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Chapter XII: Autograph Education.

Don’t leave all the work up to your professional autograph dealer. Most of the fun collecting is doing your own research. The dealer can only put so much time into each piece that they sell. Many interesting bits of information can be found about an item by doing your own research. In fact, more research can make your piece more valuable. If you have a letter from a notable look at the name of the person he is writing. Do some research on that person. See if you can find a connection? Look at the date of the letter, did something historically important happen on that day? Can your letter be one of the last the celebrity wrote?

Building your own autograph reference library will be very rewarding. You would be surprised how many sellers of autographs barely have one. With a little effort you can build a good library by purchasing many of the books on collecting autographs and numerous signature studies that have been published. Some of the earlier reference books go back to the early 1800's. Reference books can be found in used book stores and on different websites on the internet such as www.abebooks.com www.biblio.com or www.alibris.com . Type in the name of the author and hopefully if you know the title and see what is being offered. Some real bargains can be found on these sites especially for the newer titles. A favorite with many collectors is trying to accumulate as many autograph reference books and signature studies as possible, signed or inscribed by the author.

Eventually you will discover the more you learn, the more there is to learn in this wonderful hobby of ours!
Chapter XIII: Conclusion (Contiuned)