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Signing Cards

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I love community-based projects.

My own Alpha Art Catalogue Raissone is still going strong, and we’ve had a new location for it to stay front of mind at OriginalMagicArt.com called the Alpha Art Project. My favorite three merit badges from Boy Scouts were actually the citizenship badges appearing below:

Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, and World Boy Scout merit badges

After Eternal Weekend shook out, I received a lot of original-art information, which is great. I always like hearing about folks getting into the original-art game and folks helping them acquiring their first pieces. They’re like Pringles; be careful.

Another aspect of the weekend emerged as the new ways to alter with that “pimp,” that ultimate best of a card. Normally, the pimpest is a foreign foil, sometimes altered, and most definitely signed by the artist—occasionally the designer, too! As the weekend was winding down, I heard there’s a group who actually helps community members have cards signed, even taking requests and having them signed for other people. Color me intrigued.

Sign in Blood

I talked with Scott Mosser, the administrator of the Facebook group Givememana's Signed Magic the Gathering cards this past weekend. I had not heard about his group, and he gave me some insight into why the group exists:

To educate is the #1 goal on the proper way to get cards signed. The second is to help people find artists. It seems like everyone knows at least one artist personally and finally to help people finish signed sets. It’s a page to pretty much anything related to signed cards.

For example, in a recent post, I said I am going to Eternal Weekend. I then listed the artists that will be there. People then ask if I can get cards signed by whatever artist they want. They then send them to me, I take them to the event, I get them signed, and I then send them back.

I felt that was noble. I had to ask the next obligatory question. What if people ask for too much? I know I am asked, “Mike, can you please ask the artist at the Grand Prix you’re attending if he or she still has something in particular?” I don’t mind it because I want art to be in art collector hands. They’ll love it then. As for signatures? Well . . . 

A few people have started charging people to send them cards to get signed. I am not sure how I feel about that yet and may put an end to it. It is a huge hassle to get a lot of cards signed for a bunch of people. But that is the purpose of the group.

Welcome to the club. Serving the community is work, but I’ve found that if someone gives the artist a tip for the signatures, I often receive a tip, too. I’m talking to them anyway about art stuff, and I might as well get something signed. And as for the tip I often receive, I then buy an artist proof or sketch or something, depending how many people ask me to help out. That’s win-win for the artist.

Ask the Artist!

After hearing from Scott, I had to ask Randy some questions.

Counsel of the Soratami

Randy Gallegos has been in the Magic art realm for years and years and has one of the best articles on the Internet on what to do as you have questions: Getting Cards Signed By Mail. I think it should be required reading for any new artist to Magic—well, that along with Matt Cavotta’s mothership article, Ben’s one on how signatures affect pricing, and an oldie from Aaron Forsythe himself! Also, he’s better than average at this whole art-making thing. I mean, he’s only been accepted into Spectrum’s annual best art book, won numerous awards, and—most importantly—keeps receiving Magic commissions. That last one is much harder than you think. Have you seen what Cynthia Sheppard is doing? Seriously.

I asked Randy what brought him to signing for a fee. After a few years signing, you learn a few things:

Over time, my good intentions about signing for free got the better of me in terms of eventually paying money out of my own pocket, [not everyone has postage to get the cards back] time spent, and things arriving when I was buried with work, which meant that the cards fell to the bottom of my to-do pile. This last point I know is pretty common, with some artists historically taking weeks or months to return cards. That's not fair either.

As well, it's just a reality that there is a small market that places a premium on signed cards, though I know for many signatures devalue a card. It's a little annoying to see signed cards selling online, at even a slight premium. At shows, I always sign everything, and if people profit off that, I console myself that most people do not and genuinely want a direct contact with the artist. But with my personal time, I didn't want anyone profiting off time I could have spent playing video games.

So, $1 a card. That amount negates most markups, I think, but even if it doesn't, it represents a percentage I get off a resale. For those who don't intend to resell, it's a significant cost for a signature. But it's also significant enough that the vast majority of signings get sent back completed the very next business day. It's worth my time. It also limits the number of cards sent, because if signing by mail is free, then why not send a hundred cards?

It just seemed to be the best overall solution. Those who make it to events where I am get free signings, and maybe they'll pick up some whitebacks or prints or whatever. Those who can't still have an option to get a few favorite card signed.

In short, signing stacks takes time, and artist time is valuable. Adding a tip speeds up receiving your cards back. Write. That. Down.


The List

The list below is the most current list gained from Scott Mosser and his admins in his Facebook group. No, it is not complete, and yes, it is a work in progress.

We had hoped, by getting the word out, we could confirm with more artists what they’d prefer and let it be known. I think that’s fair and a great community project.

Remember that at conventions, conferences, and events, most artists are very friendly and happy to sign cards. Of course, you should tip them $1 per play set at the very least. This list below is only for folks sending cards to artists in the mail.

Artists No Longer with Us

  • Doug Chaffee
  • Frank Kelly Freas
  • Glen Angus
  • Keith Parkinson
  • Quinton Hoover
  • Ron Walotsky
  • Tim Hildebrandt

Those Who Do Accept Mail-Ins

  • Aaron Miller (Send return postage via PayPal or a SASE.)
  • Alan Pollack (40–50 cards at a time)
  • Allen Williams (be mega-patient)
  • Andrew Robinson
  • Anthony Palumbo (can be combined with Winona Nelson’s)
  • Anthony Scott Waters (20 cards at a time)
  • April Lee (be mega-patient)
  • Ben Thompson
  • Brian Despain
  • Brian Horton
  • Bryon Talbot
  • Bud Cook
  • Cara Mitten
  • Carl Frank
  • Charles Urbach
  • Chris Dien
  • Chuck Lukacs
  • Cliff Childs
  • Clint Cearley
  • Clyde Caldwell
  • Cyril Van Der Hagen (20 cards at a time) (please donate to his medical treatments)
  • Daarken (U.S. domestic only) (25 cards at a time)
  • Dan Scott (40–50 cards at a time)
  • Daren Bader (loves coffee)
  • Dave Dorman (be mega-patient)
  • David Day
  • David Ho
  • David Palumbo
  • Donato Giancola (20 cards at a time)
  • Douglas Shuler (10 cards at a time)
  • Drew Tucker (P.S. Revised Plateau is not his)
  • Edward P Beard (12 cards at a time)
  • Eric Deschamps
  • Erica Gassalasca-Jape (Heather Hudson’s pen name)
  • Eytan Zana
  • Franz Vohwinkel
  • Fred Fields
  • Goran Josic
  • Greg Hildebrandt (6–8 different cards at a time)
  • Heather Hudson (12 cards for best turnaround) (over 12 cards or if it doesn’t have correct postage, it will be delayed)
  • Howard Lyon (e-mail him before)
  • Hugh Jamieson
  • Izzy (if approved, he usually wants it sent to his work address)
  • James Wong
  • Jeff Easley
  • Jeff Laubenstein
  • Jim Murray (may be delayed depending on where his mail goes)
  • Jim Nelson (25 cards at a time)
  • Jim Pavelec
  • Joel Thomas
  • John Matson
  • John S Brassell
  • John Zeleznik (20 cards at a time)
  • Karla Ortiz
  • Ken Meyer Jr.
  • Kensuke Okabayashi
  • Kevin Dobler (10 cards at a time) (sometimes he changes his status)
  • Lars-Grant West
  • Liz Danforth
  • Maciej Kuciara (place requests to sign front only)
  • Marc Fishman
  • Mark Brill (be mega-patient)
  • Mark Harrison
  • Mark Rosewater (Look at Me, I'm the DCI)
  • Mark Tedin (varies by return shipping materials)
  • Mark Zug (unlimited U.S. domestically) (limit to 18 cards in a pocket page for international)
  • Matt Cavotta (20 cards at a time)
  • Matt Stewart
  • Michael Komarck (first 20 cards are free; anything over that is an additional $1 USD)
  • Michael Sutfin (20 cards per business arrangement)
  • Mike Bierek (12 cards at a time)
  • Mike Ryan (place requests to sign front only)
  • Mike Sass
  • Nicola Leonard
  • Pete Venters (20 cards at a time) (limited to one play set of any given card)
  • Peter Mohrbacher
  • Randy Elliott (2 cards at a time)
  • Raoul Vitale
  • Ray Lago
  • Rick Berry (no duplicates)
  • RK Post
  • Rob Alexander (sometimes changes his address due to work)
  • Ron Spencer
  • Ryan Pancoast
  • Sam Wolfe Connelly (4 cards at a time)
  • Scott Altmann
  • Steve Argyle
  • Steve Prescott
  • Terese Nielsen (25 cards at a time)
  • Thomas Gianni
  • Todd Lockwood
  • Tomasz Jedruszek
  • Tony DiTerlizzi (10 cards at a time)
  • Wayne Reynolds (has zero tolerance if you don’t pay for all the shipping costs)
  • Wesley Burt
  • Winona Nelson (can be combined with Anthony Palumbo’s)
  • Yeong-Hao Han (10 cards at a time) (wants to stay within standard letter limits)
  • Zack Stella (You must send return postage or a SASE.)

Those Who Accept Mail-Ins with a Tip

  • Don Hazeltine (5 Euros per sig)
  • Jeff Miracola ($1 USD per sig)
  • Melissa Benson (as long as you buy over $50 USD worth of proofs/prints/etc.)
  • Pablo Parente ($5 USD per sig)
  • Randy Gallegos ($1 USD per sig, free shipping over 20 cards) (must be $50 USD or more for international)
  • Rebecca Guay ($50 USD per 20 cards) (no overlaps)

Artists Who Go through Agents

  • Amy Weber (broker through through VintageMagic.com LLC)
  • Brian Snoddy (unlimited, U.S. Domestic only) (broker through VintageMagic.com LLC for international)
  • Bryon Wackwitz (broker through Scott Mosser)
  • Chris Moeller (broker through Eric Moeller/Fanfare)
  • Chris Rush (broker through Jeff Ferreira)
  • Dameon Willich (broker through VintageMagic.com LLC)
  • Dan Fraizer (6–8 cards at a time or broker through Mark’s Collectibles)
  • David O’Connor (broker through Guy Coulson, JohnAvon.com)
  • Jesper Myrfors (broker through through VintageMagic.com LLC) (will not sign stuff altered by someone else)
  • John Avon (broker through Guy Coulson, JohnAvon.com)
  • Julie Baroh (broker through VintageMagic.com LLC)
  • Justin Hampton (broker through Scott Mosser)
  • Mark Poole (broker through VintageMagic.com LLC)
  • Mike Dringenberg (has the same agent as Shelly Wan, Eidolon Fine arts)
  • NéNé Thomas (broker through Scott Mosser)
  • Richard Kane Ferguson (broker through Mark’s Collectibles)
  • Shelly Wan (will sign 14 cards at public appearances and more if you buy stuff from her) (travels w/ an agent, Eidolon Fine Arts)
  • Thomas Baxa (broker through Mark’s Collectibles)
  • Volkan Baga (broker through Mark’s Collectibles)

Contact List of Agents/Brokers

Those Who Don’t Accept Mail-Ins

  • Adam Rex (work-related)
  • Adi Granov
  • Aleksi Briclot (work-related)
  • Anson Maddocks
  • Anthony Francisco (may open the doors again in the future)
  • Austin Hsu
  • Bob Petillo
  • Brom (work-related)
  • Carl Critchlow (work-related)
  • Chippy (work-related)
  • Cornelius Brudi (may open again via brokering)
  • Dave Allsop (only at events)
  • David Rapoza
  • Dermot Power
  • Eric Fortune (work-related)
  • Erica Yang
  • Francis Tsai
  • Greg Staples (work-related) (but will ignore it for charity)
  • Ittoku (work-related)
  • Jack Wang
  • Jaime Jones
  • James Kei
  • Jana Schirmer (usually shows up to art workshops) (often travels with her husband)
  • Jason Chan (unless you’re a business person)
  • Jason Felix (work-related) (he travels a lot)
  • Jean Sebastien Rossbach (he’s not a fan of the mailing system)
  • Jung Park
  • Justin Sweet (work-related)
  • Kaja Foglio (to avoid liabilities)
  • Karl Kopinski (needs to spend more time with family)
  • Keith Garletts
  • Kev Walker
  • Khang Le
  • Larry Elmore
  • Margaret Kean Organ (made it public on her FB 12/23/2013)
  • Martina Pilcerva
  • Mathew D. Wilson (to avoid liabilities)
  • Michael C. Hayes
  • Nelson DeCastro (doesn’t sign)
  • Phil Foglio (to avoid liabilities)
  • Ralph Horsley
  • Raymond Swanland (work-related)
  • Ron Spears
  • Scott Bailey (doesn’t sign anymore for personal reasons)
  • Scott Chou
  • Scott Kirschner (not signing currently, may again in the future)
  • Stephen Daniele (work-related)
  • Steven Belledin (work-related)
  • Trevor Claxton (needs to spend more time with family)
  • Tyler Jacobson
  • Vance Kovacs (work-related)
  • Whit Brachnna (work-related)

Status Not Confirmed

  • Every Portal Three Kingdom artist
  • Aaron Boyd
  • Adrian Smith
  • Al Davidson
  • Alan Rabinowitz
  • Alton Lawson
  • Andi Rusu
  • Andrew Goldhawk
  • Andrew Murray
  • Ariel Olivetti
  • Arnie Swekel
  • Ashley (Ash) Wood
  • Bill Sienkiewicz
  • Bob Eggleton
  • Brad Rigney
  • Bradley Williams
  • Brandon Dorman
  • Brandon Kitouski
  • Brian Durfee
  • Brian Hagan
  • Carol Heyer
  • Cecil Fernando
  • Charles Gillespie
  • Chengo McFlingers
  • Chris Appelhans
  • Chris J Anderson
  • Cliff Nielsen
  • Clint Langley
  • Cole Eastburn
  • Colin MacNeil
  • Corey D Macourek
  • Cos Koniotis
  • Craig Hooper
  • Craig Mullins
  • Cris Dornaus
  • Darrell Riche
  • David A. Cherry
  • David L. Martin
  • David Seeley
  • Diana Vick
  • Dom!
  • Dominick Domingo
  • Doug Alexander Gregory (present status not verified)
  • Doug Keith
  • E.M. Gist
  • Fay Jones
  • Fred Harper
  • Gabor
  • Gary Gianni
  • Gary Leach
  • George Prat
  • Gerry Grace
  • Greg Simanson
  • Greg Spalenka
  • Gustavo Cabral “Ciruelo”
  • Hannibal King
  • Harold McNeill
  • Henry G. Higginbotham
  • Ian Miller
  • J. W. Frost
  • Janine Johnston
  • Jason Alexander Behnke
  • Jeff Reitz
  • Jennifer Law
  • Jeremy Jarvis (present status not verified)
  • Jerry Tiritilli
  • Jock
  • John Coulthart
  • Junior Tomlin
  • Kerstin Kaman
  • Kev Brockschmidt
  • Larry MacDougall
  • Lou Harrison
  • Marcelo Vignali
  • Mark A. Nelson
  • Mark Hyzer
  • Martin McKenna
  • Matt Stawicki
  • Michael Danza
  • Michael Phillippi
  • Mike Kerr
  • Mike Kimble
  • Mike Raabe
  • Min Yum
  • Monte Michael Moore
  • Nathalie Hertz
  • Nottsuo (Ta Nemo)
  • Pat “Patrick” Lee
  • Pat Morrissey
  • Patrick Kochakji
  • Paul Lee
  • Puddnhead
  • Randy Asplund
  • Richard Sardinha
  • Roger Raupp
  • Rogério Vilela
  • Romas Kukalis
  • Ron Chironna
  • Ruth Thompson
  • Scott M. Fischer
  • Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
  • Steve White
  • Stuart Beel
  • Stuart Griffin
  • Susan Van Camp
  • Tom Kyffin “Cuff-in”
  • Tom Waenerstrand
  • Tony Roberts
  • William Donohoe
  • William Murai
  • William O’Connor
  • Zina Saunders
  • Zoltan Boros


Help us out; if you are one of the unaccounted-for artists, let us know! If you know one of the artists, ask him or her politely!

Thank you all; you’ve been great.

-Mike

P.S. Remember to tip your artist.


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