How to get a Celebrity's Autograph
Have You Ever Wanted a Celebrity's Autograph?
I spent a couple of years collecting Celebrity Autographs. Most of the autographs I received came through the mail. Two or three of them I was fortunate enough to receive in person. I'm not sure what the fascination is about receiving a Photograph of someone famous with a scribble that might resemble the name of that person. I am not all that sure why I collected these photographs for the time that I did. I guess it is because there is a feeling of making contact with that person. They receive your letter (at least you believe they do) they read about how much you adore them, then they sign a photograph and send it back to you.
Now, that's not really how it works. You see, most celebrities get so much fan-mail, they don't have the time to read through it all, then personally sign a photograph for you. A lot of them actually have someone, a secretary maybe, who will read your letter and decide if it has enough merit to be read by the Celebrity. This doesn't necessarily mean that that you will not get an autographed photo, it just means that the celebrity will most likely never read your heartfelt words.
When I first started collecting autographs, I went crazy. I sent letters with autograph requests to just about everyone I could find an address for. Needless to say, that got a little expensive (since it costs 3 stamps plus the paper and 2 envelopes for each celebrity). I sent letters to people I had never even heard of. I just sent the request because I wanted to add to my autograph collection. After a while, I started looking back through the photos I had received and realized, "I don't know who half these people are!" When I would show the collection to someone, they would ask, "Who is that?" and I would not be able to tell them, mostly because no one in the known universe could read the signature on the photograph.
When you start your own collection, I suggest that you keep the requests to people you know, people whose movies you like to watch, or people whose music you like to listen to. Maybe you could even request an autograph from an astronaut or your favorite politician. Whatever the case may be, make sure you know who the celebrity is and that you will be able to look at the autograph down the road and feel like you really received something special, not just a photo with writing on it.
Now, how do you make you Autograph Request? Some people like to send photographs for their favorite Celebrities to sign, but I have found that most with send you ones they have already made just for that purpose. Here are my suggestions to help start your Autograph Collection:
Gather the Supplies
You will need several things to write your favorite celebrities.
~ #10 envelopes - I would buy in large numbers, this way they will always be on hand. Buy recycled envelopes if they are available. Save the Planet.
~ 9x12 envelopes - These will be returned to you with your new Autograph inside. Buy Recycled Envelopes if they are available. Save the Planet.
~ 3x5 Index Cards - Not Ruled (Optional)
~ Printer Paper
~ Word Processor - Fell Free to hand write your letters. It may just take longer.
Find the addresses for your favorite Celebrities - (These are some of my favorite sources to find the addresses). Don't fall for those Celebrity address book offers. Both of these are free. I don't think there is any reason to buy a subscription to any website for addresses. You should be able to find most people who actually sign autographs on these pages.
~ Join This Yahoo Group: 1_autographs
Write your Letter
~ Be Brief. If you get long winded, the celebrity that takes the time to open your letter will get bored and cast the letter aside, after only reading the first paragraph or two. Try to keep your letter around two or three paragraphs,
~ Be Personal. Tell the story about how this celebrity touched your heart to the point of going out and making amends with your parents. Tell them where you saw them in person, or what movies they played in that will stay with you forever.
~ Make Your Request. I would say something like, Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I was hoping you might be willing to send me a signed photograph made out to (Your Name Here). I understand that you are very busy, so if you don't have the time, or can not provide a photograph, would you take a moment to sign the index card I have provided with this letter and return it to me in the Self Addressed Stamped Envelope?ƒ‚
~ Make sure you hand sign the letter. It makes the letter look like you went through some trouble to actually write it. On the same note, hand-write the addresses on the envelope. If you print the addresses on your printer, the letter could be discarded as junk mail.
How to Put Together the Mailing
~ When you finish writing it, tri-fold your letter
~ Address the 9x12 envelope to yourself. Also put your address as the return address. (Your address should be on this envelope twice. You can use sticky labels or a stamp or even print the addresses from the computer.) You should also make it a habit to write "DO NOT BEND" on the front, so when the photograph is returned to you, the postman doesn't fold it to get it into your mailbox.
~ Place 2 Stamps on the 9x12 envelope.
~ Tri-fold the 9x12 envelope.
~ Place 2 index Cards in the fold of the 9x12 Envelope, Then place the letter with "Dear Celebrity" facing out. Slide everything into a #10 envelope. Your Celebrity should see the letter first when He/She pulls it out of the envelope.
~ Seal the envelope
~ Write your return address on the upper left corner, and the Celebrity's address (You found this in step 2) in the center of the envelope.
~ Place one stamp on the upper right corner of the envelope
That should be it. You should now have a thick envelope that is ready to drop into the mail. This envelope should weigh right at one ounce, possibly a little less. That is why you will get away with one stamp on this envelope. The reason you put two stamps on the 9x12 envelope is because when it is returned to you, it will have a photograph inside it. Sometimes the Celebrity will throw in information about their latest project or where you can buy some of their fan memorabilia.
Once you mail your Autograph requests, it could take months before you get anything in return. I just recently got a baseball card I mailed out three years ago. I find the average time of return is about 6 months. Some you will get in less than a month. Others could take years. It is all in the luck of the draw.
Types of Autographs you may receive:
Pre-Print - This is an autographed photo that has been duplicated numerous times, then sent to anyone who requests an Autographed Photo. These Autographs are the least desired, but sometimes you get a really nice Photograph out of the deal. You can spot a Pre-Print when the signature looks like it is under the glossy finish of the photograph. StudioFanMail.com is the worst culprit.
Auto-Pen - This one is interesting. Usually a secretary takes a photograph, puts it under this machine, and lets the machine sign it for the celebrity. The signature is an exact replica of what the celebrity signed into the computer. Sometimes an auto-pen is as simple as a stamp made from the signature. The easiest way to spot an autopen is to compare it to other people's autograph. If the signature is exactly the same, but on different places on the photo, you can figure that the autograph was done by an Auto-Pen.
Secretarial - This is basically a forges signature by the celebrity's Secretary. The only way to spot these it to actually know what the celebrity's signature looks like, and sometimes even that does not help.
Signed Photo AC" A Celebrity will sometimes sign a large number of photos and give them to his secretary to return to any fan who requests an Autograph. These are nice. These are the one that will one day go up in value, if it can be proven that it is an authentic Autograph.
Inscribed Signed Photo - These Autographs are more personal. These are when the Celebrity actually signs the autograph to you. These make you feel good because the Celebrity went out of His/Her way to write your name on the photograph. Sometimes the secretary takes a Signed photo and writes your name at the top. This is obvious because the handwriting is different from the signature.
I hope this little guide has inspired you to start or further your Autograph collection. It is definitely an enjoyable hobby. If you ever get tired of it, you can always sell the collection on eBay and usually get about $1.00 per photo depending on the Celebrities.
Books About Collecting Autographs - You should have at least one book about Autographs
A good price guide on some of the older signatures from people who are no longer living is valuable to have. You can see a ballpark figure on some of your favorite icons. It is amazing what some of these signatures are worth.
Celebrity Autograph Videos - A Lot of People Collect Celebrity Autographs
It takes time and effort to send out requests for autographs, but it is fun when you get them back with personal inscriptions from some of your favorite stars.