Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Must-Haves For Every TTM Autograph Collector


In any hobby, there are "must-haves". The through-the-mail TTM autograph hobby is no different. A pen and paper is an obvious must-have, but the rest of the items might not be that apparent. I decided to compile a list of items I use in order to keep my collection healthy and up-to-date.

As a hardcore TTMer, these are the items I use to help enhance my autograph collection:

  • ITEMS TO BE SIGNED -
Photos - As you may have noticed from my previous posts, I am a big proponent for 4x6 photos. They are cheap to print and finding images on Google is as easy as searching the person you are looking for. I always use high-resolution photos. You can do a filtered search for high-resolution photos by using 'Search Tools' on Google Images and clicking Size - Large.



I purchase all my 4x6 and 8x10 photos online at MailPix.com. Usually, 4x6 photos cost me no more than 15 cents each to print. I usually receive my order from Mailpix within 2 weeks of purchase.

Cards - Non-Sports & Sports Cards are also favorites of mine. I purchase my cards at flea markets, local card shops, and online at Comc.com. I also purchase Rackrs cards which are blank autograph cards that are perfect for sports prospects, coaches, and front office team members who may not have cards or images available. You can purchase them online: https://rackrs.com/Store


Other Items - Although many athletes and celebs have stopped signing them, I send blank 3x5 index cards from time to time. Usually, I will send them to protect trading cards as I never, EVER send cards in toploaders. The reason I don't send my cards protected by toploaders is that I have had a few cards sent back to me with the plastic toploader signed and not the card.

  • ENVELOPES -
4 1/8 x 9 1/2 inch Self-Adhesive Envelopes - These are perfect for sending a letter of request, photos, cards, and a SASE. When sending 4x6 photos, I will fold up a self-addressed stamped 4 1/8 x 9 1/2 inch Self-Adhesive Envelope inside along with my letter of request and item to be signed. These can be purchased virtually anywhere. I buy mine from Wal-Mart or I order them in bulk from Packaging Supplies by mail.


6 x 9 inch Manila Envelopes - These are essential for requesting playbills (Please read: Requesting Autographed Playbills From Broadway ). If you're sending to anyone on Broadway, these are perfect for getting autographed playbills back!

9 x 12 Legal Size Envelopes - If you're into collecting autographed 8x10 photos or magazines, this is what you are going to need.

  • STAMPS -
As a Canadian, getting my hands on U.S. stamps is not an easy task. At one time I used to have to drive down to the US/Canada boarder to buy stamps. Luckily I can now order stamps on USPS.com

If you are from the U.S. and have the opposite problem, you can Stock up on stamps at Canada Post with Stamp Coils! Get your stamps today - Click here!

For European addresses, I always include a few bucks for postage. Stamps can also be found on eBay.


  • MAILING LABELS -
I don't know about you, but I send out a high volume of TTM requests each month. Anytime I can save a few minutes or save my hand from having to write, I will. This is why I print out all my return labels with my name and address on my home ink jet printer. I buy 2 5/8 x 1 inch mailing labels from the dollar store. There are 360 labels in total. This saves me time not having to write my return address at the top right hand corner of the envelopes.



  • ADDRESS DATABASE -
StarTiger - Celebrity Addresses & Autograph Community is an absolute essential for any TTM autograph collector. I am very resourceful when it comes to finding addresses, however I am not as resourceful as StarTiger. The $34.95 per year subscription is well worth the price. Over the years, I have obtained invaluable information from StarTiger. This goes back to the StarArchive days!



Did I leave anything out? Let me know by commenting below. I'm always looking for new ways to improve my own collection. I appreciate all of your comments and suggestions!

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