Can I have your autograph?

By CJ Click and Matt Herter
Times-News correspondents
teen20@thetimesnews.com

Autographs from your favorite celebrities can be obtained a number of ways, including using the Internet. / CJ Click, Times-News correspondent

   For many years, people have gone to premieres of movies coming out hoping to get a signature from their favorite celebrity. Little do most people know that you can receive an autograph just by sending a letter, a picture and a self-addressed stamped envelope.
It’s no longer necessary to spend hundreds of dollars for your favorite celebrity’s autograph on Ebay or at a convention. For just cents on the dollar you can get autographs through the mail. Though you have to pay for envelopes, photo paper, stamps, and letter paper, it is a lot cheaper than driving all the way to a red carpet.
There are several online address databases that can aid in starting your autograph collection such as Fanmail.biz or Startiger.com. Once you figure out who you want to write to, simply look up their fan mail address and draft a letter of request. Try to make the request as personal as possible.
There is no template for success, but making personal connections with the celebrity will surely aid in seeing your autograph request honored.
   Once you send off your request, patience is essential. Celebrities differ in their response times according to various projects and the business of their schedule. A few months is an average wait time for a response, but some celebrities can take a year or more to get back with you.
All celebrities are different. Some are good signers while others are not. It’s easy to stay up to date with a celebrity’s signing habits through the feedback on these websites. There are some things to keep in mind. Not all responses will be the actual authentic autograph of a celebrity.
Some will send out preprints, which are copies of a photo that has been autographed. You can tell if an autograph is a preprint by looking at the photo to see if it appears that the signature is actually a part of the photograph. If there is a glossiness to the signature, it is most likely a preprint.
Celebrities may also send out autopens. Autopen machines are programmed to match the strokes of a person’s handwriting. These can look authentic (appearing to have a drawn look to them, the signature being shaky or the same consistency throughout). A human’s hand creates pressure at various points of a signature, causing slight variations in the darkness of the strokes, while an autopen machine applies the same pressure throughout the signature.
Finally, some celebrities hire secretaries to sign for them. These can be the hardest to authenticate and have to be compared to a signature obtained in person. Autograph collecting can be a fun and rewarding hobby. There are always surprises to be had and anything can happen. Not only will your collection give you bragging rights, the authentic autographs you receive can have financial value to them, not to mention sentimental. Try it sometime and you may just find yourself becoming addicted to the hobby.

 CJ Click is a rising sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill and Matt Herter is a home-schooled rising junior; both are Teens & Twenties writers.

 

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