How To Do Autograph Collecting -- The Inexpensive Way We have always heard about the hoarding done by the packrat. In fact, when we find someone who has a problem throwing away things, the first thing we think of is the packrat. People have been collecting all sorts of things since the beginning of time. How many times have you heard someone called a packrat? Well some packrats today are known as collectors. However there is one major problem for some collectors, can you afford it? Many of you can not afford the autograph collecting that you enjoy so much and that means so much in your down time. Autograph collecting could mean buying concert tickets that are expensive. In addition, travel expense may have to be factored when going to a concert out of town. On the other hand autograph collecting can become opportunistic at various events, such as a weddings, anniversaries, vacations, honeymoons, and graduations. This is a good inexpensive way to do some autograph collecting. Some of these autographs collected have sentimental meanings to you. They may be reminders of a special event in our lives. That is why it is so devastating when valuables such as autographs are lost in catastrophic situations. In our everyday lives, most of us do not have an opportunity to meet the movie stars, sports heroes, musicians, idols and others that we adore so much. Therefore autograph collecting is one way you can become close to them and get a feel for your star. Die hard autograph collecting is done by sending something that can be signed such as an autograph book or a book a person you know who is going to a concert or other activity that your celebrity will appear. This is what is known by some as an exchange in autograph collecting. Decide on the autograph collecting you want done. Then look out for the itinerary of these individuals so if you can do some opportunistic autograph collecting, you can put it on your calendar. Let this list reflect all the autographs you want to add to your collection. This will help you to remember and keep you from missing out on a chance to do some autograph collecting. If you have relatives living in other areas, you may want to let them know what autographs you are collecting. Autograph collecting of your favorites is possible through these close relatives when they attend concerts, and other events. Estate sales and auctions are other good sources to do autograph collecting. It is not unheard of to obtain a great find from some of these sources. Many times family members are not aware of the valuable things in their possession. During the spring, summer, and fall months many opportunities are available for autograph collecting at yard sales, festivals, and other outdoor functions. Writing fan mail to the famous is another inexpensive way to do some autograph collecting. All it will cost you is a stamp, paper, pen/computer, envelope and mailing it. Make sure your letter is short and that you put a SASE inside of your letter. How to do Autograph Collecting Via Mail Since the days of the pony express, collectors have used the mail to get those things that they treasure, desire and collect. Today is no different. With today high technology, just about any thing you want can be obtained by mail. Autograph collecting is one of those things that is done by mail. By using the mail you can get autographs that you may not be able to get any other way. Collecting via mail is easy. Some research on your part may have to be done first. You have to know the full name and address of your celebrity. The full name may not be necessary in every case, but you do have to know the name the celebrity uses most frequently. When you are autograph collecting via mail, you also need stamps, #10 envelopes, 9x12 envelopes, pen, unlined paper and unlined cards. If you have a computer, there are many sources available that will help you with your research. After you have gotten all your supplies and addresses, you are now ready to make some contact. Now you are ready to compose your letter. It is always a good idea to type your request. If you cannot type it or get someone to do it for you, make sure you take time to write legible. Let's remember that celebrities are busy so whatever you write needs to be brief, readable and cordial. If you are not brief and to the point, there is a much lesser chance of you getting a response because they may not have time to read a long 2 or 3 page letter. Some even type AUTOGRAPHED PHOTO in all caps. By all means don't mention your request casually. Also remember to be complimentary, after all they are human beings too and may just need a little lift. Just in case your celebrity does not have an available photo, autograph collecting includes 3x5 cards that are signed. These cards may prove to be just as valuable some years later as a signed photo. Autograph collecting can take many forms whether via mail or in person. You need to be prepared to pay postage if you are autograph collecting via mail. It is not fair for the celebrity to give you a photo/signature and pay the postage. Put one stamp on your #10 envelope and 2 stamps on your 9x12 envelop. Make sure you put your return address on your #10 envelopes. This provides an avenue for you to be contacted if there are any problems with your mailing. Your autograph collecting is enhanced when you cover all of your bases. Even though you have done everything you can think of autograph collecting via mail takes a lot of patience. Autograph collecting from these busy people take time. Travel, work schedules, appearances, fun and time with family take up much of their time. Supplying photos and autographs for autograph collecting is probably done on down time by them or an assigned member of their staff. When you are autograph collecting via mail, it may take years to receive a response. So sit back and relax!How to do Autograph Collecting In Small Town America Small town America has always been known for a Main Street. It means just what the name says too. This is the main street in this community or it was in years passed. There are certain businesses that populate this street. You always have a drug store of some sorts, a variety store, a post office, a grocery store and usually one church. This is also the block or street where people from the community meet and greet each other. As you know autograph collecting is not just about movie stars, sports heroes, military figures, politicians, and other famous people. Autograph collecting is done with the not so famous. It depends on where you are, and the goals you have for your autograph collecting. Some collectors find it a challenge to get as many autograph from people in the community as possible. The hometown drug store will have plenty of supplies for autograph collecting. On Main Street usually in these small communities people congregate almost every weekend. It is the local hangout and a perfect time to do autograph collecting. Where there are only about two hundred to a thousand people, over a period of time a large number of those people can be a part of your autograph collecting. The homey atmosphere makes it easy for you to get autographs. There are a limited number of politicians, and other standout people in these small mostly rural communities. But wait you may have your best chance in a small community to do autograph collecting with some very important people, such as politicians. This is especially true during the election year when politicians are campaigning. Every four years you have an opportunity to take your autograph collecting to another level. Politicians are prone to cover as many small communities as possible to get out the vote. Let's face it a large number of small town rural America come out and vote. Politicians are looking for every vote they can get. So here is your opportunity to get some autographs that may prove to be a very valuable investment of time in years to come. Have you thought about what you would have now if you had been able to get John F Kennedy's autograph from him when he was running for president? You would have a real valuable autograph today. Even though you are collecting in small town American, it does not mean you will not get some big time autographs. Autograph collecting in these small communities, affords you more of an opportunity to get close to a person to get the autograph. When you go to these political whistle stops be prepared, because it never fails, people come out of the wood work on these special and rare occasions. Remember there are others who are autograph collecting too. By all means bring several pens for autograph collecting. For some reason, pens tend to stick to your fingers and someone make just walk off with one of your pens. Therefore it will not hurt to have several pens with you. All About Autograph Collecting and Family History Since the TV series "Roots", there has been a surge of interest in tracing family roots and history. Autograph collecting has been one of the avenues used to record this history. Now every other family seeks to have some kind of reunion once a year, every two years, or in rare cases every five years. Many exchanges are made at these reunions including autographs. Other items may be collected such as old letters, birth certificates, wedding documents, and baptism records. Some of these reunions and family affairs such as weddings, anniversaries, graduations, and other special programs provide many different ways for those who are autograph collecting to get autographs. There are planned programs with pictures of participants and those who are being honored or remembered. These printed programs and pictures can be items used for autograph collecting. Some families maintain a scrap book with these signatures and pictures for reference information on the family. How many times have you been to a family function and did not know all of the family who were present? Autograph collecting is a super way to get to know family and to have something to remember one by as a point of reference. If you are from a large family, autograph collecting may be the only avenue available to you to make some personal contact in a short period of time. Many collectors record information about the person on the back including date, place, and the relation. When the person dies, the death date and cause of death may also be recorded on the back or somewhere close to the picture. Even before death, if you can record tidbits of information about the person, it may prove to be beneficial down the road. These tidbits of information may include the person's profession, health information, interests and anything else important to family. If you use autograph collecting to its fullest, you may just become the family historian and be contacted from time to time for some of this information that you have gathered. This kind of autograph collecting records a lot of health information about the family in most cases. Health professions have long known that the family blood line is the cause of many health problems. Rare diseases -- like hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia may have been in the family at one time. If you let your autograph collecting reflect family diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes your time will be one of the best investments you could make. Tracing the illnesses suffered by parents, grandparents may help the doctor to predict your risk for having these diseases. In your autograph collecting some of this information can be recorded when it becomes available. Very few people take the time to look on the back of a photo. Nevertheless, in addition to the signature on the picture, you will find it worth while if you provide a tag under each picture with name, date, and activity. Again there is no doubt that this kind of autograph collecting is one of the most valuable and rewarding investments you can make as a collector. That information will satisfy the average browser. What Are The Rewards Of Autograph Collecting? People are different as you know. Sometimes what is rewarding for you is not rewarding for others. So it is with autograph collecting. Most people are collectors of something. You may choose to collect autographs -- signed letters, documents, manuscripts, books, or photographs. Technology today offers few opportunities for you to hold literally pieces of authentic history in your hands. Personal connections to the past via autographs offer the unique satisfaction of being a part of the past. Autograph collecting for some can be more than just collecting. Let's look at some of the reasons you might want to collect autographs. Autograph collecting for some is a stimulating and an interesting pastime. History records that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt often turned to his autograph collecting as a diversion from the job of being president. Finding autographs is a certain way to learn more about people in whom you are interested. Pursuing a hobby of autograph collecting can be very entertaining and fruitful. Some autographs are later given to family and friends as special gifts for birthday, Christmas, graduation, wedding, and anniversary gifts. The recipient will be delighted to receive a well thought out gift of an admired individual of this nature. Autograph collecting can be an investment. You really never know when you will find that long sort after signature of a famous person. Collectors enjoy searching for signatures from any and every celebrity they can, but there are some collectors who enjoy a more selective search and prefer to collect the signatures of only their favorite celebrities. Autograph collecting has the power to bring moments in the past to life and helps us to feel a part of history. You are also able to feel the presence of a person and to share the experiences of that individual. Signed photos are especially good at expressing joy, inspiration, and exultation. Collectors who have some handwriting expertise may be able to get a better understanding of a person's signature than those who do not. It is believed that signatures tell lots about the inner person. There are many collectors who are history buffs. These people are interested in securing concrete evidence of history. So a manuscript signed by a famous person, especially found at a yard sale or a flea market or where ever is a treasurer find. Looking through old junk has produced many valuable finds that we read about almost every month or so. The find may even be a signed picture worth thousands of dollars. If you watch the auction shows on TV, you will see many signed artifacts individuals have bought at out of the way places for little or nothing. No matter where you find them, they offer valuable insights into the thoughts and aspirations of those who shaped history. Looking for these treasures is why many people collect. It may be the same kind of joy when your favorite team wins a game. There are collectors who collect a variety of things. Our present is defined by our past roots, and autograph collecting preserves an important part of our heritage. Why are you Autograph Collecting? For some people autograph collecting provides an important link between the past and the present. Autograph collecting takes many forms it depends on the interests; enthusiasm, and focus of the collector. People tend to treasure signatures and want to have concrete evidence of having known a celebrity, even if it is in a small way. Autograph collecting is one of the many avenues you can use to feel apart of some special event or person. Autograph collecting may be specialized for an example the autograph may document the life of a person. When there is the opportunity to live in the area where your celebrity lives, you have many options of how your autograph collecting will grow. Others may use autograph collecting to illuminate a certain field of endeavor, such as the arts as in painting. Collectors usually have special interests. These interests may be based on the environment, experience, education, travel, and so on. Autograph collecting sometimes starts with only one interest and then mushrooms into a potpourri of other autographs. Autograph collecting does not have to go in any special direction; it is sometimes determined by where the heart leads. Since people collect for different reasons, the autograph collecting does not have to be that of a famous person. One dentist in a small community collects teeth that are unusual. He gets permission from the patient to keep them. After they are mounted, he asks the patient to sign his name under his teeth. The patient autograph or signature makes the collection authentic and come alive for this dentist. So you can see some collect for sentimental reasons, some for historical reason, to some it is a hobby and for some it is a job. Yes there are those who make a living off of autograph collecting. If you idolize or have a great deal of respect for writers, actresses, athletics, painters, crafters, and scientists, or whomever, you may choose to start autograph collecting on anyone of them. With the growth of technology the original letters are becoming extinct. Communications are sent via fax and e-mail and the original letter has been replaced. Nevertheless autograph collecting is likely to be around for a long, long, time. Collected autographs are becoming rarer for autograph collecting. Real collectors find so much joy and fun in autograph collecting. In addition the challenge to get another autograph is always there. Did you know that some people attend certain events just to be in a position to get a certain autograph? It can be on a program, piece of paper, paper bag, napkin of it doesn't matter just so you get the autograph. When collecting those autographs be sure to get it in pen. An ink autograph is worth far more than one written in pencil. There are almost as many reasons for collecting as there are collectors. In our culture and highly civilized society, autograph collecting is valued because for the most part all of us want to actually own a piece of history or that special occasion. How Much Time Does It Take For Autograph Collecting? An investment in time may be all you need to become a success at autograph collecting. This hobby may be one of the least expensive hobbies. However, any hobby can become as expensive as you make it. There are many autograph collecting hobbyists. Some of these hobbyists are people of interests' themselves. In this hobby you are able to set goals and schedule your time to pursue this hobby when you have time. All you are looking for when you are autograph collecting is a signature. To get a signature does not have to take a month of Sundays. At big gatherings where there are large crowds, it may take more time to get an autograph than in a small setting. If the person is very famous, it may take hours to get a signature, because more than likely the lines will be longer than for a local community leader. Nevertheless, the autograph of a famous person will be more special than some one in the local community. If you keep abreast of activities in the community and surrounding areas you can plan your autograph collecting to maximize the time you have to get your autograph collecting done. A great place to look for autographs is at your local mall. On special occasions, celebrities show up at malls and you just may get a real autograph without a huge investment of time. Some autograph collecting is done by mail. If you decide to get your autographs by mail, be ware you may not get the real thing. Even if you decide to use the mail for your autograph collecting, it still will take time. In fact it will take much longer by mail than autograph collecting in person, if you get it at all. Take your chances, if mail is the only way for you to reach certain individuals for autographs collecting. Autograph collecting is a very enjoyable hobby, but you will need plenty of patience, time and stamina. Make it a habit to be prepared to collect autographs wherever you go. When you are prepared you are using the same time for many different things. For an example, you may go shopping and run into someone who is on your list of autograph collecting. Take time then if possible and get the autograph and Walla you have killed two birds with one stone. You just never know when you are going to run into a celebrity in a moment's notice. At least you can carry some index cards around with you and not miss out on the chance to get the autograph. Autograph collecting is a great way to spend free time. You get to meet new people and share ideas of interest with each other. In large metropolitan areas, you have to use caution, because there are many look a likes. So know who's who before you approach this person of interest. Autograph collecting can bring many moments in time to life with a better understanding of the person and the event. All About The History of Autograph Collecting As we look back to the beginning of recognized autograph collecting, we know that literacy was not what it is today. A great deal of the country did not read or write. The United States was mostly an agrarian nation. Autograph collecting in America did not get on good footing until 1815. According to newspaper accounts, William Sprague of Albany and Israel Tefft of Savannah were the first major Americans to start autograph collecting. People lived off of the land and there was little of no need for literacy as it related to their immediate livelihood. Transportation and communication was in its infancy and not what it is today. Therefore before you could do autograph collecting a degree of literacy had to be in place. During the colonial period, the ability to write was a reflection of your socio-economic status in the community where you lived. The style of script was supposed to match your social identity. Black slaves and non-elite women were denied the opportunity to learn to write. Nevertheless, commercial white men were encouraged to learn to write and to read. It was when writing literacy approached 100% among white Americans that autograph collecting begin to come to the forefront in this country. Handwriting analysis or graphology became increasingly popular after the Civil War and into the twentieth century. With the rising interest in individuality, autograph collecting became very popular with Americans. In the early 20th century, ordinary Americans wanted some individuality. The handwriting was one of those popular and desired forms of individuality notwithstanding autograph collecting. People could hardly contain themselves while waiting for the mailman to see if they had a letter from a love one. Stamps were check and mail was an inexpensive form of communication. Everybody had a desire to read and write and made an effort of sorts to learn. Any signature and all signatures were treasured during the early days of autograph collecting. Writing has always been important for preserving our history. Therefore in the beginning autograph collecting was one of the avenues used to collect history. Type setting was not like it is today so hand written manuscripts were treasured and very valuable. A handwritten manuscript in a broad sense is an autograph. It was recognized in the early days that autograph collecting was a way to collect history, not only governmental history, but history in every form including the art, literature, inventions, music and science. History seems to come alive when it feels like you have a piece of it. In the early history of autograph collecting, letters, notes, and documents all were under the autograph collecting umbrella. During this time signatures were the most inexpensive of autographs. The history of autograph collecting comes in several forms -- Books signed by the author, letters (handwritten or typed), documents (checks and contracts), manuscripts (short quotations written out), signed photographs (all sizes), presidential land grants, and signatures. Autograph collecting had its beginning by bringing moments in time to life. It is one of the oldest forms of collecting, and one of the most rewarding. What are the Fields In Autograph Collecting? There are many interesting pursuits in this world. But there are none more interesting than the art of autograph collecting. It all depends on the person who is doing the collecting. Autograph collecting can take a variety of forms and fields of interests. What are your interests? Whatever they are, you can find a niche in autograph collecting for it. Some of the more common and popular fields of interests are space, exploration, aviation, science, medicine, music, literature, fine and performing arts, presidents, military figures, history, entertainment, and sports. Within each field, you can choose to go in several areas or you may choose the area in general. Some choose to specialize within an area. Autograph collecting is serious business for some collectors, so they will choose one area within a field. An example of this may be sports and within that field autograph collecting is done in the area of baseball only. In fact baseball card autograph collecting is very popular on all socioeconomic levels. All ages are autograph collecting in baseball, including the very young to the wisdom matures and both genders. There are special books designed for keeping these cards. Many of these books have special features to help preserve the cards over a long period of time. Within the same area, a baseball may be used to collect an autograph. Have you ever watched a baseball game and seen the fans scrambling for baseballs hit into the stands? If you can get the ball signed by just one of those players, you have a valuable investment. During a space launch, many families go to Florida for the take off. In the field of interests of space, exploration and aviation, there are many things, such as airplanes, collected and used to get signature from those people that are recognized in the field. Some of the famous people make public appearances at malls, schools, games, and rallies. These appearances give the ordinary collector a chance to get autographs they may not have gotten otherwise. Those who are autograph collecting in history have many opportunities to collect autographs during political elections, especially during the presidential election. Autograph collecting can become a very busy pastime depending on the season and event. Concerts, art exhibits and displays also provide opportunities to meet and greet people of interests and to get an autograph. Autograph collecting in any one of these fields means that you have to become involved in what is going on around you. You must be somewhat active in the community so as not to miss out on opportunities to collect autographs. Signed manuscripts, historical documents, music sheets, books, and paintings are some of the most treasured pieces for those who are involved in autograph collecting. Several variables determine how value these items are or can become. One variable is the age of the item and how many are in circulation. The demand for the item is also a factor to be considered. If the person doing the autographing is still living, the autograph may not be as valuable as it will become once he is deceased. How Are You Autograph Collecting at Conventions? Autograph collecting takes time and concentration in almost every situation. Therefore you don't want to miss out on great opportunities or chances to pursue your hobby or a chance to add to your livelihood. What greater way is there to collect autographs than at one of your professional, church, political, fraternal, or social convention. If you are an active individual, and you must be since you are a collector, you will attend one or more conventions each year. You never know who you will meet at these conventions. So when you attend these events be prepared for autograph collecting. Many conventions have noted and well known guest speakers such as politicians, community activists, well known authors, and educators. If you purchase a book by an author and he is a guest at the convention, autograph collecting from that author is almost a sure thing. The nature of the convention will dictate more or less who will attend. Autograph collecting is limited sometimes when a convention is highly specialized, such as a convention for social workers, or a convention for day care workers and some of the other less poplar conventions. Even if you are not attending the convention it is sometimes possible to mingle among the conventioneers and get some autographs from noted speakers and other persons of interests. When you are autograph collecting you are giving a person a feeling of self worth. Who will refuse a chance to be recognized in a positive way? Conventions also provide many resources for you to use for autograph collecting. There are usually plenty of handouts pertaining to the convention plus there are other vendors there who are marketing. Some of these vendors hand out some of the things you may need down the road, like pens, pencils, and memo pads. If you by chance meet someone else who is autograph collecting, it affords you a great opportunity to exchange ideas about your collecting interest. It is very important to find out who is at these conventions. Have you ever been to a function and left and didn't know a certain celebrity was there until you were back home? It is easy to do because at conventions you are not in all the sessions that take place at these conventions. If you are not in a particular session you just don't know. People have been known to miss certain sessions at some of these conventions in order to meet and see other people. When you are autograph collecting you have to go where the autograph is. Remember that a renowned individual at a convention is not listed on the program. If they are not involved in the convention in a special way, the person in charge of the convention may not know this special individual is in the audience. It just may be coincidental that this person is in town during the convention. Your autograph collecting can take on a new meaning if you are able to get these autographs. How to Make Autograph Collecting Fun Autograph collecting must be fun since there are so many people involved in this wonderful pastime. If this is not Americana, just like apple pie and baseball, nothing is. In fact baseball for years has been one of the main avenues for autograph collecting. Children in particular who are able to go to baseball games during the summer months have increased the importance of recording history by collecting autographs on baseball cards. Every other kid it seems collect some type of sports cards. A lot of autograph collecting involves the signing of such cards. Not only children have a fascination with this type of autograph collecting but also adults. The sports cards, whether they are football, baseball, golf, or basketball, seem to be the favorite item for autograph collecting. During the days of Michael Jordan, autograph collecting on basketball cards took on a new meaning. Every other person wanted something with Michael Jordan on it. What better way to collect an autograph than via the use of a card. Children are great for exchanging these autograph cards. Autograph collecting has reached a new level because of this exchange of cards. When you buy a package of sports cards, you just may get some of the same cards you already have. Exchanging with others is a great way to get rid of your duplicates, if you want to, when you are autograph collecting. These cards are collected for the express purpose of getting the real autograph on them when the opportunity is there. Sporting events are packed full of fun when the professional teams come to town. It is good thing to have these exhibition games. These games are scattered about the country and through all the geographical regions. You have a good chance of getting some of your cards signed. The major professional leagues have exhibition games so the general public might get a chance to see a professional game close by. These games may not be in your home town, but somewhere near you. If you are autograph collecting, it will pay you, if at all possible to go so you can do come autograph collecting. Take you chances you just may get one of the big stars. If you have an interest in stock car racing another window of opportunity is opened to you. Again, there are many racing card packs on sale at collectible shops that you can buy. All of your favorite stock car drivers have cards on the market. Don't forget to go to the local Flea Markets when you are autograph collecting. Sometimes you can find hard to find cards there when you cannot find them in other places. When you go to these fun events, don't forget to do some autograph collecting with your collection of cards. Don't forget if you are at one of these fun events, there are a lot of different ways to get the signature of your favorite person. You may just want to do autograph collecting on the program that is pass out or some other collectible representing the event. How To Enhance Your Autograph Collecting When you are collecting autographs there is always the possibility of not getting what you think you are getting. Unless you see the person sign his signature, you do not know unless you secure an Authentication Service. You say, but it cost money to have his service. Yes it does cost but only a true expert can authenticate a signature. If you plan to sell this signature one day, you certainly want to know exactly what you are selling. In this way, you will be saved hours of painstaking research and legalities later on. There are authenticators for ever kind of collecting, so it is of utmost importance to obtain the services of an authenticator who specializes in autographs. Autograph collecting can be an important investment tool for your future. You just may be glad you have a certificate of authentication later on if you decide to sell some of your collection. Make sure when you are autograph collecting that all autographs are in ink. Pencil quality is not reliable. It just may fade based on storage conditions, such as heat, humidity, and light. You may wish to keep your most valuable autographs in a deposit box in your local bank. Some people have had valuable collections totally destroy with house fires, tornado, hurricanes, floods and the like. If you have invested valuable time autograph collecting, you no doubt would like to protect this collection. Even with authentication, mistakes are still made. When you are autograph collecting and buy an authenticated signature, just as in medicine, a second opinion will not hurt. You must always remember that where there is greed there is fraud. Money somehow tends to bring the worse out of us on one hand and the best out of us on the other hand. Autograph collecting is also tricky from the standpoint that a signature can change. As you advance from one stage of life to another stage of life you may find a slight variation in signatures. You no doubt can remember making a letter one way at a certain time in your life and now you make that same letter different today. This is especially true with capital letters. For some reason, you tend to change how you make them from time to time. Famous people will give you a scrawl or as some say "Chicken scratch" for a signature. Let's face it, they are human and sometimes don't have the time to do a lot of focused autograph signing. When you are autograph collecting a specific person, you may find a number of variations in the signature. This is especially true, if the person has a stroke or some other illness that will interfere with his or her ability to write. Certainly the signature will be difference if the person is able to sign his name at all. Autograph collecting is always a leap of faith, when buying autographs. The best way to obtain an autograph as you know is from the real person. This requires a different type of investment -- and that is time. How to do Autograph Collecting While Taking a Cruise Have you ever been on a trip and wished you had brought your camera? Well don't get caught being unprepared to do autograph collecting. When you take a cruise, there are many opportunities for you to do autograph collecting. Cruises expose you to a diverse population of people who live in a diverse and beautiful world. And believe it or not you have a chance to live with, talk to these people, and become a part of this diversity for the number of days you are cruising. Most of these people you have never seen and will never see again so why not bring them home with you by autograph collecting. This environment provides an opportunity for autograph collecting at an unusual level. Most collectors never get a chance to do this kind of autograph collecting because of the expense involved. On the ship you will find people of all nationalities, on all socioeconomic levels, various occupations, and educational levels. You never know when you are in the presence of someone who will be famous in future years. People take these cruises to have fun and as a vacation. Nevertheless, many are honored that you want their autograph and will give it to you willingly. If you are an autograph collecting enthusiastic, you will seek out diversity and when you get back to your cabin take the time to make notations about these signatures so you will be able to identify with them. While on the ship make sure you get signatures from as many of the officers and staff members as possible. During the food presentations try to get not only pictures of the food, but also but include the chefs and collect their autograph. During the nightly shows, your investment of time may pay off handsomely if you can collect autographs from some of the performers. There is a real chance that this kind of autograph collecting may pay off in a big way. If you sign up for some of the tours on your cruise itinerary, you have the opportunity for even more interesting autograph collecting. When you go out into these villages and communities you will be greeted with unbelievable finds. Autograph collecting is a great way to document many of these experiences. As you progress along with your collecting you will have many opportunities to share these treasured moments with others. There is a lot of history stored in these areas. Autograph collecting is one form of history that can be passed on from generation to generation. Much of our history has been gotten from someone who took the time to document in writing various events of the time. You may even want to take pictures of certain areas and get some autographs from people in the area. An example would be to take a picture of a church in Panama and the minister's picture get the signature of the minister as a part of your documentation. When you take the time to organize your finds, include the signature with the pictures together. What a great way to generate some unusual things while autograph collecting and have a great unforgettable cruise also.
How to Make Money Autograph Collecting If you want to make some money autograph collecting you must be ready to make an up front investment. The amount will determine the goals you have for your business. In order to be successful, you should be organized and know the ins and outs of autograph collecting. Autographs must be the real thing to generate a good profit from others. People are not looking for copies when they buy autographs. Competition is keen in this field. There are several ventures from which to get autographs to sell. The best way to really make a profit is to do your autograph collecting in person. This is a sure fire way of knowing exactly what you are getting. Some autographs sell for more than others just as in the sales of other things. The price of autographs depend on the availability, in other word supply and demand dictates what price you will be able to ask for in resell. Remember there are a lot fraudulent copies on the open market. You will be competing with them in your autograph collecting business. You will have to learn how to detect scams before you make purchases from dealers and other people who do autograph collecting. With today's technology, if you are not an expert, it is very hard to tell the real thing from a forgery. Perhaps your first move should be to make contact with an authenticator and get to know him. This will be a reliable source to clear up the reality of what you have collected. As you know it will not always be possible for you to get these autographs for resell in person. It takes some patience and you must watch the market for the supply and demand factor before making some of your sells. There are special wholesale autograph collecting dealers. It will pay you to get to know as many of them as possible. You will soon find out who is worthy of your trust and who you need to avoid. Learn from the experiences of others. People don't mind sharing and recommending the good dealers to you. They will also share with you the bad experiences they have had autograph collecting. If you are new to the business stay on guard, because of the advancement in technology you don't always get what you are looking for. And sometimes the person or dealer from whom you made the purchase is unaware of the forged signature also. Pricing is very important if you expect to make a profit. In order to get what you want at the price you want it will be necessary to attend autograph auctions, autograph conventions, and other wholesale functions for autograph collecting. You need to know as many reputable wholesale dealers as possible. You may want to start with some internet shopping. Most businesses of this nature have websites and will give you some introductory information about their business as it relates to autograph collecting. You may wish to use the public library to get background information on various personalities. All About Manuscripts and Autograph Collecting Old manuscripts are sometimes found in abandon old houses that have not been occupied in years. Antique collectors discover these treasures in their search for a variety of other items. Some of these manuscripts are not so valuable. The valuable ones make all kinds of media coverage because they are usually worth thousands of dollars. If your autograph collecting is done as an investment you need to go to yard sales, and house auctions. Many times parents die and leave the home place to children. They some times have no idea what is stored in the safes, draws, and closets of some of these homes. Quite some time ago a person who was autograph collecting came across a handwritten church deed and added it to their autograph collection. Every name on the deed was deceased. The church was at that time a major part of the community's history. In the early days, manuscripts were handwritten. Very few people had a manual typewriter and very few people knew how to type. These handwritten manuscripts are considered a part of autograph collecting. These handwritten documents are valuable even more so with a signature. A faction of those who do autograph collecting, collect only manuscripts. Some even specialize within the subject of manuscripts and collect only governmental, historical or political manuscripts. In most cases, historical documents are treated as appreciating assets and cannot be depreciated. Signatures on the Charter of the United Nations and signers of the U.S. Constitution make these documents valuable investments if you are autograph collecting. If you find one of these documents or some other manuscript of this kind, it will pay to take it through the authentication process so you will know what you have. It could be the real thing and got lost in the process of being buried down somewhere by someone of another generation. This may be the super find for which you have been looking. Autograph collecting can be one of the most rewarding forms of collecting you can do. Other kinds of manuscripts that may prove to be very valuable are music scores or sheets of music. Many of our great classical musicians signed their music after they were written and some times dated them. In fact there was a time when you claimed ownership of everything in your possession by signing it with your name and contact information. Music sheets that are signed by Brahms, Schumann, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Stravinsky, Bach, Mozart and other great masters of classical music are investments for those who are autograph collecting. Some of these manuscripts have been out of circulation for generations. Sometimes, when old buildings are torn down old manuscripts of years past are found. If they are signed by the author, the value increases. If you go to a college library or the Library of Congress you can get a good look at some of these manuscripts so you can get an idea of what you are looking to find. Autograph collecting with manuscripts provides you with an opportunity to preserve our rich history and traditions of the past. How To Reach the Stars When You Are Autograph Collecting Getting an autograph from one of your favorite personalities is not as easy sometimes as it may seem. Did you know that there are some celebrities who keep a record of who they send autographs to? But on the other hand some people who are autograph collecting have paid for autographs from the individuals. We know that an autograph collecting dealer will charge, but we are talking about the celebrity charging. Charging for signatures is believed to have started with sports memorabilia shows. Nevertheless, autograph collecting can be done without some of these encounters. Autograph collecting is done in many forms. It may be necessary for you to use a variety of ways to collect the autographs you have in mind. You may find a valuable letter written by a celebrity. Let's say you find a letter written by Marilyn Monroe. Is that valuable? Indeed it is. A signature of Marilyn Monroe is just as popular now as it was when she was living. Remember when you are autograph collecting that the length of time a person lived as well as a person's popularity will have a lot to do with reaching them via way of an autograph. The short life of Marilyn Monroe makes it almost impossible to get an original autograph of her. When you are autograph collecting remember that the longer a person lives, the more real autographs available. A good example today is trying to collect an autograph of Anna Nicole Smith. An autograph or writing by her may be worth more than some other celebrity who has been around for a long time. Because of her short life, autographs or any writing by her are hard to come by. If you are trying to reach a star, the best way to do that is to take your autograph collecting to an event where the star is performing. A part of the star's schedule after the event, may include some autograph collecting time. Before and after many events, such as plays, movies, and some sporting events stars hold autograph sessions. You are able to meet and greet with the stars. Celebrities -- from movie stars to politicians, sports figures, and musicians are busy people, so when these windows of opportunity are available, if at all possible drop what you are doing and attend these functions. If you do you are almost certain to get a real autograph. Keep in mine that autograph collecting can be very rewarding in future days and years to come because real autographs are worth a lot. Autograph collecting from someone like Tiger Woods may involve more expense than anticipated. You can at least be in the area, if you don't see the game of golf he plays. Autograph collecting involves taking a lot of chances and moving by faith to get those choice autographs. There is something else to keep in mind and that is getting an autograph from someone especially a celebrity is a privilege. So look out for those chances to reach these people in person if you are interested in autograph collecting. Be thankful when you can reach these people and get a free autograph. What Factors Determine The Value Of Autographs? It is no secret that autograph collecting seekers are looking for the real thing if you can get it. In order to do so, we must know the factors that determine the value of what we collect. For those who are doing autograph collecting as an investment, meaning you plan to later sell or leave you collection to children or other family members as part of an inheritance, you want to collect valuable autographs. It is important not only to know what to look for, but also how to maintain the value you have If you can maintain your autograph collecting finds, then you will not have to replace items, losing money in your investment as well as losing time. It does not matter why you are autograph collecting, you want to be sure you have a collection of some value as it reflects history and your favorite personality. Usually autograph collecting is started at a very young age when value may not be as important as it is when you grow older. Nevertheless, it pays to take the time to factor into your autograph collecting some things to look for when you are autograph collecting. Unfortunately, most of the time we do not have time or money to meet the famous people from whom we would like to do autograph collecting. Movie Stars, sports figures, musicians, television personalities, and high ranking politicians are not walking past our front or in the supermarket where we shop. One of the most important factors that will determine the value of an autograph is known as "supply and demand". Some times when you are autograph collecting, you may find a battered document that looks worthless, but if some authentic rare signatures are on it, you just may have found a gold mine. There are an abundance of factors and variables that will dictate to you the value of something. At times we may appreciate having some thing in poor condition than not having it at all. So look at supply and demand when you are autograph collecting as one of the determining factors for the value of your find. Another factor to consider is the autograph itself. The autograph needs to be readable without having to use your imagination. After all in autograph collecting nothing is more important than the autograph. If you cannot make out the autograph, you don't have one. Water/coffee damage and other stains take away some of the value of your autograph collecting finds. People who are seeking autographs are looking for the best. If you autograph collecting finds are in poor condition, and there is not a crux for finding the autograph, you lose a chance to get top dollar. Autographs you may find in pencil are of little value. In earlier years autograph collecting was done with the use of ink pens (dipped in ink), now a day ball point pens are the signing choice. Ink has always been the preferred way to do autograph collecting because it is not as erasable as those signatures done in pencil. Also pencil writing has a tendency to fade and you can not keep it for long periods of time. How to Write Successful Fan Mail to Enhance Your Autograph Collecting Writing fan letters is one of the many inexpensive ways for autograph collecting to take place. But there are some guidelines that you must follow to enhance your chance of receiving these autographs via mail. Because of time, distance and accessibility of celebrities it is necessary to use other means to do autograph collecting. Since these important and famous people must read hundreds of letters, and maybe thousands of letters, the fan letter should be short and right to the point. You may limit your chances of autograph collecting with a long letter of praises and comments about their books, films, or albums. If the person is real hot at the time of your writing, it may take days, weeks, or even months for your mail to be read. It has been known to take as long as three years for some people to receive a response. Moreover some never do receive a response to a fan letter. Let's remember that these people have very tight and challenging schedules. They find themselves in a position sometimes to be all things to all people. So when you are autograph collecting via fan mail you need to factor in some patience and extra time to get what you want -- an autograph. There is a slim chance that you will receive an autograph if they have to read through many pages of prose to find your request for an autograph. Make sure the request is at the beginning of the letter, so if time is limited, they know what you want and can go about the business of sending it. They don't have time to read all the accolades you want to give them. Nevertheless, they are happy that you have acquired posters, and other items of interests while autograph collecting. All these things that hobbyists collect add to the celebrity's bottom line. A flattering letter in most situations increases your chance to get something in other scenarios of life, but not in this case. Brevity is the key to getting what you want in this situation. By all means type your letter, if you don't type, have someone to do it for you. Remember time is of essence here and celebrities do not have time to decipher poor handwriting. If you must write, take your time and make it legible so it can be read quickly. It may be better to print this letter if you do not type. Autograph collecting requires some creativity in many instances to get what you want. Here is one of those times. Not only should you include your request at the beginning of the letter, but you need to highlight this request in some way. The first thing you need to do is type or print AUTOGRAPHED PHOTO in all caps. This may not be enough so highlight this request by circling it, putting it in color with a highlighter and you may even include extra spaces before and after the words "autographed photo" request. It will surely be seen and you may get results from this letter. Writing fan mail is a method that has been used for years to get autographs. Whatever it takes to make your request stand out DO IT! Who Has Done Autograph Collecting? Autograph collecting is a pastime enjoyed by all generations, nationalities, races, ages, and socioeconomic groups. It is a fascination that will not go away when you have success getting those hard to get autographs. While Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president, he often sort relief from the task of being president by turning to his autograph collecting. Let us not forget there were many people who wanted his autograph. For President Roosevelt, it was a great moment in time and he found autograph collecting a great way to record some of his history and the history of the times. Today the autographs he collected and his autograph are priceless treasures that will always be in the history books and archives across the nation. It is a delight for you to own a memento of an admired individual. That is one reason so many individuals spend time autograph collecting. The fewer original autographs of an individual that is circulating, the more valuable the person's autograph becomes. Autograph collecting is also an expression of your interest and your personality in general. Some of President Roosevelt's autograph collecting was signed letters. A hand-written letter has the most value, especially today. It was in the year of 1834 that President James Madison requested an autograph from Princess Victoria to enhance his autograph collecting. Of course, this may have been done by mail. Nevertheless Princess Victoria, the future British Queen, was only 15 years old at the time of this request. J. P. Morgan, Sr. a well known financier began autograph collecting at the age of 16. After he was grown and married with had a son, his son continued in his father's footsteps by autograph collecting and adding to his father's collection. Autograph collecting found favor in the Kennedy family also. One of the mayors of Boston had a daughter named Rose Fitzgerald who enjoyed autograph collecting. You no doubt recognize the name as being President John F. Kennedy's mother. President Kennedy also enjoyed autograph collecting. There are many well known people who enjoy autograph collecting. These are the same people from which everyday people, who are autograph collecting, seek autographs. Some of the other well known people who have done autograph collecting are Glenn Ford, William Randolph Hearst, Malcolm Forbes, and Ray Bradbury. As you can see, autograph collecting is a hobby that is enjoyed by all. For many years, this hobby has been enjoyed by Kings and Queens, Presidents and Heads of State, well known politicians, movie stars, sports people, and the everyday citizen. It is a hobby that brings to the forefront interests in other people and what they do. Autograph collecting may be more popular today because there is more time for autograph collecting. In the early days, everything was done by hand, all the farm work, the housework, yard work and everything else. Now you have a whole lot more leisure time and there are more opportunities for you to do autograph collecting. If you would like to become a curator of history, autograph collecting will lead you in the right direction. How to Buy Guidelines In Autograph Collecting When you are not sure of what you are doing, it is best to start out small. While you are learning how to buy the inexpensive way is the way to go if you are autograph collecting. You sure don't want to waste your money. It may not be your intention to buy to resale, but you sure want to be satisfied with your autograph purchase. You need to ask the dealer questions and more questions, such as the source of the autograph, how long the dealer has been in business, and you may even ask for customer references. Even with all of this, you still be dealing with someone who has less integrity than you desire. If the dealer provides evasive answers to your questions, or if he provides unsatisfactory answers to your questions, let that be a warning sign and do not rush into any offer no matter how good it sounds. Time is important when autograph collecting, nevertheless, it may be better to waste time then money. When you decide to resale your investment ten years from now, you want to be sure you have something worth selling. And even more so that the mementoes you pass on to your love ones were actually signed by your hero, not someone in the penitentiary serving time for fraud. You have to be smart, do some research, make contacts with other dealers and autograph collecting people and remember the old adage," If it's too good to be true, it probably is! Dealers who are respectable and with integrity will not mind such questions because they understand that you may be new to the hobby of autograph collecting and need to ask more questions to verify any purchase you make. A seasoned person autograph collecting is more astute and will be able to spot most rip-off artists who want to make quick money by forging an autograph of a hot celebrity. Using online auctions for autograph collecting can be deceiving and these auctions should be used with caution. You may get many good deals from online auctions on items like baseball cards, comic, and other collectibles. But when it comes to bidding on autographs, you may just be bidding on a forgery. Your recourse if this happens may be limited because these kinds of people disappear literally into thin air after they upload a batch of fake autographs. The sad thing about auctions, you can't put too much stock in the feedback portion. Let's face it, if they knew the item was a forgery, more than likely they would not have bidded. When autograph collecting and you order something online, you give positive feedback based on how quickly the order delivered. It may be several days, months, or even years before you discover that you have been taken or ripped off. You need to fine a few reputable dealers that you can trust. You don't need a mall full of dealers, because the higher the number of dealers you're buying from, the more likely you will buy some un-authentic autographs. Autograph collecting is a challenging task. If you really want to be at the top of your interest, join an organization such as the UACC. You can become a regular member of one of these groups for a low membership fee. The collective wisdom of the membership will teach you a lot. Stick with the dealers you can trust. Why These Two Methods are Used in Autograph Collecting Autograph collecting can be a very rewarding and a fun hobby. If you are autograph collecting as an investment, meaning you plan to sell part of your collection from time to time, you may be disappointment with some of your autographs. Celebrities may use several ways to provide autographs for you. One methods used for autographs is a designated staff member. This person uses his time to autograph pictures, and other memorabilia for autograph collecting. Secretaries and other staff members practice signing the signature of celebrities and sign a very similar signature for autograph seekers. The famous can stretch their visibility this way. Time is the reason for using others to do what fans want the famous to do. Many times there is no way to know the difference except you see it for yourself. Autograph collecting requires a human touch and unlike some of the other kinds of collecting can be easily copied. When you get two autographs from the same person and they are just alike, you know that some kind of automation was used. It is humanly impossible to sign your name the same way every time. Therefore, some celebrities choose to use individuals to sign for them so the autograph is given a look of authenticity. The celebrity business have many requests daily for signatures, so this is one way they choose to accommodate these requests. It is not unheard of for a famous person to be completely out of the country for months and months at the time and still send you an autograph from their address. For the hobbyist, this is acceptable in many instances because they have no interests in making money off of the signature. If the autograph collecting is done as an investment, it is better to get autographs in person, and then you know what you are getting. There are many outlets too that sell autographed pictures and other items by celebrities. Many of these businesses are unscrupulous dealers who are out to make a quick buck. Choose what kind of autograph collecting you wish to do. If you are just look for something as a reference point, this may not matter to your collection. These autographs are not free. These are businesses and these people earn a living selling all kinds of collectibles not just signatures but any collectible that will generate a dollar. If you do serious autograph collecting, take the time to see the person sign, and then you will know that you are getting the real thing. Another way stars use to send out autographs is by using a stamper. When a signature stamper is used, you will know it because every signature is the same. If you get two signatures from the same person and the two signatures are exactly alike more then likely a stamper has been used or some other form of automation. With the advances in technology today, it is very easy to duplicate a signature. There are dealers of collectibles who preprint autographed photos of celebrities. If you want to have a true collection, when you are autograph collecting, it is best to get your own autographs. All About Autograph Collecting and Autograph Books Before the advent of cell phones, television, ipods, computers, and other forms of technology, autograph collecting was one of the most treasured past times. This interest was done on all levels, the very young, the young adult, the mature adult, and even the more wisdom matured. In fact autograph collecting was so popular until there were special books produced especially for autograph collecting. This autograph collecting was not necessarily geared to celebrities only. Persons in the community were more accessible than movie stars and sports figures, so autograph collecting was popular throughout all walks of life. In the nineteenth century keeping an autograph book for the purpose of autograph collecting was a popular practice. As the word got around about autograph books and they became available at the local five and dime stores, it was a must have, just as the cell phone is today. The autograph book was even more popular in many areas than the personal diary. Many people during the 1950's and 1960 have purchased autograph books. Most of these autograph books were designed for just what the name of the books implies and that is autograph collecting. These books were small, about eight inches tall by five inches wide. The book had 70 pages. Some books had different colored pages. Usually the pages were in pastel colors, such as pink, blue, lilac, yellow, and light green. The popularity of these books was unbelievable in high schools and on the college campus. These autograph books were circulated from classmate to classmate during the recess period and during social functions at school and away from school. There were two goals for this autograph collecting. The first goal and perhaps the most important was to get a signature from every classmate. Secondly, it was a desire to fill every page in the book. You were honored and delighted when someone, who was collecting autographs, asked you for your autograph. Those classmates who were high up the ladder rungs in popularity were sort out first. Sometimes in fact there would be a little line waiting to get the persons autograph. Even more so, everyone wanted to have the teachers, administrators and other school personnel sign their book. Getting these signatures had the same importance as it is to get celebrity signatures today. Some of these autograph books still exist today. Autograph collecting collections can be found in many special collections on campuses today in the college libraries. Many students wrote their favorite verse or quotation before autographing the book. Others wrote about special memories shared with the person during this period of time. These memories included college pranks, dormitory rooms, card games, hangouts, and stunts. Nothing is left out of these books. Included in these books are accounts of professors and various class experiences. It was not unusual for some who were less verbal to just autograph the book and date it. As you can see autograph collecting, crosses all walks of life, all races, and socio-economic levels. All About The Uniqueness of Autograph Collecting For years, people have been collecting autographs in many ways and in many different ventures. In the early days, there were those who could not write. The few who could read and write were highly respected. In the early years an "X" represented a signature for those who could not write. Belief it or not some collectors have "X" signatures in their collection. If you were not a part of the elite class in the early days, your chance of getting an education was not to be. You had to work on the land for the most part to make a living. Your working hours were the "sun up to sun down" shift. It was during the early years, when autograph collecting became very popular. Every other person wanted you to autograph something for them as a keepsake. It is amazing but this love for autograph collecting is just as popular today and it may be even more so. Why? An improvement in transportation and communication makes this possible. People are more accessible to each other. Even more so, more people can read and write today than yesteryear. Autograph collecting is not always done on paper. Some collectors had their shoes autographed by close friends and family members. Many of these shoes serve as part of a personal autograph collection. During the 1940's and 1950's, it was a popular pastime for high school students to have the saddle oxfords signed by classmates. Only the white part was autographed. These popular shoes of the day were either black and white or brown and white. In yard sales and antique sales, you just may find these treasures representing a time in our history. Autograph collecting today involves the signing of clothing items such as caps, t-shirts, jeans, jackets and other pieces of clothing. High school students and especially seniors still do a lot autograph collecting. Some high schools have what is called "signing day. During this day yearbooks are distributed to the student body. Students use this day to collect autographs to remember these special days in their lives. Some of this autograph collecting is done with special colors of pens. Students try to individualize their yearbook by using different formats within the signing portions of the yearbook. This autograph collecting continues off and on during the remainder of the school year. Even with this designed day, it is very difficult to get all the signatures you may wish to get. Seniors usually try to get all of their classmates and favorite teachers, administrator, and teachers. This may be the very last time they get a chance to get some of these autographs. Some classmates never see each other again. Autograph collecting on caps is very popular at race tracks. This is especially true at some of the big races, such as the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis race. This is one time when it pays to try to get the real thing. Even if you can not get an autograph from your favorite, it pays to get what you can. Why you must ask? On down the road you may be able to exchange a separate signature for one that you want to add to your collection. There are thousands of people at these races so seize the moment and take advantage of this chance to do real autograph collecting. All About Autopen Shortcuts in Autograph Collecting Many celebrities use different methods for autographing in place of the real signature. Most autograph collecting is done solely for the real autograph of these people that are famous and well thought of. As we all know, celebrities of all kind are busy people, so a lot of the signature signing when not in person is done in a variety of ways. That is why, you can only be sure of an authentic signature or autograph in autograph collecting when you get it in person. In autograph collecting by mail and other exchanges, you need to know that you may get an autograph but it may be done not by hand or the celebrity's hand but by autopen or some other method. One of the most popular ways famous people have for sending out autographs for autograph collecting is by using a staff member to sign for them. Some famous people have a staff, so call PR staff, for the expressed purpose of signing autographed photo and distributing them or mailing them to individuals who are autograph collecting. In other words, if you receive an autograph via mail, it may not be the real thing. But at least you have something; it depends on the focus of your autograph collecting. If your autograph collecting is simply a hobby, a copied photo signature may serve your purpose. If your autograph collecting is an investment, then you want the real signature and need to pursue autograph collecting avenues that will provide you with the real signature. When you receive a non-authentic autograph from a celebrity, it should not be perceived as disrespect for fans or how they feel about their fans. Some celebrities may be too old, sick, filming a new movie or on the road touring to have time to give you a real signature. That is why some famous people use the autopen autograph. John Isaac Hawkins, an Englishman developed the first autopens. He received a US patent in 1803. Thomas Jefferson was one of the first to start using the device in 1804 for autograph collecting. The autopen is a machine that can duplicate a signature over and over. A signature is copied onto a template that is inserted into the machine. This mechanism will copy the signature onto an item such as a photo, 3x5 cards, or letter for autograph collecting. For the most part you can tell if an autopen has been used by it's lack of natural flow, the signature is shaky as the autopen vibrates and the flow of ink is consistent, plus an ink blotch that looks like a period is at the end of the signature. The blotch/period is a result of the marker in the autopen machine coming to an abrupt halt at the end and resting in one spot of the item too long before being lifted off. It goes without saying that each autopen signature will look exactly alike. Another way to tell if you have an autopen signature is to write for another autograph. Compare the signatures by laying them atop each other and hold up to a light source. If they coincide with each other, you have an autopen signature. Harry Truman is believed to be the first President to use the autopen in a business way for mail and signing checks. Today this device is used by politicians and fundraisers to sign letters. If you are autograph collecting, you need to try and verify the origin of the signature. Why Join An Autograph Collecting Clubs Being a member of an autograph collecting club can benefit you in more ways than one. When we think of an autograph collecting club, we feel a bond of support and togetherness, also unity. People in clubs of all kinds have a common interest. These common interests generate specific goals, set forth by the membership, for the existence of this club. Autograph clubs are organized just as any other club. There are elected officers, and designated persons for other duties. Some of the clubs even publish newsletters offering collecting tips and opportunities for autograph collecting. Here you will find many chances to exchange autographs with fellow members and you will get to know others who are autograph collecting. These clubs help you to keep your autograph collecting authentic and above board. Scams and other rip offs are shared in discussion groups. For those who are autograph collecting as an investment, the values of certain autographs are shared in these meeting. Usually these clubs meet once a month sometimes with a specific agenda as discussed from the previous meeting. All people who are interested in autograph collecting are invited to become a member. Most support groups of this nature are encouraged when new members come into the fellowship. These clubs are non-profit organizations. Fellowships of this nature impart knowledge and resources about autograph collecting. Some times experts in the field will come in and share some new trends in the art of collecting. Usually the general public can attend these meetings with out required membership. A small membership fee is required to help defrayed expenses involved in printing newsletters and other forms of communication. An open door policy helps to increase interests in autograph collecting. Autograph collecting is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world. This may be due to the fact that it takes a minimum investment to get started. All it takes is a little time, interests and patience. One of the most personal things a person can give you is his autograph. Just think signatures are forever, if you protect them. Perhaps, the most important thing a club can offer you is an awareness of artists. No matter what you undertake, there will always be someone who is a member of the "get something for nothing club". These con artists will offer you some deals and prices that really are too good to be authentic. Bona fide autograph collecting clubs are usually aware of these people and will alert their membership and the general public. The new autograph collecting member is a prime target for these cons. There are cons in all areas of collecting. Bargain prices are not always bargains. Autograph collecting clubs keep a list and a record of these less than desirable dealers and make the list available to persons of interests. If you are not on their autograph collecting mailing and emailing list, ask them to add your name to the list. Deals that are too good to be true usually are not true!
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