The most money ever offered for one autograph is on the table, literally, at the 29th Annual National Sports Collectors Convention, scheduled for July 30-Aug. 3 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill.
Show organizers and SportsBuy.com (formerly NAXCOM.com), a Sports Online Sales & Auction firm, announced today that a briefcase filled with $25,000 is being offered to Steve Bartman on July 31 at the annual sports collectibles convention.
The Bartman signing is scheduled for 1 p.m. CST on Thursday in the Tristar Autograph Pavilion at the convention center.
“No one in sports memorabilia history has ever been paid $25,000 to sign one autograph – not Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig or any other athlete,” said Mike Berkus, co-executive director of The National.
“All Steve has to do is show up, prove he is in fact the real Steve Bartman – not some earphone-wearing imposter – and he’ll move to the top of the autograph value list,” said Wesley Hein, CEO of SportsBuy.com.
The photograph that National Convention organizers want Bartman to sign is, of course, the infamous image from Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins. Once the picture is signed, it will be auctioned on SportsBuy.com to the general public, with net proceeds being donated to a Chicago-based charity.
“Steve Bartman has been a recluse for years, but we’re hopeful that he will accept our invitation and generous offer to appear at The National,” Berkus said. “We have personal security to provide to Steve at The National and to a destination of his choosing.”
News of the proposed signing traveled quickly. Within hours of the release, business journals, TV stations and other media outlets across the country spoke of the offer.