It’s time to try again.
More than 20 years ago, I wrote this book. Long out of print, I realize that the world has changed.
However, some things stay the same. I still believe this is a great hobby, one that a newcomer can enjoy. When I had a comment posted this week for any tips, I decided to see if I could condense my advice from a book down to one feature. Here goes:
HOW TO COLLECT AUTOGRAPHS THROUGH THE MAIL
1. Always enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope
2. NEVER risk sending something you’d hate to lose. Even if the signer signs it, you have to get the item returned safely from the postal service. Because some signers get hundreds of letters a year, they may return your valuable card to a lucky, unknown collector. You could get their poor-condition common.
3. Use the most current home addresses possible. Join http://www.sportscollectors.net/. Buy the “Baseball Address List,” compiled yearly from Harvey Meiselman.
4. Send a personal letter, not a form letter. Show you know about the person you’re asking for an autograph.
5. If you send different cards, send no more than three. Two would be better. Most people who get duplicates of anything think you’re selling the extra on eBay.
6. The oldest retirees may prefer a hand-written letter. Because these people spent more time playing sports than learning how to type, they may suspect that you’re letter wasn’t real.
7. Any time you get something extra in a response (added photos, a letter, etc.), write another note of thanks. These strangers are trying to make you happy. Let them know you are.
8. Be ready to help other collectors. If you have news, share it. Likewise, don’t be shy. There are many in the hobby who remember what it was like to be a newbie. They’ll respond to a thoughtful, sincere question.
These are the basics. Print out the list, or forward the tips to someone who’d like to try TTM autographs.
Are there other tips that need to be included, readers?
Coming Friday: Hank Foiles shares his baseball story.