#1 WHAT/HOW SHOULD YOU WRITE? Always handwrite your letters. It gives the recipient that personal touch/contact. If your handwriting is unreadable then opt for printed and personally signed letters.
#2 HOW LONG SHOULD MY LETTER BE? Your letter should never be too long! Keep it short but try to include something linked to that person, praise, THANK them for a certain role in a movie or maybe an achievement they have acclaimed, always make it a positive letter. A bit of research could land you that badly wanted AUTOGRAPH/SIGNATURE so find out past work or Biography. A great site is in our Link section called 1mdb!
#3 A COLLECTOR OR A FAN? Sometimes it’s best NOT to mention that your an AUTOGRAPH COLLECTOR as this may sound as though you are collecting to profit! A celebrity is always more likely to sign for a TRUE FAN rather than a collector! (Through personal experience)
#4 YOU DON’T ASK, YOU WON’T GET! Always ask for an autograph! Just because you have written to DAVID BECKHAM to say ‘THANKS’ for that amazing goal he scored does NOT mean that he will write back to you with his autograph!
#5 PERSONALIZED? I usually ask for a personalized autograph because it always has a personal value to me and when shown to family and friends it seems to put you in contact with that certain person!
#6 SHOULD YOU SEND A PHOTO/ITEM OR CARD? Well, sometimes all work! But first time round I would always recommend sending at least a 5X3 blank card as in some cases the celebrity does NOT have any photo’s to sign! There may be times that you will get both back!(A nice extra bonus!) If you send too many items you may NOT get any back, your celebrity may get suspicious as to why you request so many photo’s/items to be signed!
#7 SHOULD I SEND A S.A.E? I strongly recommend using a SELF-ADDRESSED ENVELOPE (S.A.E) this will improve your chances of success dramatically! Always use the correct stamp value on it! You can find out most postage rates for various countries on POST OFFICE sites via the internet! All postage depends on weight, so if you are hoping to receive extra items back, then make sure you’ve provided the amount on your S.A.S.E (SELF-ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE)!
#8 WHAT SIZE/TYPE ENVELOPE? I have always used Manilla envelopes 9x11, on both letters I always write with BIG lettering below both addresses, DO NOT BEND! This way your Postie will take extra care of your photo’s/letters!
#9 SUCCESSES & FAILURES? Always keep a database or Log your details to whom you have written/DATE SENT/ADDRESS SENT TO. It’s hard to remember when/if you start sending 10 or 20 every month! It is so exciting waiting for the postman to arrive every morning, wondering if he’s going to deliver that long awaited autograph! Be patient, sometimes it may take as long as 6 months to a year+ depending on how busy your celebrity may be? 2 days was my quickest and 26 months the longest but well worth the wait!
#10 WHAT IF AN RTS? An RTS is known as a RETURN TO SENDER! Not a good letter for us collectors/fans!! First things first is tick it off my database/Log as an RTS or bad address, then try and find out more about this personality! Where are they filming at the moment? Are they on stage? On Tour? Check the newspapers about forthcoming events! Ceremonies or Awards! One thing to do is NOT GIVE-UP!!
#11 JOIN A CLUB! By joining a club it gives you so much information regarding so many celebs! Venues, Dates, Concerts, Management Companies/P.R’s, AND usually addresses!!! By joining it can save you hours and hours of research via the papers and internet and at such a small usually annual cost!!
#12 MAGAZINES-PUBLICATIONS! Publications such as PEN & QUILL, THE AUTOGRAPH TIMES OR THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTOR are great monthly publications.
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AUTOGRAPH COLLECTING JARGON MADE EASY!
AUTOPEN: (A) An autopen is a machine that is used sometimes to trace a persons signature! It is often used when a large accumulation of paperwork/cards are to be signed. The machine traces the original autograph and re-signs repeatedly.’Good’ AUTOPENS can be very difficult to detect but there are always certain ways to determine the use of an AUTOPEN!
PRE-PRINTS: (PP) A pre-print is simply a photographic copy of an original photograph/picture that was signed. Easy to detect by holding up to a light, the signature will be the same texture as the rest of the surface as the autograph will be underneath the gloss of the photo. Also, in most cases the signature will be in the same place on each photo. Many people have and are fooled by hard to detect pre-prints!
FORGERIES: Unfortunately, there are many forgeries within the Autograph market these days! Only purchase from a respected or reputable dealer. Compare it to samples that are known to be authentic! Sanders price guide along with other Autograph books show many examples of various autographs. Although signatures can change over time there should NOT be major differences to the signature. If a signature looks to have been written slowly or pause marks half way through it be wary! Prices should be monitored! If someone is selling a DAVID BECKHAM AUTOGRAPH for a few dollars or pounds then obviously ask WHY so cheap? Auctions can be great places to pick up rare autographs depending on their source! Most auction rooms sell with Authenticity intact, whereas some on-line auctions may not check this and it can be a lottery, FAKE OR AUTHENTIC?
CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY: (COA) A Certificate of Authenticity may be sent with an autograph! Any seller can print one of these with a good printer, try and ask for dates obtained, where from, venues or via post etc!
IP: (IN PERSON)
ISP/IPS: (INSCIBED SIGNED PHOTO)
SP: (SIGNED PHOTO)
IC/ICS: (INDEX CARD-SIGNED)
TC: (TRADING CARD)
TTP: (THROUGH THE POST)
VV: (VIA A VENUE)
B&W (BLACK&WHITE PHOTO)
C: (COLOUR PHOTO)
IRC: (INTERNATIONAL REPLY COUPON) A coupon can be used for postage reply when sending mail Internationally when foreign stamps/postage is unavailable.
The BEST advice I could give to you all is ENJOY IT! Collecting Autographs can be so rewarding and sometimes you may be surprised just what could be in the mail on it’s way to you?