When the OJ Las Vegas robbery scandal recently became a big news story, we received calls from many news organizations to comment on the OJ Simpson memoralia market, and presumably the impact on the market of his recent activities.
We had to tell every reporter that, really, we were probably the worst place in the world to call for comment because we have had a long-standing policy of not accepting OJ Simpson material for auction. This is a formal policy we have communicated about in writing with bidders and consignors. When we publish the REA auction catalog, what we want as much as anything is to create a catalog that we are proud of. At the end of the day, all we have is the catalog. We don’t care what OJ items are worth (and we’ve turned down some of the best). We just don’t want OJ in our catalog, and as we have for years promised our bidders and consignors, you will never see OJ memorabilia in an REA catalog.
After sending every reporter away empty-handed regarding information about the OJ Simpson memorabilia market, it was particularly amusing to see one paper - The New York Daily News - actually make reference to REA’s no-OJ policy. We’re mentioned at the end of this article (below) by Mike Lupica. We understand that OJ is out on bail today. We just hope he understands that we don’t have any of “his stuff!”
Robert Edward Auctions LLC
Wake up, O.J. Simpson: Only you think you’re untouchable
By Mike Lupica
Wednesday, September 19th 2007 They never got Al Capone, a celebrity bum of his time the way O.J. Simpson is now, for things like the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. But they did finally get him on five counts of tax evasion. It was enough to send Capone to Alcatraz, where a guy who ran the mob in Chicago and thought he ran the whole world became another guy carrying a mop.Now, in Las Vegas, they come after O.J. Simpson for the grubby crime of trying to steal - or steal back, if you believe his version of things - some football memorabilia, some of it with his own grubby signature on it.”You think you can steal my s— and sell it?” Simpson is heard saying on an audiotape of the incident obtained by TMZ.com.Later he says: “You know this s— ain’t over.”We can only hope. Mostly that going through life being bimbo-dumb has finally caught up with O.J. Simpson.
It is way too early to know how the system will go for him this time. For now we just know that Simpson is among those being charged with armed robbery and burglary for a hotel break-in over the weekend. We know he has been held without bail since the weekend, and that there is a bail hearing in Vegas today.
By now most of the world has heard that audiotape, one that doesn’t seem to help him very much. But please remember this is O.J. Simpson we are talking about. Since he lives in a world where you can get away with murder, he certainly has to believe that he will walk away from this.
Or perhaps his arrogance, a star’s arrogance impossible to unlearn, will get him sent away this time, the way Capone got sent away for a much lesser crime than murder.
Simpson, who continues to move in and out of light like a cockroach, was conditioned to believe in one sort of star treatment when he was a great football player. Then came a different kind, when he was acquitted of charges of killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and a friend of hers named Ron Goldman.
So why wouldn’t he think he could go into a hotel room acting like some kind of hopped-up punk, backed by guns, sounding every bit as mean and crazy as he actually is? In his squirrely brain, he is still the Juice, after all. He has operated outside of laws of normal behavior since he first started breaking tackles as a kid. Why stop now?
Nobody is supposed to say no to him, not his ex-wife, certainly not some cheap memorabilia dealer. Nobody was supposed to say no to Michael Vick, even when he was killing and torturing dogs.
Nobody is saying that Vick is O.J. Simpson. This is about the world in which they live. Vick knew all about the culture of fame, the power that comes with it, because he is another athlete famous since high school, even if he has never been as famous in football as O.J. was. And when a culture of hero worship becomes your reality, of course you think the rules don’t apply to you.
Of course Bill Belichick, the most famous and successful of all current football coaches, thinks it is perfectly fine to illegally videotape an opponent. Of course a power-drunk executive like Isiah Thomas would think he could make the rules about executive conduct - and language, for whites and blacks! - now that he has been given the run of Madison Square Garden.
Of course O.J. would be obsessive about his “stuff,” if only because of what it represents, which means everything he once was. You could go on the Internet yesterday and type in “O.J. Simpson memorabilia” and come up with all sorts of exciting opportunities. There was an operation known as Grandstand Sports Memorabilia Inc., selling an official autographed NFL football signed by Simpson for $359.10, and an 8-by-10 autographed color photo from $179.10, down from $199.00, but maybe about to go up now that he’s busted again.
I called Grandstand and asked what kind of market there is for Simpson memorabilia, and the guy on the phone said, “I don’t know.”
Then he said he was new at Grandstand.
Then he hung up.
Rob Lifson, president of Robert Edward Auctions in Watchung, N.J., one of the biggest and most reputable sports memorabilia auction houses in the country, said this yesterday:
“I know some [Simpson memorabilia] has value, but he’s one guy we have a policy on. We don’t handle O.J. stuff. We’ve turned down uniforms, artwork, autographs, all of it.”
Lifson said that only if Simpson’s football card happened to be in a set would he make any kind of exception.
“I e-mailed all of my customers [in 2004, when he took over sole control of his company] and said that we wouldn’t be dealing in O.J. memorabilia,” he said. “Basically, I get to set the rules now for my company, and I say, ‘no’ to O.J.”
Lifson better watch himself. Or at least find a way to bolt his door. Say no to O.J. Simpson, even now, at your own risk.
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