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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The autograph knife collection is back in the spotlight: ‘I had to get rid of the autograph in the first place’

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Michael Rosenblatt raised and scraped the ink off his knife. Still missing was Maximilian Theiss, the German aristocrat he admired and once saved from professional suicide.

“The only thing I ever wanted was that one autograph,” Mr. Rosenblatt, 65, said of the 65-year-old private collector who still has the misspelled-on-the-back Autograph Knife, a gift that his daughter soon after gave to him. “But it was half-a-million dollars, so I threw it away.”

Fortunately, the autograph knife is back in public and back for sale. Mr. Rosenblatt agreed to talk about his oddball hobby — a collection of autographs, scraps and suitcases with the autographs of celebrities he says he has never met. He also signed off on whether this strange collectible and its exotic auctioneer with eccentric gifts have been at odds all along.

Mr. Rosenblatt began the quest in 1979 with the help of autograph print dealer Adam Rosenblatt. It took him to Uruguay, where Maximilian Theiss was an heir to a great fortune. He also founded an indie record label that once released Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, Mr. Rosenblatt said. He can save countless people from having autographs torn out of newspapers — but not Maximilian Theiss.

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