collectors of Signed books and automobilia- all the relevant catalogue
items are collected here.
A Word About Signed Books
A book that
is signed by the author or someone significant to the content, immediately
becomes unique and therefore more valuable than if the title page remained
unsigned and unsullied. I rate good signatures highly and I stand by
all the signed items I offer on this website catalogue, but in the big world
outside it is very much a matter of caveat emptor - let the buyer
Be extra wary of recent
driver autographs unless you are certain of the provenance. The only
way you can really guarantee that a modern driver's signature is authentic
is to have him perform the act in front of you. This will confirm
that it was indeed his signature, but you will almost certainly be disappointed
at the wiggly line that purports to be an autograph. If you do not
see him sign, the chances are that the signature (sorry, the squiggle)
could have been performed by a secretary in the confines of the team motorhome.
In what I consider
to be the "Good Old Days" of the 1960s, a driver's signature was a work
of art, something instantly recognisable and a mirror of the man.
Thus Graham Hill's signature was done with a swashbuckling flourish (see
Catalogue #449) and Jim Clark's signature was almost that of a shy schoolboy,
both of which fitted the men with the pen. Jackie Stewart's original
signature was probably much like Jim's, but he felt that if someone granted
him the honour of asking for his autograph, it should be worthwhile, and
he practised his copperplate autograph. No disinterested squiggle,
looking away, talking to someone else, here.
You could glance at
an item with a number of signatures of drivers in the 1950s or 1960s and
immediately identify most, if not all. Try doing that today. Probably
easier to identify the modern grid-full by their fingerprints.
Autographs tend to
depend on the fame of the person concerned. Nigel Mansell was undoubtedly
famous, but it was only a year or two ago that Chaters were offering signed
copies of his autobiography at remainder prices!
When Enzo Ferrari died,
Mario Acquati, who runs the wonderful bookshop at Monza (Is it still standing?
Rumour had it that my favourite bookshop was being demolished to make way
for more motorhomes in the paddock.) told me that there were books and
items signed by Enzo coming out of the woodwork, offered for sale.
I told them all that I couldn't buy them because there were so many fake
signatures about. So what happened? They dropped the ridiculous
prices they were asking, and I bought a lot of them.
Enzo Ferrari's classic
signature is a case in point. He always signed in a distinctive violet
ink, said to have originated from his early days when he wrote with an
Italian lead pencil that, when licked, became violet in colour and indelible.
Italian journalist, Pino Allievi, can still do a perfect Enzo Ferrari signature,
which is both amusing and a vague worry in case his artform gets into the
wrong hands. You can date Ferrari signatures because as he got older,
his hand became less firm and the signature in recent years was very shaky.
I have a favourite
photograph, framed in my collection. It was taken after a Ferrari
press conference when I had asked Enzo to sign a mint copy of his autobiography
in English, 'My Terrible Joys'. Someone took a photograph of me standing
behind him, watching over his shoulder as he signed the book - so I sent
the photograph to his personal assistant, Franco Gozzi, who arranged for
Mr Ferrari to sign the photograph of him signing my book. And it's certainly
not for sale!
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