Lot #670
Autograph Album Collection

Absolutely phenomenal lifetime collection of over 600 autograph albums, containing well over 24,000 individual signatures, all obtained in-person from the 1940s onward

UPDATE: Click here to download the Excel spreadsheet. Click here to view the PDF. Please note: The spreadsheet stops at album #563; the albums from #564 onward remain temptingly uncatalogued.


Description

Absolutely phenomenal lifetime collection of over 600 autograph albums, containing well over 24,000 individual signatures, all obtained in-person from the 1940s onward

Certainly one of the most comprehensive collections of its kind that we have ever offered, an impressive half-century gathering of names both famous and forgotten, staggering in its breadth, condition, and organization.

First a bit of background about the collector: Charles Freireich began collecting autographs at the age of 12 at the Palace Theatre in downtown Cleveland, where famous entertainers and bands appeared weekly. His grandmother and aunt lived in New York City, which also allowed him to collect there whenever he visited. At the age of 19, Charles joined the Navy and was assigned to a troop ship based in San Diego. For four years, he collected in Hollywood every time his ship docked in California. After he was discharged, Charles married, became a certified public accountant, and had three sons who enjoyed collecting with him when they were young.

Charles and his wife also traveled to, and collected in, Los Angeles, New York, and various other US cities.A trip to Paris, and four trips to London, allowed him access to celebrities he would otherwise not have had the opportunity to meet. For 66 years, until he passed away at the age of 79, Charles collected tens of thousands of autographs in-person.We are pleased to offer his vast, meticulous, and comprehensive collection here.

Most of the signatures are inscribed to “Charles,” often with friendly sentiments, and the signed pages, particularly those from the 1960s forward, are in generally pristine condition. Interestingly, Charles seemingly rarely asked for more than one autograph per person, so the vast majority of names are unique within this collection. His attention to detail was second-to-none, with each album numbered on its cover, then each page individually and discreetly hand-numbered in pencil in its upper right corner. The albums were then carefully recorded in a spreadsheet, with each row consisting of the signer, the album number, and the page number within the album, creating an invaluable reference for quickly finding any particular name.

Starting in the 1940s, the array of stars is most impressive, with a tiny cross-section of classic Hollywood signatures that include: Alfred Hitchcock, Audrey Hepburn, Basil Rathbone, Bert Lahr, Bobby Driscoll, Brandon deWilde, Bud Abbott, Buster Keaton, Cary Grant, Chico Marx, Clark Gable, Claude Rains, Desi Arnaz, Dorthy Dandridge, Elizabeth Taylor, Ethel Waters, George Reeves, Gloria Grahame, Grace Kelly, Groucho Marx, Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Jayne Mansfield, John Carradine, Josephine Baker, Judy Garland, Katharine Hepburn, Larry Fine, Laurence Olivier, Linda Darnell, Lon Chaney Jr, Lou Costello, Lucille Ball, Margaret Hamilton, Marilyn Monroe, Marion Davies, Marlon Brando, Moe Howard, Natalie Wood, Paul Newman, Peter Lorre, Pier Angeli, Ray Bolger, Rita Hayworth, Rock Hudson, Rod Serling, Sal Mineo, Susan Hayward, Three Stooges (w/Curly; on clipped slips), Vivian Vance, Vivien Leigh, Ward Bond, and William Frawley

Of course Charles collected well into the 1990s, and also amassed a fine selection of recent stars, often dating from the dawn of their careers, and including: Al Pacino, Alex Trebek, Andy Kaufman, Brad Pitt, Brittany Murphy, Chris Farley, Christopher Reeve, Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Fred Gwynne, Freddie Prinze, the primary Friends cast, George Clooney, Gilda Radner, Harrison Ford, John Belushi, Jon-Erik Hexum, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael V. Gazzo, Nicole Kidman, Phil Hartman, Pierce Brosnan, Quentin Tarantino, Rebecca Schaeffer, Richard Burton, Richard Pryor, River Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Roger Moore, Sam Kinison, Sean Connery, Steven Spielberg, Timothy Dalton, Tom Cruise, and Tom Hanks

Music signatures abound as well, and include names from jazz to classical to rock, for example: Aerosmith, Alan Jay Lerner, Aretha Franklin, Bob Seger, Carlos Santana, Cat Stevens, Chuck Berry, Cole Porter, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Everly Brothers, Genesis (Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, and even Peter Gabriel), Harry Chapin, Jascha Heifitz, Jeff Beck, Jennifer Lopez, Jerry Lee Lewis, John Prine, John Williams, Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, Karen Carpenter, Leonard Bernstein, Les Paul, Linda Ronstadt, Little Richard, Lou Reed, Michael Hutchence, Motley Crue, Murray the K, Oscar Hammerstein, The Osmonds, Richard Rodgers, Robert Plant, Rod Stewart, Slash, Stephen Sondheim, Sting, The Supremes (Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, and Cindy Birdsong), Tom Petty, Warren Zevon, and Yoko Ono

Sports is also well-represented, with a cross-section of names that include: Alex Rodriguez, Arnold Palmer, Connie Mack, Dale Earnhardt, Derek Jeter, Dizzy Dean, Floyd Patterson, Gil Hodges, Hank Greenberg, Jack Dempsey, Jack Nicklaus, Joe DiMaggio, Joe Frazier, Johnny Unitas, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Mariano Rivera, Max Baer, Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, Nelson Fox, Pele, Primo Carnera, Reggie Lewis, Sam Snead, Satchel Paige, Sugar Ray Robinson, Walter Payton, Wayne Gretzky, Willie Shoemaker, and Wilt Chamberlain

The prolific Charles also met many celebrities outside of the realms of sports and entertainment, with beautiful examples of the signatures of, to name a few: Al Hirschfeld, Alan Bean, Alex Haley, Allen Ginsberg, Benjamin Spock, Buckminster Fuller, Buzz Aldrin, Carl Sagan, Chuck Yeager, Colin Powell, Deke Slayton, Dr. Seuss, F. Lee Bailey, F. W. de Klerk, Francoise Gilot, Friz Freleng, Harrison Schmitt, I. M. Pei, James Lovell, James Michener, Jane Goodall, John Glenn, Jonas Salk, Julia Child, Lech Walesa, Linus Pauling, Margaret Mead, Matt Groening, Nguyen Cao Ky, Norman Mailer, Norman Rockwell, Omar Bradley, Peter Max, Ralph Nader, Sally Ride, Stephen King, Thor Heyerdahl, Truman Capote, and William Shockley. There are even some presidents and first ladies: George Bush, Barbara Bush, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson (as simply “LBJ”), Richard Nixon, and Eleanor Roosevelt

As mentioned above, the collection is accompanied by a matching spreadsheet that documents its bulk but, for reasons unknown, the spreadsheet stops at album #563; the albums from #564 onward remain temptingly uncatalogued. However, perusing these albums reveals a continuing solid selection of notable names, a smattering of which include: Alicia Keyes, Benicio Del Toro, Beyonce, Bill Wyman, Boy George, Breaking Bad (Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Jonathan Banks), Carrie Fisher, Clarence Clemons, Clint Eastwood, Daniel Day-Lewis, David Lee Roth, Dennis Hopper, Dustin Hoffman, Ewan MacGregor, Francis Ford Coppola, George W. Bush, Heath Ledger, Hugh Jackman, Javier Bardem, Jeff Lynne, John Glenn, Jon Bon Jovi, Lil’ Bow Wow, Luke Perry, Magic Johnson, Mariah Carey, Marilyn Manson, Matthew McConaughey, Meg Ryan, Mel Gibson, Morgan Freeman, Nancy Pelosi, Noel Gallagher, Norm Macdonald, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Pink, Quentin Tarantino, Rob Lowe, Russell Crowe, Scarlett Johansson, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and even some writers, including Margaret Atwood, Anne Rice, and Joyce Carol Oates

Included with the autograph album collection are over 100 photos that Charles also got signed, primarily film scenes picturing actors and actresses, with a small handful of big band and opera singers. Condition of these is generally very good, with creasing and edge tears, and are almost all vintage. Names include (and some of these have duplicates): Alexis Smith, Anthony Quinn, Basil Rathbone (poor condition), Bette Davis, Betty Grable, Bob Hope, Diana Barrymore, Dorothy Lamour, Edward Everett Horton, Evelyn Keyes, Ginger Rogers, Gregory Peck, Jack Carson, Janet Gaynor, Joan Blondell, Lew Ayres, Mamie Van Doren, Mantan Moreland, Marie Wilson, Mickey Rooney, Penny Singleton, Rhonda Fleming, Ruth Hussey, Sylvia Sidney, Terry Moore, Thomas Mitchell, Virginia Mayo, and Yul Brynner

A collection that truly must be seen to be appreciated, we invite interested bidders to view the collection in-person in our offices, or via the spreadsheet posted on our website. Please note that, while we are confident that every signature here was obtained in-person and is unquestionably authentic, this once-in-a-lifetime offering is sold as-is, and with no returns.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts Ft. Sports Cards
  • Dates: #629 - Ended February 09, 2022