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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Collecting Autographs

Gem, of Journally Yours ( ) questioned me about collecting autographs. So I thought i would pass on some information.

The first and hardest part of collecting autographs is finding an address to the person you want to write to. An important note here: If somehow you obtain a personal address to their home..NEVER, send a letter there unless you have other contact with that person and they said you could. That is an invasion of what they are trying to keep.. privacy. You always want to write to their Agency, Manager, or a Studio if it is an actor. (Or other places if a sports star or politician etc) Their home is their sanctuary and unless otherwise given permission you do not want to write to their home.

There are a number of ways to find an adress for your 'star" no matter what catagory them fall into. The way i used to do it is to write down.. maybe 3 names i want to write to, then I would call the Screen Actors Guild in Hollywood California (yes a long distance phone call) and they would give out the name and phone number of the Agency the said actors were listed with. Even then I would call the Agency and ask if they would forward mail to the actor.. they always said yes. So that is where i would write too. The Screen Actors Guild (Directors Guild etc) will always have "the most current" listing available.

Other ways are to do some research. Sometimes, Imdb (international movie data base) has the information when you look up the actor.. but not always.. so at times a search thru the internet is a good idea. Find their personal websites or fan club presidents, and at times you can reach them that way. If found on the internet be sure the date of that site is fairly recent. At times the actors change Agents so you are hoping for the most current. As an example: I did find Dakota Fannings agent listed on Imdb.. i wrote her and she sent me an autographed picture.

Another way to get addresses is to invest in a book of "Addresses" that can be found at most bookstores.. i had alot of sucess that way when i first began writing to actors. (and the book is generally fairly cheap)

And one last suggestion is either to go to an autograph show (I know they aren't in every state) or to purchase one from a dealer. First off, try your best to be sure the dealers are reputable!
One thing i do NOT do is buy one off of Ebay. I'm not saying they aren't authentic but just checking on my friend DeForest Kelley's name, I have seen a number of "fake" autographs.. those I know by sight! There are also many autograph dealers on line.

Once you have an address you want to write your letter... If you read up most places will tell you to make it short and sweet and no longer then one page long. Well.. you CAN do that if you want. I've never listened to those people and if i am going to write, the chances are it's the only time i may write to them so I say all i want to say!! Most times this comes to a 2 or 3 page letter! Now, I'm not saying you need to do that either lol.. but i do think it's what you are comfortable with.

You will need two 8 1/2 x 11 manilla envelopes. The first one you address to the address you obtained. The second one you address to yourself. I put the second one in the first along with my letter and if i can find one, a piece of firm cardboard to help prevent bending... then i weigh it or take it to a post office to get weighed.. stamp the first envelope and then take out the second one and stamp it the same amount. This way they can use your cardboard and envelope already stamped to mail you your photo. "IF" they are inclinded to do so (and most are). You have to realize that some will not answer. But my educated guess in this is that at least 90% will get back to you sooner or later.

Which brings me to "time".. for the most part you will get a response in the first 8 weeks. If not, then the chances of getting a response drops dramatically. However.. never say never.. I have received responses as long as a YEAR from when i mailed them out. This is due to the fact they may be off in another country working or such.

So.. if you are inclined to start a small collection of "famous" people.. I hope this information will help you. It's a fun hobby.. it's always so enjoyable to get one in the mail because you never know when it will come, and it always makes your day a little brighter.

When i write letters.. as much as i hope for a response, my frame of mind is that i really enjoy this person or i wouldn't be writing. I always add a line after asking for an autograph saying, "If you don't autograph, I understand you are busy.. I would have written to you anyway!" (which i truly mean) Sometimes I think that helps, but i can't guarantee it lol.

One last thing.. the more famous the person is.. and if they are currently making movies a lot.. it may be difficult to get the autograph because they ARE so busy. You may want to start with someone you admire, but may not be quite as known as .. oh.. Sean Connery or Harrison Ford. But, if they mean alot to you.. write the letter anyway!

I hope this helps anyone that is considering to collect autographs!

don't let reality spoil your dreams.


Anonymous Chuck Ferris said...

Never understood autographs. I always thought it was an invasion of privacy to ask a celebrity for an autograph. The few celebrities I have met, I have merely nodded and said hello or "I enjoy you work." I met John Travola and we talked about airplanes. The lady I was with was wiggling and itching to ask for an autograph but I told her, "No you don't. We're just two pilots talking about airplanes." John overhead me, smiled, and said, "That's right."
Now, having said that about autographs, I will admit that a family treasure is an autographed picture of Susan B.Anthony. (What would that go for at an autograph auction?"

12:11 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Honestly, if someone had said they were going to write an entry about autograph collecting, I would have said "BLAH".

But you know what? This was very interesting. That's why I love blogs. You learn stuff and get introduced to things you never normally would.

And I love the IMDB site. I use it to look up quotes all the time.

Great entry, very neat.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Astaryth said...

Happy Turkey Day!

I have a couple of autographs... but not because I'm a collector. These are friends. I have a favorite one of Gaylord Maynard and his horse. He's been on shows like the tonight show and things, but I love the autograph because I worked with him for a few years and he 'personalized' the autograph. Usually he just signs his name, Mine he put a little something about me and then signed it.

It's funny, I often worked with people for sometimes quite long periods and don't ever think about getting an autograph or picture till after they leave (or I leave) then I'm always "Darn, I should have gotten something from them" But,I never thought of them as 'celebrities' they were collegues and friends. Often I didn't even realize they were 'famous' till later ROFL

12:52 AM  
Blogger Karen Funk Blocher said...

The only autographs I ever got by mail were from Madeleine L'Engle, David Gerrold and Harlan Ellison (replies to letters), Fess Parker (I wrote a letter to Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort, and enclosed an old comic book), the Sherman Brothers (eBay), and Ward Kimball (also eBay). Everything else I got in person at conventions and charity events. (It's not a huge or impressive collection by any means.)

The only reason I have some confidence about the Robert and Richard Sherman autographs is that they are fairly common and fairly specialized. Basically only Disney fans know or care about these gifted songwriters. The Ward Kimball one is on a contract for a Firehouse Five Plus Two performance, so that seems pretty solid. In fact, I think Frank Thomas also signed it. (They were two of Disney's Nine Old Men, both recently deceased now, but alive when I bought this.)

Thaks for the tips. I may have to try this sometime.


8:45 PM  
Anonymous Katie aka RIPHeathy said...

I wanted a De autograph! :( But ebay or amazon is the only place I can get it...and I don't want a fake one :( aaarghh What should I doooo?

10:11 PM  

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