Autograph Collecting Tips

Learn how to collect autographs from celebrities and famous people for almost nothing!

Ever wanted your favorite movie and TV star's autograph? How about your favorite author? Or sports personality? Here's a little secret: autographs of public personalities are quite easy obtained! All you need is some stationery, some postage and a few addresses. And it's a relatively cheap hobby to take up, too.

Most celebrities - actors and actresses, authors, sports personalities, politicians and other people in the public light - oblige through-the-mail autograph requests as a part of their public relations. In most cases, they will provide a signed photo of themselves or sign items you send them.

The first thing you'd want to do is find the addresses of celebrities whose autographs you want to collect. You can find mailing addresses of actors and actresses care of their agents or their show (you can find the address in the rolling credits at the end of the show). If you know of celebrities who are currently in town you could send a request care of their hotel or the theatre/stadium they are acting/playing in. Requests can be sent to authors through their publishers, and politicians generally have their mailing address well publicized. The best place to get celebrity addresses, however, is the Internet - there are a lot of sites online that feature autograph collecting and good addresses to send to. www.autographcentral.com is a good starting point for address lists.



Making Requests

Your through-the-mail requests should include your request letter, any items for signing and a SASE. Your request letter should at all times be polite, neat and short - no more than one typed or handwritten page. Also, it's good to be sincere when making your request - it helps to write about the celebrity's achievements. Your letter should make it very clear that you are requesting an autograph. You could include with your request a photograph or index cards you would like the celebrity to sign. Remember that at no time is the celebrity obligated to send you an autograph, although most of them do.

Tools of the Trade

Autograph collecting is relatively cheap; a lot of the money you spend will be on stationery. For starters, you will need 9" by 12" envelopes for your SASEs. These should have your address as both the addressee and the sender. It helps if you mark clearly on the corner the words "DO NOT BEND" so whatever sent to you doesn't get mishandled. Of course, you need envelopes large enough to contain the SASEs and request letter. Business-sized envelopes are recommended - the SASEs can be folded. Lastly, you need the required postage on the SASE. If you don't have the same kind of postage from the celebrity because you live in a different countries, try getting International Reply Coupons (IRCs) from your post office. These coupons can be exchanged for postage of equivalent value internationally.

Building the collection

Depending on how many and how frequent you send requests, you could get successful replies as early as two weeks to maybe a year. For most part, you should get authentic, sometimes even personalized, autographs through the mail. Be prepared, however, for unsuccessful replies; some of your requests might get rejected or be unreplied. The key to this hobby is to send requests frequently and regularly to ensure a steady stream of requests coming in.

You might want to start carefully filing and storing your autographs or frames them from display. Generally, you should keep them in a cool, dry place, filing them in clear pockets; if you plan to frame them and display them, remember that the images tend to fade in sunlight and time.

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