Getting in touch with celebrities for their autographs has gotten easier in the Internet age. Numerous databases exist that will provide this information. Some will provide the information at no charge, others operate as a subscription service. The only drawback is that the contact information may be out-of-date. There is no real protection against this, since information changes quickly, but a good service tries to be diligent in keeping current. Another source is movie studios, or celebrity agencies. Many of these businesses handle the fan mail of stars, and will try to comply with any reasonable requests. If you are seeking the actual signature of someone, it is best to send an item to be signed (be sure to enclose an SASE). If you simply request a signed photo, you will probably receive one of a mass produced reproduction, and the value is diminished.
Appraising techniques requires specialized knowledge in the field, as well as years of experience. However, it is possible to become self-educated in the field and acquire a strong layperson’s expertise that will help when buying in the field. The primary step is to read extensively on the subject of choice. Numerous sources are available with descriptions and pictures of antiques, and how to interpret their appearance and markings. These texts are typically broken down by field, such as furniture, pottery, jewelry, art, and so on. For the avid collector, they can be invaluable and will clue the consumer into whether or not the object being viewed is an original or antique. There is a great deal to learn about any category of antiques, and it takes patience, a willingness to learn, and a keen eye to become proficient in appraising antiques.
There are several ways to get an autograph of your favorite athlete. Some have are a little quicker than others. One way is to hang around a sporting event at least thirty minutes before a game, get his or her attention, and ask politely. Have pen and paper handy, and do not shove it into the face of the athlete. You can also wait around by the players’ gate after the event and ask then. Another way is to write to the athlete directly. In the letter phrase your request in a civil manner, and ask that he or she sign the enclosed item and return it. Make sure you have enclosed a self-addressed stamped envelope, with appropriate postage on it. While asking for an autograph on a generic sports card is a good move, do not have the athlete sign his or her rookie card. It diminishes the value of both.
Will a little effort and planning, getting an autograph from an athlete at a sporting event is not terribly difficult. If you have a child, niece, or nephew from seven to ten years old, you can use them as your autograph hound – athletes respond favorably to this group. They will sign for almost anyone, however, if you remember certain rules. First, you will have to ask at least half an hour before the contest, or wait until the player is leaving the building. Second, be polite and not pushy. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Third, always have pen and paper and do not shove them directly into the face of the athlete. Present them from a distance, and in a non-threatening manner. If you stick with this basic plan, you will able to get an autograph from most athletes by yourself, and let your relatives fend for themselves.