Autograph collecting has become an extremely popular pastime among sports fans. Whether it be baseball, basketball, racing, football or hockey, obtaining your favorite athlete's autograph can be both a fun and rewarding hobby. And, surprisingly enough, it's not as difficult as you may think.
If you have the opportunity to visit a training camp for your favorite sports team, a race shop for your favorite race car driver or a special autograph signing event, this will be a great way to obtain an in-person autograph. Bring your own items to be signed and make sure to bring along a sharpie, or other permanent, marker! Almost every training camp offers autograph possibilities for fans. Location information, along with times and policies, are available from every major sports organization. For more information, fans may call the following numbers and ask about their favorite teams training dates and locations:
MLB - 1-212-931-7800
NBA - 1-212-655-0880
NFL - 1-800-372-2000
NHL - 1-212-789-2000
When collecting autographs, the most common items to have signed include photos and index cards.
But, there are many other options for collectors who wish to build a truly unique collection of memorabilia. Some alternate items to consider would be a hockey puck, a basketball, baseball, tennis or golf ball, a football, a sports jersey, racing flag or a helmet. Always be polite when asking for an autograph and never ask for more than two items to be signed at any one given time.
If your geographical location, or schedule, doesn't permit you the opportunity to get an in-person autograph, don't give up. Many fans enjoy collecting autographs through the mail and do so with great success. Before you do anything, you will need an accurate address.
A complete list of team addresses, rosters and official team websites can be found at the following locations:
MLB - http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/team/mlb_team_index.jsp
NBA - http://www.nba.
NFL - http://www.playfootball.com/footballfacts/addresses.html
NHL - http://www.
NASCAR - http://www.raceshops.com
Now that you have an address, you're ready to begin by simply writing a polite letter to your favorite athlete. Be sure to let him/her know how much you enjoy their involvement in their chosen sport and kindly request an autograph.
Most importantly, remember to keep it short but also personable. If possible, always handwrite you letter - avoid typing because it may resemble a 'form' letter. You will want to make sure that your favorite athlete knows that you are sincere in your quest for his/her autograph. If you're asking for him/her to provide the photo, always remember to say 'please' and 'thank you.' When your letter is ready for mailing, fold it to fit inside the #10 envelope.
You will also need to affix $0.60 postage on a 9x12 envelope, fold it 3 ways and place it inside with your letter. This will serve as your self-addressed stamped envelope, so don't forget to write your address on the envelope so that your photo will find it's way back to you.
It's also a good idea to write "Photo - Please Do Not Bend" in the bottom left corner of your 9x12 SASE.
If you are requesting a signed index card, you should provide your own. The most popular choice are the un-ruled 3x5 plain white index cards. For this request, use a regular size envelope as your SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) and affix $0.
37 for return postage. If you live outside the USA, please check with your postmaster for the correct amount of postage needed.
If you decide to send larger items to be autographed, such as a baseball, helmet or jersey, you can choose to either send loose return postage inside the box with your request, which will allow the athlete to sign your item and simply affix the postage on your box for return shipping. Otherwise, you can simply send a few dollars and let them know that the funds are being sent to cover the cost of return postage.
Now that you've started your new collection, be aware that you may also purchase autographs from a dealer if you are unable to acquire them yourself.
The industry has taken a hard hit with forgery and false certificates of authenticity, so research any dealer before you buy from them. Take into account how many years they have been in business, whether or not they are a member of the Better Business Bureau in their area and, if they are, check to see if they've had any complaints filed against them through the BBB by visiting www.BBB.org. When all is said and done, a certificate of authenticity is only as good as the person who stands behind the guarantee.
The bottom line is to know who you are buying from, research other examples of authentic signatures and consider every factor before making a final decision to purchase. Equipped with plenty of knowledge, every fan can make the hobby of collecting autographs a fun and rewarding pastime..Bob writes for Go All Out - providing officially licensed NBA Jerseys, including NBA hats and caps, NBA memorabilia and other NBA team merchandise. Visit my blog eventoutlet.
com to read more on Sports Collectibles.
By: Bob Johnson