Autograph Hunter searches for autographed books in thrift stores
Joe Palmersheim has found autographed copies of books by presidents, high profile politicians, journalists, and celebrities too. He searches for the books in thrift stores.
A hidden treasure
Seasoned thrift store shoppers know that there’s a treasure lurking in every store if you can just find it.
A few times a week, Joe Palmersheim stops by a store like Arc’s Value Village and looks for books autographed by the author.
“You get a thrill, just discovering a little treasure that nobody knows about,” says Palmersheim.
His unique hobby started a few years ago when Palmersheim picked up a nice hardcover book, written by an Apollo 13 astronaut.
“I remember opening it up and seeing Jim Lovell written in pen,” remembers Palmersheim. “I got a thrill from finding that kind-of direct connection to a story I really like.”
He bought that book and started hunting for other autographed books. He’s found books signed by Presidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush as well as book signed by prominent political figures like Rudy Giuliani or Colin Powell.
Palmersheim says the most random book he found was a book signed by Betty White.
Method behind the search
Often Joe Palmersheim doesn’t keep the book with the signature. Instead, he opts to remove the signed title page. Sometimes he passes on the book altogether, if it is a topic or person that doesn’t necessarily interest him.
“There are some that are signed and you don’t get and think why didn’t I get that,” says Palmersheim. “I found one by Ralph Nader. I’m not a big Ralph Nader fan, but it’s still kind of cool to find that little bit of history.”
You can have more success searching for autographs in biographies and memoirs. And while there’s no way to verify if the autograph is truly authentic, in the end you get a book and a really cool hobby.
“It’s a small piece of them that you now have within the book. I think that’s what’s really cool. It’s a tactile connection to the person who wrote it,” says Palmersheim. “At the end of the day even if the autograph isn’t real, which I have no way of verifying because I wasn’t there, you still get a book and that’s pretty cool.”