Some of the top names from the autograph collection of Randy Kaplan. He launched his collection in 1996, with the autograph of Bill Clinton, and has gathered 130 autographed baseballs to date.

These are some of the top names from the autograph collection of Randy Kaplan. He launched his collection in 1996, with the autograph of Bill Clinton, and has collected 130 autographed baseballs to date.

Credit:

Alina Simone

With the help of foreign ministry officials, Zoltan Marian managed to get a signed photo of Fidel Castro during the Cuban leader’s only visit to Hungary, in 1972. Castro is the world’s sought-after living autograph, valued at approximately $5,800 by Paul

With the help of foreign ministry officials, Zoltan Marian managed to get a signed photo of Fidel Castro during the Cuban leader’s only visit to Hungary, in 1972. Castro is the world’s most sought-after autograph, among living people, with each copy valued at approximately $5,800 by Paul Fraser Collectibles.

Credit:

Courtesy Zoltan Marian

Under Hungary’s Communist regime, it was dangerous for Zoltan to write to Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet from Hungary and ask for his autograph. But in 1975, while visiting friends in England, Zoltan decided to send a request. Within a month, he receiv

Under Hungary’s Communist regime, it was dangerous for Zoltan to write to Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and ask for his autograph. But in 1975, while visiting friends in England, Zoltan decided to send a request. Within a month, he received a signed and dedicated photo. Fifteen years later, when the Communist system in Hungary was abolished, Zoltan wrote to Pinochet again and received another signed photo and a personal letter.

Credit:

Courtesy of Zoltan Marian

Former Czech leader Alexander Dubček was under house arrest when Zoltan started seeking his autograph in the early 1970s.  The Kremlin blamed Dubček for instigating the Prague Spring. All letters addressed to him went to a Czechoslovak Police official, wh

Former Czech leader Alexander Dubček was under house arrest when Zoltan started seeking his autograph in the early 1970s. The Kremlin blamed Dubček for instigating the Prague Spring. All letters addressed to him went to a Czechoslovak Police official, who told the Hungarian police about Zoltan. Zoltan was warned to “stop writing those letters to Dubček,” but he remained undeterred. A Hungarian TV reporter advised him to address the envelope not to Dubček, but rather to his wife, Anna, under her maiden name. Dubček signed two photos for Zoltan, using his wife’s maiden name as the sender.

Credit:

Courtesy of Zoltan Marian

Vo Nguyen Giap is the self-taught general who fought both the First Indochina War against the French (1946-1954), and the Vietnam War (1960-1975) against the Americans. He was often referred to as “Red Napoleon.“ General Giap’s signature was not easy to g

Vo Nguyen Giap is the self-taught general who fought both the First Indochina War against the French (1946-1954), and the Vietnam War (1960-1975) against the Americans. He was often referred to as “Red Napoleon.“ General Giap’s signature was not easy to get. Zoltan wrote him several times, but his letters went unanswered. Finally he sent a photo of Giap showing him and US Defense Secretary Robert McNamara at a 1995 meeting in Hanoi. McNamara had already signed the photo, and Zoltan forwarded it to Giap through a contact in Hanoi. Giap also signed and dated the photograph — but he wrote his name partly over the signature of McNamara. Zoltan believes “he wanted to show he was ‘greater’ than his former American enemy/colleague.”

Credit:

Courtesy of Zoltan Marian

Ukraine is an important country for Zoltan’s collection. Since Leonid Kravchuk, he has managed to get every Ukrainian President and Prime Minister’s signed photo. His favorite is Yulia Tymoshenko, who drew a heart under her signature.

Ukraine is an important country in Zoltan’s collection. He has managed to get every Ukrainian president and prime minister since Leonid Kravchuk to send him a signed photo. His favorite is Yulia Tymoshenko, who drew a heart under her signature.

Credit:

Courtesy of Zoltan Marian

The Holy Crown of Hungary, also known as the Crown of Saint Stephen, was the coronation crown used by the Kingdom of Hungary for most of its existence, since the twelfth century. During World War II, the crown jewels disappeared and were later recovered i

The Holy Crown of Hungary, also known as the Crown of Saint Stephen, was the coronation crown used by the Kingdom of Hungary for most of its existence, since the 12th century. During World War II, the crown jewels disappeared and were later recovered in Austria by the American Army. For much of the Cold War, the crown was kept at Fort Knox. After undergoing extensive historical research to verify the crown as genuine, it was returned to the people of Hungary by order of US President Jimmy Carter on January 6, 1978. Hungary wanted the Americans to return the Crown much earlier, but previous presidents refused. Zoltan could only find one photo of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter with the Holy Crown. They both signed it for him.

Credit:

Courtesy of Zoltan Marian

A few of Randy Kaplan's signed baseballs and photos

Randy Kaplan shows a few of the signed baseballs and photos in his collection.

Credit:

Alina Simone

Randy Kaplan recently expanded his collection to include customized baseball bats signed by US presidents and high-ranking officials.

Randy Kaplan recently expanded his collection to include customized baseball bats signed by US presidents and high-ranking officials.

Credit:

Courtesy Randy Kaplan

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