Caveat Emptor

A friend of mine today e-mailed me a couple of eBay listings he came across of Nancy Reagan’s autograph— and had asked me if they appeared authentic or not. Now I’m not an expert, but he knew I had met Mrs. Reagan years ago at her last book signing, and that I had seen my share of legitimate presidential signatures over the years. Quite a few of those were of both President and Mrs. Reagan. But the listings he showed me, which were going for not much at all, were highly questionable.

You gotta be careful with that.

As history as shown when a famous person has passed… the market suddenly jumps. In this case the signature of a former First Lady becomes highly coveted and desired. The example at the top is an actual signature of Mrs. Reagan, and one that was often used on pre-printed photographs that the White House, and subsequently hers and President Reagan’s personal office, would send out to autograph seekers.

I’ve seen some tonight that appear authentic, especially when fully inscribed, but there are those that are obviously bogus. Some are so bad that the penmanship is awful and too much pin-point effort was made to try and replicate her signature.

I will say this, and it’s my opinion alone, if you’re going go with eBay or other online sites, I would stick with the signed books. Mrs. Reagan signed hundreds of books after her post-White House years at almost a half dozen book signings held at the Reagan Library. And there were periods where she had signed a stack of official Reagan Library bookplates that her office would send back out in return to folks who wanted their books signed.

Logistically this made it easier both for the office and the requester— so that excessive postage wasn’t used and also not having to fuss with stacks of books getting in the way— waiting to be signed and shipped back. However there was a very brief period, I’m told, that a rare number of folks, who mailed their books with return mailers with postage paid, actually had their books signed and personalized. Another friend of mine was lucky about five years ago.

But I’ll do you a favor, and it’ll be the best way to get an authentic signature of Mrs. Reagan’s, and you won’t have to pay the exorbitant prices sellers are asking for on auction sites: The Ronald Reagan Library Museum Store. You’d have to search but for now I’m seeing signed Easter eggs, USS Ronald Reagan CVN 76 Christening Programs and USS Ronald Reagan CVN 76 “Ronnie” Beanie Babies.

Now I make no warranty or guarantees of availability or the quantities on hand. The prices for her signature items are $250, and they may be subject to change. As a footnote there are signed items by Ronald Reagan and those go for about $4000.

You’d be doing the library some good shopping in their store.

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