Eyebrows of rare book and signature collectors will rise this fall when an extraordinary collection with a tender mission will be available for an online auction beginning November 9-24, 2009.

Dubbed The Little Auction That Could, the 70+ collection includes signatures from some of the most iconic figures of our time, including President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, JK Rowling and Tiger Woods.

Passionate about education and literacy, volunteer mom Karla Preissman wanted to foster a love of reading among children living at Jensen Beach, Florida-based Hibiscus Children’s Center who have suffered from abuse and neglect. First, she helped create the Reef Library within the shelter and filled it with hundreds of books and resources. But that wasn’t enough…she wanted to make sure that these resources would be replenished and the library maintained and supported by staff that would help make literacy a key component to the healing received at the foster care center.

She came up with an idea. Why not ask famous people what books inspired them as a child and ask them to simply sign their names in a copy that would be auctioned for the benefit of Hibiscus Children’s Center? What started off as a simple request has mushroomed into a wildly varied and fascinating glimpse of what some of the most famous people on the planet believed to be a motivating book from childhood. Other iconic figures, such as President Barack Obama, signed a book symbolic of his time in office—a first edition pop-up White House children’s book.

Author and poet Maya Angelou submitted three signed books, one coming from her personal library called Story of Phillis Wheatley detailing the life of a slave turned poet during the American Revolution. How do you place a value on a collectible item like that?

Other stars who have taken part include Hugh Hefner, Sean Connery, Arnold Palmer, Andy Roddick, Chris Evert, Katie Couric, Jay Leno, Jeff Probst, Bill Cosby, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lee Ann Womack, Tori Amos, Carrie Underwood, Donald Trump and many more.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based antiquarian book dealer and appraiser Robert Hittel believes, “Owning one or more books from this eclectic collection would be the cornerstone of anyone’s collection.”

For the complete listing of signed books and information about bidding, click here. To see the collection firsthand, visit the exhibition at the Elliott Museum in Stuart, Florida beginning November 6 through November 29, 2009.

Founded in 1985, Hibiscus Children’s Center is a non profit organization that addresses abuse and neglect issues throughout the Florida Treasure Coast. Programs include Foster Care, parental support, counseling for families in crisis and services to reunite children with their families, when appropriate. Click here for more info on this charity.

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