Questions Left By Brave Dave May

Posted October 24th, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Dave May, Derrick May, Johnny Briggs,
The facsimile autograph
might be all you ever see!

Dave May, the player traded to Atlanta for Hank Aaron, has died at age 68.

Son Derrick May shared the news on Facebook. With the obituary, fans learn that the elder May had been suffering from cancer and diabetes. It seems diabetes was responsible for May losing a leg.

Dave May was far from the greatest signer in autograph history. According to, just six of 20 TTM attempts recorded since 2001 were successful. Most of those happened when fees were enclosed.

Collectors forget that age and illness can stop or hinder even the best autograph signers. May’s son shared that his dad had a 40-year friendship with Johnny Briggs. Look up Briggs and you’ll see that he has a hard-line autograph policy. Your cards are impounded, and a price list is returned. Some collectors have called it a ransom note. When one retiree has luck with such high-pressure moneymaking tactics, it’s a wonder that the stunt doesn’t spread to more retired teammates and other baseball friends. I’d call this the “Eddie Haskell” effect.

I never tried May. If I had one more chance today, I think I’d write him about Derrick. I think some former players tire of hearing their stats recited. Who ever tires of being a proud dad?

Coming Friday: Do envelopes make a difference?

Can FOREVER Stamps Help TTM Autograph Collectors In Other Countries Save Money, Too?

Posted October 22nd, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Forever stamps, USPS

It’s not Halloween yet, so I do not want to be a scary character. You know, a grim reaper who says, “BOO! Got you by the wallet.” See for yourself in this USPS news release how rates will go up in January, 2013.

Here’s a bit of GOOD postal news, though. I wanted some specifics, and got a nice e-mail from the USPS website help desk.

“I understand that you would like to know if your friend would benefit from a FOREVER stamp. I am more than happy to assist you!

Here is some information about Forever Stamps:

The Forever Stamp is a special Nondenominational stamp that is issued to save customers time and money, especially when First-Class Mail prices are changing. The Forever Stamp always represents a 1 ounce First-Class Mail price. Therefore, when a customer buys a Forever Stamp, they pay the current First-Class Mail 1 ounce price and it is always worth the First-Class Mail 1 ounce price no matter how many times the price of the stamp changes in the future. Once purchased, these stamps can be used indefinitely (hence the term Forever Stamp).

Forever Stamps are currently being sold for $0.45.

You can use Forever Stamps for international mail, but since all international prices are higher than domestic prices, customers will need to attach additional postage. The value of the Forever Stamp is the domestic First-Class Mail letter price in effect on the day of use.

I hope you find this information helpful!

Tom, I was more than happy to give you information on Forever Stamps. Please do not hesitate to contact us in the future should you have any more questions or concerns.

Thank you for choosing the United States Postal Service for your mailing and shipping needs. We appreciate your business.

Have a great day!

Kindest Regards,


Translated? Let’s look at the potential that my friend Kohei from Japan faces. Right now, his SASE needs $1.05 for international mail. Of course, slowpoke signers may not respond before Jan. 27. His choices?

A) Use currently-available $1.05 stamp. Be prepared to pay the extra nickel owed the USPS if a reply is tardy.
B) Up the stampage to $1.10 now.
C) Use two FOREVER stamps with 15 cents postage. (Post Jan. 27 value would be 92 cents + 15 = $1.07.) If a signer responds in February or later, Kohei would owe three cents.
D) Use three FOREVER stamps. Be covered for the next few increases?

UPDATE: What’s the best choice? Check out the comments below. You’ll see my vote. What’s yours?

Coming Wednesday: Remembering Dave May.

Birthday Gift Ideas for Hobbyists?

Posted October 19th, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Mickey Mantle,
Oct. 20 – his and mine!

I didn’t share much with Mickey Mantle.

Except a birthday.

Oct. 20 is a national holiday in my home. Before preparing my celebration, I wanted to share some suggestions.

Do you have a birthday coming up. Afraid someone will give you another necktie?

Ask for a one-year membership to It’s a great way (at just $14.99) to keep current on TTM happenings.

For friends and family thinking that they don’t know what autograph to buy for a present, make it easier. Collectors need envelopes, paper, pens or computer printer ink.

Simplest of all: make it stamps! If you have a hobby pal, send them birthday greetings with a pair of stamps (one for the self-addressed, stamped envelope, of course).

Tell them, “Celebrate by writing to the guy you’ve been putting off. Give yourself a present.”

Coming Monday: Making sense of FOREVER stamps.