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Check your drivers license to see who you are ...

I ended up on a cool website the other day for Hourglass Antiques & Collectibles (, which along with zillions of antiques, had about a dozen original pen-and-ink and charcoal drawings of legendary sports figures, all of them autographed.

Now, just by my nature I tend to be more impressed with nice art than I am with autographs, but this had both, plus one other bit of whimsy that I kind of liked. More on that later.

Several baseball Hall of Famers are included in the mix, including Jimmie Foxx, Pie Traynor (both shown here) and Honus Wagner, among others. There’s much to like about the drawings, not the least of which is the style that was so identifiable to the 1930s when they were produced (and signed).

The catalog description notes that the drawings were done by Arthur Haas, a commercial artist and sports fan living in New York City, who took his drawings to the various games to get them signed in person. And now we get to the part that caught my fancy.

According to the catalog description, “The autograph has not and will not be ‘certified.’ This would require my sending it away so it can be looked over with a loupe, only to be told what I already know – that it is authentic.” The artist is the father of Evelyn Mancino of Hourglass Antigues, who wrote the item description.

Bravo! I am not against third-party authentication and can easily see all that it has brought to the modern marketplace, but I am a really big fan of common sense and can’t help but applaud every time it manages to push its humble little noggin’ up and out of the muck that is 21st century America.

Insisting that something like that be “certified” would be no sillier than my dragging myself out of bed tomorrow morning and requiring two forms of identification – one being preferably a driver’s license – to be certain that I am in fact whom I claim to be.

And in fairness to Hourglass Antiques & Collectibles, the catalog description does note that the buyer will have two weeks to have the autograph certified, if they so desire.

And don’t spank me about this tiny bit of whimsy. I understand that third-party authentication might still be useful here as the artwork moves away from its original ownership.

I just got a kick out of somebody saying the autograph has not and will not be certified. It’s my mavericky side.


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