My father’s birthday is just around the corner, and unfortunately for those of us doing the shopping, he’s sort of the man who has everything. He lives at the beach, drives a fabulous car, and is fairly comfortable buying the things he needs for himself without worrying about prices. While I’m thrilled for him and glad he’s enjoying retirement, it makes gift giving a bit of a challenge. Forgive the cliché, but really, what do you get for the man who has everything?
Fortunately, the fact that my father is a complete American history fanatic has given me a bit of inspiration this year, and I’m planning on making this next birthday gift the best ever. My brothers and I are going to pitch in together and buy him a real piece of history — an authentic signature from one of the Presidents of the United States! But looking for authentic presidential autographs is serious business, and of course, it’s fallen to me to do all the legwork.
As is often the case, the Internet is a fabulous place to start when you’re looking for information on finding and purchasing genuine presidential autographs. There are a great variety of web dealers who specialize in buying, selling, and authenticating the signatures of some of history’s most beloved sons and daughters. The array of presidential autographs is astounding, on items ranging from personal letters to official government documents, from books to photographs. And it’s not just presidential autographs that are for sale — some sites include original letters and memorabilia from Civil War heroes, twentieth-century military leaders, astronauts, Supreme Court Justices, and leaders from the Civil Rights Movement.
If you’re like me, the only downside of looking to make a gift of one of the many presidential autographs available is choosing which president! I’m glad that my dad’s own unique areas of interest narrowed my search a bit. The fact that he’s a volunteer tour guide at an old Civil War fort on the coast of North Carolina certainly narrows my list of leaders (can you say ‘Abraham Lincoln?’), but even with four siblings pitching in, I don’t think we can swing the $44,000 price tag for Honest Abe’s signature! Perhaps in time, regardless of the president, time will pump up the value.
So while we may not have Lincoln’s John Hancock (pardon the pun), we still were able to purchase, albeit with significant whining and credit card debt incurred, an authentic autograph from General Ambrose E. Burnside, most certainly a winning name amongst the Civil War set. And if we get serious about saving our money, we might be able to buy presidential autographs from a more recent Commander in Chief. Either way, I’m glad we bought the Burnside piece because I know dad is going to love it!