Memo to holiday-celebrating, gift-giving folks baffled by autograph collecting:
(Quick! Forward to friends, relatives and anyone who’ll take pity on a hobbyist in December)
1. www.SportsCollectors.net. Invest in a collector. For $14.99 a year, here are daily updates on the world of autographs. It’s the chance to share what you’ve learned and benefit from the wisdom of the best hobbyists out there. A great community.
2. www.SportsAddressLists.com. Harvey Meiselman charges $35 for the ultimate baseball address list. He finds the unfindable, sharing ways to reach everyone in baseball’s past and present. This is a valuable tool no collector should be without.
3. Postage stamps: Ask your mail carrier for a “stamps by mail” order form. Get the stamps sent to the collector you want to treat. We don’t need a lottery ticket for a $1. For two “Forever” stamps, we get more excitement and better odds. By the way, “Forever” stamps are best. The self-addressed, stamped envelope might not get returned before the next postal increase. That autograph return could be kept in postal detention for the sake of an extra few cents owed.
4. Office supply gift card: Collectors have endless appetites for envelopes, computer printer ink and paper. Keep us well fed, and we’ll be happy through the winter.
5. Time: This one is the easiest and hardest. Ask, “What’s new with your collection” Then, truly listen. Your collector loves baseball and the hobby. Getting to tell someone why both are special is a joy. That might be the best gift of all.