Hobby Musings: Getting President Clinton’s autograph – Going to a smaller college in Pennsylvania, we didn’t get a lot of big name celebrity speakers. That being said, we did have a couple of notable personalities grace the Clarion University campus during my time there. Mario Lopez in particular proved to be a fun experience and a nice guy.

However, spring of 2008 blew all the others out of the water as former President Bill Clinton came for a speech. He was coming to Clarion as part of a speaking tour on behalf of his wife, Hillary, as she was making a presidential run of her own. Needless to say, it was a pretty big deal to have him come to our school.

Besides hearing him speak, I figured the event would provide a chance to add his signature to my collection. Joining me in the endeavor was one of my best friends who was a big autograph collector himself.

Hobby Musings: Getting President Clinton's autographI remember thinking at the time that I didn’t have a great chance of landing Clinton’s signature. I figured the room would be packed full of people who had the same idea; however, I planned on going either way and fortune favors the prepared. With that in mind, I printed out a photo of him to have something in case the opportunity arose. My friend had a little more faith and came to Clinton’s speech with a copy of his book and a 1993 Triple Play baseball card.

Despite getting to the student center early, we still ran into a fairly long line of people. Luckily, we managed to find a friend of mine who wasn’t too far back from the front. He was kind enough to let us join him. After getting inside the building, we managed to end up standing in the first few rows. After a bit of a wait, President Clinton came out to speak. All the while, I had my photo ready in my bag.

President Clinton delivered a heck of a speech that had the crowd cheering often. It’s not every day you can see a former president speak, and it was something I was glad I could witness. After he was finished, he shook hands with people in the crowd. Being close enough, I was able to get a quick handshake with him. As he was walking by, some of his handlers followed and grabbed items to be signed. My friend and I were among the lucky people to get their items taken into the back behind a curtain.

Hobby Musings: Getting President Clinton's autographAfter waiting a few minutes, our items were placed on a table. My photo came back complete with his signature in black. My friend did me one better. His decision to tuck the card into the signing page of the book paid off as he got both items signed. I remember joking with him that President Clinton probably laughed when he saw the card in there.

Both of us were very excited to have his signature in our collections. Even more amusingly, my picture, or more accurately, the back of my head, was visible in the school newspaper picture taken of the event.

I’ve received a lot of in-person signatures in my life, but this one is one of the most memorable. It remains to date the only presidential signature in my collection. While I don’t think I’ll ever chase presidential autographs seriously as a hobby, the one I do have will always be a favored part of my collection.


Kelsey’s ability to bring hobby coverage to the mainstream sports fan has been a true asset. GTS is happy to feature his thoughts on collecting in Hobby Musings. The opinions expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of GTS Distribution.
Hobby Musings: Getting President Clinton’s autograph

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