Q. What is AutographChaser.com?
A. AutographChaser.com is a comprehensive autograph resource website that focuses on collecting autographs through the mail, helping collectors improve their collections and providing a fun and informative meeting place for collectors of all genres: sports, music, politics, celebrities and more.
Q. How do I write to my favorite sports personality or celebrity?
A. Collectors have received legitimate autographs through the mail for more than 50 years. When writing a request there are a few things to keep in mind. Be short and to the point. No more than two or three paragraphs. Always send a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope.) Not everyone signs—check recent successes when you are a just starting out in the hobby to ensure you will have some initial success.
Q. Do celebrities mind collectors sending autograph requests to their home addresses?
A. It depends. It has been my experience that most sports people/celebrities are honored to get autograph requests. Some prefer that they are sent to their place of work or to their team address. Others always sign from their home address. Others will not sign at all from their home address. It’s a toss-up--I recommend performing a search to see if the person has signed from their home address in the past. I had one baseball player’s wife contact me because their home address was inundated with requests. She said her husband was happy to sign for his fans but wanted me to pass on their PO address for requests.
Q. Who runs the site?
A. Tom Talbot, a long-time collector and writer is the moderator for this site. Tom writes a weekly column “Chasing Autographs on a Budget” for Tuff Stuff magazine for the past 4 years and has been a frequent contributor to Autograph Collector magazine, Beckett Magazine and Sports Collectors Digest.
Q. What types of information are discussed on the message boards?
A. The message boards at AutographChaser.com will contain information about collecting autographs. Period. Examples of pertinent topics are: What address was used for a particular success, How to write a request letter, What types of projects you may be working on. There will be no bickering on politics, religion or any other hot-button topic. No one cares that your pet passed away last week or that you didn’t receive anything in the mail today. This is an autograph site and the topics will stick to autographs.
Q. How do I report a successful autograph request?
A. Members may enter their successes and failures by using the left navigation link “Enter Address”. The purpose of this site is to provide the autograph collector with all information available to better his collection. As such—every success or failure reported will have a legitimate address listed. If you do not care to post your addresses then this is not the site for you.
Q. Do I need to send an item to get signed or will the person supply their own?
A. To improve your chances I recommend sending an item along with your request letter. It can be as simple as a blank 3 x 5 index card, a picture or a magazine. You can also go the extra mile and send something like a mini helmet, baseball or movie poster. The sky is the limit but remember the golden rule of through-the-mail collecting: Never send anything that you can’t afford to not get back”. It’s always a crapshoot even if the person is generally a reliable signer. Be prepared to lose a few items. On the other hand—many signers will send out a signed promotional picture to fans.
Q. How do I know if the signature I receive is real?
A. Unless you see the person sign the item, you can’t be sure it’s real. But there are many telltale signs of a legitimate autograph versus a fake. Here are a few tips:
STAMP: Certain signers use a “stamp” on their items which is the easiest fake to spot. The ink is usually faded and blotchy and upon close inspection, it doesn’t look like someone actually signed it. Football rookie Jay Cutler comes to mind as many collectors are reporting stamps on the cards they have sent him recently.
AUTOPEN: Other signers use the dreaded “autopen” made famous by Presidents and politicians. The autopen is a machine that “signs” the person’s autograph perfectly every time because it’s programmed from their real hand-signed signature. The autopen signature is usually a giveaway if you know what to look for. An autopen signature has a uniform stream of ink throughout the signature versus a real signature that shows different pressures throughout the name usually tailing off in pressure at the beginning and end of the signature. Also, the autopen starts and stops several times throughout the signature producing small “globbing points” where the pen starts and stops. Another way to tell is to look at 2 signatures from the same address—if they are identical in shape and size—they are probably an autopen.
COPIES/PREPRINTS: The preprint photos are very popular with celebrities/sports stars that are very popular and rarely if ever sign through the mail. Look at the autograph under a strong light to see if the autograph is composed of ink sitting on top of the picture (real) or if it is merely a copy—part of the picture itself.