I stumbled across the memorabilia industry back in 1996 when I spent a few months in the U.S visiting relatives in Detroit. Being a huge Michael Jordan fan and like most fans, I dreamt about seeing the Bulls play at the United Center and meeting Jordan to get an autograph. I didn’t manage to meet him that winter, but I was lucky enough to see the Bulls play at home against the Knicks, what an experience!
At the time and like most people back in Australia, I never knew the memorabilia industry existed until a friend suggested we go to a local memorabilia show to see what was available. WOW!!! I was blown away; I had never seen anything like it, an arena bigger than a football field, full of people selling autographed memorabilia. Immediately I thought of the opportunity back in Australia, after all everyone is sports crazy (including me) and there was nothing like it at the time, not that I was aware of anyway, I immediately knew that this was for me. At the time, I didn’t have a real understanding of the industry and especially dealing with autographs, I thought I better spend some time researching. I travelled extensively to and from the U.S in 1996 - 1997, learning as much as possible and of course developing relationships along the way.
I was a keen tennis player growing up in Adelaide and every year Adelaide played host to the Australian Open warm up events, the South Australian Men’s Hard-court and Rio International. Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras, Boris Becker, Jim Courier, Michael Chang and Goran Ivanisevic were all yearly draw cards. As a young teenager I have to say that I was one of the kids collecting autographs, a lot of them to, not for sale of course, but just for my bedroom walls, I still have these today, how ironic that I am now in the autograph industry.
It was in 1997 when I was only 20 years of age, that I was given the opportunity of a life time, a private signing with Muhammad Ali and the opportunity to become his official Australian distributor. There were many things that led to this, but I believe most of all it was my passion for the industry and my honesty which could be clearly seen by the relevant people. They were willing to give me a go and I didn’t let anyone down, myself included.
That same year I began selling a small range of memorabilia (including Muhammad Ali) at wholesale to the franchise “Superstars & Legends” in Australia. I guess the industry existed after all, but it was very small at the time. I was one of the few that made their approved suppliers list. The limited range of American memorabilia that I had available was selling well, but in order to continue growing the business, I had to sign some Australian talent, bring on Peter Brock, a true Australian legend.
From the moment I stumbled across the industry, I always had the belief that the business could be successful globally, and that’s why I felt it important to sign an Australian athlete who competed on the world stage. I was a motor-racing fan and at the time who better to sign that the five time 500cc World Champion Mick Doohan. In 1999 I made contact with Mick’s management team and it was not long after that Autographed Collectables completed its first signing with Mick in San Francisco.
To target Mick Doohan fans, Autographed Collectables set up a shop at the 1999 Phillip Island GP and made available to race fans a range of 100% Authentic and licensed Mick Doohan autographed memorabilia. These items couple with our other range of collectables (Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Peter Brock to name just a few) made for a great weekend, race fans snapped up our product and we were finally off and running, or should I say racing!!
Word spread, and somehow the 1987 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner heard about Autographed Collectables and gave me a call. Wayne asked “Would I be interested in releasing a signed piece”? Well of course, I couldn’t believe it and we continued racing from there; Valentino Rossi in 2000 (the first commercial signing he had ever completed) Garry McCoy in 2001, Troy Bayliss in 2002, Andrew Pitt, Casey Stoner in 2002 (the first commercial signing he had ever completed), Colin Edwards in 2002, Nicky Hayden in 2003 (the first commercial signing he had ever completed). Autographed Collectables then moved into Formula 1; Juan Pablo Montoya, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Mark Webber and Rubens Barichello all signed for Autographed Collectables during 2003, 2004 & 2005.
In 2005, Autographed Collectables attended its first event as a vendor in the United States, the Chicago International Bike show held at the Donald E Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. One of the first memorabilia shows that I attended was at the same convention center some 8 years earlier, now here Autographed Collectables were as a vendor, that was really a great feeling.
As our client list increased, so did the number of international events that we attended. Sydney, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Indianapolis, Chicago, New York and London were just some cities on our list. Customers from all over the world had the opportunity to see our beautiful range of 100% authentic memorabilia in person and they weren’t disappointed. The support that we continue to receive from our customers worldwide has enabled us to grow and offer the production selection that we currently have available today. I have many great relationships with customers from all over the world and I can’t thank everyone enough for their loyal support.
I feel as though I could write a book about my experiences in the industry, and one day I will. For the moment though I will leave it there as there is still so much to unfold. I am very proud though to say that Autographed Collectables have become a worldwide recognized brand when it comes to official licensed boxing & motor-racing memorabilia. Our commitment to producing the highest quality and 100% authentic memorabilia has enabled us to gain the respect & reputation in the industry that no other company can boast of. This coupled with the relationships that we have forged with the top riders, management agencies and photographers in the sport, all lead to a product selection that is the best in the world.
I feel privileged to say that some of the world’s greatest sports stars have selected Autographed Collectables to EXCLUSIVELY handle their range of autographed merchandise. Over the years, these have included Valentino Rossi, Chad Reed, Michael Doohan, Mark Webber and Muhammad Ali in Australia. Autographed Collectables also have a strong affiliation with some of the most reputable memorabilia companies in the world who produce some of the most sought after collectables, from the world’s greatest athletes. Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Kobe Bryant & Lebron James to name just a few.
In an industry which is un-regulated, I am proud to say that Autographed Collectables are selling a range of memorabilia which is unquestionably 100% Authentic. When you purchase an Autographed Collectables authenticated product, you are purchasing a genuine signed piece of memorabilia. (To read more about our authentication process, please view our Authenticity page). I look forward to meeting our new customers, race fans and seeing my regular customers at the same events that I have seen you all at over the last 10 years.
Founder & Managing Director.
I should also mention that I finally met Michael Jordan at a private party during the 2005 Valencia MotoGP in Spain, what a moment !!
Autographed Collectables' clients include;
|Valentino Rossi||Ricky Carmichael||Muhammad Ali|
|Nicky Hayden||James Stewart||Joe Frazier*|
|Michael Jordan**||Lebron James**||Magic Johnson*|
|Casey Stoner||Chad Reed||Kenny Roberts Jnr.|
|Jorge Lorenzo||Ryan Villopoto||Colin Edwards|
|Mick Doohan||Jeremy McGrath||Ben Spies|
|Kenny Roberts Sr.||Evel Knievel||Kenny Roberts Jnr.|
|Troy Bayliss||Wayne Rainey||Travis Pastrana|
|Wayne Gardiner||Kevin Schwantz||Jeremy McGrath|
|Freddie Spencer||Eddie Lawson||Dan Reardon|
|Kimi Raikkonen||Juan Pablo Montoya||Rubens Barichello|
|Fernando Alonso||Mark Webber||Dennis Rodman*|
|Joe Montana*||Kobe Bryant**||Tiger Woods**|
Courtesy of Prince Marketing Group*
Courtesy of Upper Deck Authenticated**
Courtesy of Prince Marketing Group*
- Valentino Rossi
- Casey Stoner
- Marco Simoncelli
- Nicky Hayden
- Ben Spies
- Jorge Lorenzo
- Mick Doohan
- Dani Pedrosa
- Marc Marquez
- Cal Crutchlow
- Andrea Dovizioso
- Kenny Roberts Snr
- Kevin Schwantz
- Troy Bayliss
- Stefan Bradl
- Wayne Rainey
- Randy Mamola
- MotoGP 2002
- Colin Edwards
- Eddie Lawson
- Freddie Spencer
- Garry McCoy
- John Hopkins
- Marco Melandri
- Max Biaggi
- Wayne Gardner
- Andrew Pitt
- Anthony West
- AMA SUPERBIKES
- BOBBLE HEADS
- FORMULA 1
- HORSE RACING
- NEW PRODUCTS
- V8 RACING
- WORLD SUPERBIKES
- WORN MERCHANDISE