could be, It might be….

February 8, 2008

I can’t help feel the anticipation rising as pitchers and catchers report in less than a week. Such an event sparks a ray of hope and excitement in baseball fans everywhere, as it isn’t just the Cub’s fans that have been saying “just wait til next year”. Every year as the “magic number” dwindles to zero and eliminates your favorite team from playoff contention, or out of the playoffs, all eyes turn to the hope of what can happen in the offseason.

All winter long I scour the transaction pages to see where the minor league players that I had watch play (either for the Isotopes, or against them) end up, either via trade, free agency, retirement, taking their chances in leagues overseas, etc. Then the arbitration deadline, trades, and free agent signings at the major league level, all start to rebuild a hope as I watch the “new” team evolve…what is the new rotation, who will be the expected starters, and what positions, what is the batting order going to be, etc.

Ultimately, the comparisons begin…first within the divisions, did my team make enough changes to beat the “rival” team, is our team improved in the areas that they needed the most improvement, how does the team match up with the playoff teams, and for that matter how do they compare to the World Champs? Then, as the prognosticators from the websites, and magazines, and sportscasts start to make predictions, you are convinced that they haven’t been paying attention to “YOUR” team, and the improvements that have been made, unless your team is picked to win the whole thing (which I’ve never had that experience).

In just a few days….the first warmup toss will be made to usher in Spring Training…shortly thereafter the position players (as if pitcher and catcher aren’t positions) will arrive, and the spring training games begin. As “meaningless” as the scores, and records are during spring training you can’t help but get excited to see the surprising rookie, the player coming back from injury and being as “good as new”, the improvements of the “young kids” from previous years, and the homeruns produced by the 3,4 & 5 hitters.

All building up to the ultimate day of excitement…OPENING DAY….March 25, 2008 has the first game of the season..the only day of the season that all the teams have the same record…every team is just as good as the World Champs, and nobody is better than your team….although for many teams, reality comes into the room quite quickly, and the hope begins to diminish fast, but at least during this time of year, it is fun to hope, dream, and anticipate…that maybe…just maybe…