Chapter II: What and Where to
- The first thing the future autograph collector
needs to do is decide how and what you want to collect. What
are your interests? There are sports, medicine, inventors, political,
aviation, civil war, film, music, art, legal and many more interesting
fields to choose. You can obtain autographs in person or through
the mail. To obtain autographs of those notables you admire who
are deceased you will need to find a professional autograph dealer.
If you live in a major city, chances are so do some celebrities.
You may want to go to a bookstore and purchase one of the many
books available that list celebrity addresses. You may also want
to read your newspaper and see who has just accomplished a major
breakthrough or invented a new item that will change the world.
Use your imagination when writing a celebrity, just dont
ask for an autograph. Show interest in their work, ask a question
about their accomplishment. You may be surprised as to the response
you may get. Avoid the games some simpletons in our hobby practice
by sending 30 3"x5" cards to a celebrity. They will
claim they are enclosing a card for each student in their class.
Of course it is a class they dont have. Celebrities have
been wise to this awful trick for some time. Some celebrities
have even shared the name of the so-called teacher amongst other
Should you live in a town that has a theater, position yourself
at the stage door minutes after the play or show. Most celebrities
will stop and sign. Many famous persons have written a book and
can be found at a book signing in every major city. This is a
sure way of meeting the celebrity face to face and getting a
genuine signature. Be sure to bring your camera as most celebrities
will take a moment for a quick snapshot.
Fans of baseball are usually lucky obtaining autographs at spring
training games. Many collectors have luck writing members of
sports celebrities via their respective Hall of Fame.
There are collectors shows all over the United States and some
major cities around the world. Everyone from movie celebrities
to Playboy Playmates and astronauts can appear at these events
to sign autographs.
Look in your yellow pages for Used and Rare Book Stores.
Many of these stores can have letters, documents, signed photographs
and signed books available for sale from time to time. Some shops
may not even know they have signed books on their shelves.
You may also want to take advantage of attending local stamp,
coin and military shows which have always been a good source
for an occasional autograph surprise. Many stamp dealers will
have First Day Covers signed by sports figures, celebrities and
First Flight Covers signed by noted aviators. Dont forget
to look through stampless covers that might contain a very rare
free franking signature. A free frank is a signature usually
found near the top right hand of the envelope which is in lieu
of a stamp. Many coin dealers can have an occasional letter,
stock certificate or historical document signed by a notable
person. Quite often documents signed by presidents of the United
States can be found at a coin dealers booth.
Its best to focus on a specific subject matter. You may
eventually become an expert in your field of collecting. Some
of the best collections belong to those collectors who were able
to focus early on with their collection.
Chapter III: Choosing a Professional Autograph