Are you wondering how to get autographs through the mail? Well, this is the place to look for hints and tips. Follow some or all of these rules and you'll be reeling in autographs from the left and right.
Self Addressed Stamped Envelopes
Handwritten or Typed?
What to Send
Sending to Other Countries
1. A Self Addressed Stamped Envelope is an envelope with your address as the main address and a stamp in the upper right hand corner. In the world of autograph collecting through the mail, it is imperative that you send a SASE with each of your requests. Not only will a SASE be a great help to the person you are sending to - they don't have to waste their money on stamps or time on writing out envelopes - but it also is a help to you - you will probably get your autograph back faster if you send a SASE. Make sure to affix the stamp to the SASE before sending it. That is, do not send a loose stamp for the individual to affix to the return envelope themselves.
2. Make your letter short and to the point. Don't write a six page essay, because no matter how much an athlete would like to read it, they would probably never have the time. A sample letter would be:
Dear Mr. Smith,
Hello! My name is Alex, and I think you are a great player. I think it's awesome how you scored 5 runs in a game in 1996. That must have been a very exciting experience for you.
I have enclosed a sports card with this letter-would you please autograph it for me? I know you probably have a very busy schedule, so if you cannot sign, I completely understand.
In place of the italicized parts of the sample letter, put your own information.
If you write to retired players, I would suggest adding more information. They probably have a lot more time to read the letters they receive and they seem to value personalized letters more. A letter to a retired player should be between one half of a page to a page in length.
3. Use nice stationary. Don't send tattered, worn out or ripped paper. A piece of computer paper or notebook paper would do. But a torn in half piece of stationary with a hole ripped in the middle doesn't look good, and might make the addressee think you don't really care about them or the fact that they are taking the time to sign the item for you.
4. Hand write the letters. That gives it more of a personal feeling. Typing up the letter on the computer gives it more of the feeling of an electric bill. I have a much higher success rate when I handwrite the letter rather than type it. The cards have come back quicker, too.
Sign this card.
6. Have something for the player to sign. Don't ask for "whatever free stuff they have", because that's rude. Send a trading card, a postcard, a baseball or a custom index card. There are many things that you can send.
7. Always put a return address on the envelope addressed to the person you're writing to. A return address is that little address up in the corner of an envelope. If you don't, and the player you were sending to was traded or retired, you may never see your card again, because it can't be returned to you. Some suggest putting one on the return envelope as well.
9. A questionnaire is a series of questions that you send to a celebrity or athlete to be answered. Sending these is a great idea, because it makes the player feel like you are really interested in their career. Personally, I have had a lot more success sending questionnaires to retired athletes.
11. Writing to celebrities is a whole other topic. You normally do not need to send anything, and if you do, make sure to include proper postage. Celebrities differ in many ways. Some, you need to send a self-addressed stamped envelope. Others, they will send you a signed picture without an SASE. So, to have a better chance of getting something back, I would suggest sending a 6x9 SASE or bigger, with 74¢ postage. If the celebrity doesn't use your SASE, he or she will probably use the postage from your SASE on the envelope they send. Finally, sending index cards (blank or custom) is not something I'd suggest doing. They probably won't sign. I've only received one success on an index card out of about 10 sent.
12. Often times, an athlete (most often a retired athlete) will request that you send them a certain amount of money for an autograph. When this happens, you have multiple choices - pay the fee to get the player's autograph, search the Internet to see if you can find an autograph of the athlete at a cheaper price than the fee, or not pay the fee at all. It is entirely your choice as to what you want to do. Sometimes it depends on how much you really want the autograph and sometimes it depends on if you are in a financial situation that would allow you to have enough money to pay the fee.
On occasion, an athlete will hold your cards "hostage" - that is, he will hang onto your cards until you send an amount of money he requests. With this situation, there are multiple things you can do. You can send him the money he requests to get your cards back, you can write him a letter requesting he send your cards back unsigned without sending a fee, or you can let him keep the cards, because they weren't worth much anyway. Again, the choice is up to you. As with the other situation, sometimes it depends on how much you really want the autograph, while sometimes it depends on if you can afford it.
14. Stock up on Forever Stamps. With stamp price increases happening almost yearly now, the Forever Stamp is the way to go. If you buy 500 one year for 44 cents each, then the next year stamps rise in price to 46 cents each, you can still use the ones you bought for 44 cents. Forever Stamps save you money.
These are the basic rules of obtaining autographs TTM. Hope these help!