Autograph Collecting Hints and Tips
NEW POSTAL RATES!
As of January 17, 2016, the U. S. Postal Service first-class mailing rates for large envelopes is 98 cents for the first ounce, and 22 cents each additional ounce.An envelope is classified as a "large envelope" if it exceeds any of the following dimensions:
The maximum size of a large envelope is:
The weight limit for First-Class Mail large envelopes is 13 ounces. Large envelopes that are rigid, non-rectangular or non-square, or not uniformly thick are considered "packages" and pay package rate prices of $2.54 for up to 3 ounces.
When I send out autograph requests, I use a 9" x 12" manila envelope as my self addressed stamped envelope (SASE). Since most celebrities send out 8" x 10" photos, this is a perfect size. I enclose this SASE in a 10" x 13" manila envelope and address this outer envelope with the celebrity's address. If I decide to enclose a thin cardboard, I usually attach additional postage on the outer envelope.
Large envelopes will require 98 cents in postage for the first ounce of weight. Each additional ounce costs an additional 22 cents. So, for a 1 ounce manila envelope (either 9" x 12" or 10 x 13"), 98 cents would be affixed to each envelope. For a 2 ounce manila envelope (again, either 9" x 12" or 10 x 13"), $1.20 would need to be affixed to the outer envelope. So, for my mailing, I would attach 98 cents on the 9" x 12" SASE and enclose this in a 10" x 13" outer manila envelope, which would be addressed to the celebrity, with $1.20 postage. This would amount to a total cost of $2.18 per mailing.
Use a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope!
The use of a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (S.A.S.E.) is a necessity if you want to receive a response from a celebrity. This is considered one of the basic rules of autograph collecting etiquette, and will GREATLY increase your chances of receiving a reply.
Make It "Short and Sweet"
When writing a letter to a celebrity, it is advisable to write no more than one page. Although celebrities may be thrilled that you appreciate their work, or liked their acting in a certain TV show or movie, they simply do not have enough time to read multi-page letters from fans.
Also, when writing to a celebrity or idol, try to include some specific references to their work that you particularly like(d). Be specific. Mention character names that they have played and movies in which they have starred or appeared. This makes a much better impression than just simply saying... "I enjoy all your movies. Send me an autograph".
Handwrite or Type Your Request
There has been considerable debate in autograph collecting groups as to whether you should handwrite or type your requests. In my opinion, both forms are acceptable. I would not recommend using a pre-typed "fill-in-the blanks" form where you fill in the celebrities' name and such. Example:
Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms.__________. I enjoyed your role in the movie ___________________. I have been a fan for ____ years. Please send me an autographed photo.
Personally, I type my requests because my handwriting is not that great. However, I ALWAYS sign my letter and write the address on the outer envelope by hand.
Be Formal and Polite
When addressing a celebrity in your letter, I would recommend addressing the letter: "Dear Dr./Mr./Mrs./Ms." rather than by the persons' first name. For example, if we were writing to request Jessica Simpson's autograph, even though it may sound more friendly to write "Dear Jessica", I think that "Dear Ms. Simpson" is more appropriate and respectful. While "Dear Ms. Simpson" may sound formal, it's important to remember that we are writing to someone with whom we do not have a personal relationship.
Buy or Download A List
If you plan to write to all your favorite celebrities, but you just can't find their addresses, I would recommend either buying an address list, or better yet, downloading my FREE celebrity address list or sports address list. These lists are a great help to both novice and experienced autograph collectors looking for that sometimes hard-to-find address.
After sending out an autograph request, have patience. Due to their busy schedules, it may take many celebrities and sports figures as long as 6 months to 1 year to respond. I have heard of some celebrities taking 2 years to respond. On the other hand, you may be pleasantly suprised to learn that many celebrities respond in a matter of days. Many of the autographs in my collection (Bea Arthur, Art Carney, Perry Como, Dom DeLuise, etc.) came back in less than 1 week!