I would not pay anyone for an autograph, but the question reminds me of a nice moment from some years ago. I was at the Leopardstown Race Course outside Dublin when a young Kenenisaw Bekele burst onto the world scene by winning both the junior and senior World Cross Country Championship on consecutive days. Through a friend who worked for a shoe company, I had an all access pass, and in the club house, I talked to another American who asked if he could borrow a pen. I gave him my felt tip pen. The guy returned a couple minutes later and said he got his autograph. OK, I said, but where is my pen. The fellow told me the guy who signed the autograph kept the pen.
So I went over and waited to talk to a proper looking white haired gentlemen in a nice suit, signing autographs with my felt tip pen. When I got to the head of the line, I introduced myself to the gentleman, and politely said he had my pen. Apparently, he had never seen a felt tip pen before, and he asked me if I'd accept five Euro for it. I did not want to take my pen back from one of Ireland's greatest athletes. I sheepishly said he could keep the pen, and asked if he'd sign an autograph for my friend Joe back home, who was afflicted with ALS. The gentleman said he'd be happy to. He wrote on a small piece of paper and I walked away without my pen. On the paper was written the following:
"To Joseph, Best Wishes
Ronald Delaney, Melbourne, 1956"
Modesty prevented him from adding the following: "Gold Medalist 1,500 meters."