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Sunday, 18 December 2011


The German composer Johannes Brahms was a personal friend of Johann Strauss. An anecdote dating around the time is that Strauss's stepdaughter, Alice von Meyszner-Strauss approached Brahms with a customary request that he autograph her fan. Brahms cheekily inscribed a few measures from the "Blue Danube," and then wrote beneath it: "Unfortunately, NOT by Johannes Brahms."

A disgruntled collector of autographs wrote to Rudyard Kipling complaining " I have written to you five times for your autograph without success. I hear you get five dollars a word for every word you write. Here is five dollars, send me one word." The world famous author pocketed the fiver and returned the correspondent’s letter with one word written on the bottom: "Thanks".

Albert Einstein used to charge $1 for signing an autograph. He would later donate the money to a charity.

As a child Muhammad Ali was refused an autograph by his boxing idol, Sugar Ray Robinson. When Ali became a prizefighter, he vowed never to deny an autograph request, which he honored throughout his career.

In the years following the Kennedy assassination, when she found herself in need of money, Lee Harvey Oswald's mother Marguerite would go to Dealey Plaza and sell her autograph for five dollars to tourists.

The Apollo 11 astronauts didn't have life insurance, so they signed hundreds of autographs and sent them to family to sell if they died.

The astronaut Neil Armstrong refused all requests for autographs since 1994, after he found that his signed items were selling for large amounts of money and that many forgeries were in circulation.

In 1984, a U.S. library accused Michael Jackson of owing it over $1 million in overdue book fines. Officials said they would scrap the fines if he returned the books autographed.

While leaving Italy during his 1987 Glass Spider Tour tour, there was a bomb scare on David Bowie's plane, forcing the singer and his party to return to the airport. They later discovered the threat had been a ruse by the Chief of Police, who wanted Bowie's autograph.

In 1948, the teenage Elvis Presley checked out a biography of Andrew Jackson from the Humes High School Library. In 2013 the card bearing his earliest known autograph sold at auction for $7,500.

George W. Bush collects autographed baseballs and owns over 250.

Sourec The Faber Book of Anecdotes

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