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> TTM Autograph Collecting 101

gregorium
post Apr 5 2007, 11:47 AM
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Have you wondered how to go about collecting autographs through the mail but donít know where to start? Hereís a little tutorial to help you get started.

Many athletes can be contacted care of their teams or agents. Keep in mind that retired athletes often act as scouts, coaches, consultants, general managers and presidents for your favourite organizations. Home address lists are also available online, but please, donít drop in for tea. A little research can also cut down on the amount of mail that you get back marked Return To Sender (RTS). While many athletes or celebrities will sign for free, others will require that a fee be paid or a donation be made for their signatures. Donít be shy to ask your fellow TCC members to share their experiences regarding TTM requests for certain players or celebrities.

Your letter should be concise and courteous. Everyone is busy these days, so keep your letter short and legible. Feel free to let them know that you have enjoyed their work. Using specifics adds sincerity to the letter, but be sure that you are using the right information. For example, ďMr. Cruise, I loved you in Top GunĒ will probably be more successful than ďMr. Cruise, I loved you in Young GunsĒ. Some people prefer to receive hand-written letters over those that are word-processed. It gives the impression of being more sincere. Ask politely for their autograph and be sure to thank them for their time.

You may be sending to a multi-millionaire, but donít forget, you are asking them for a favour, so you should not expect them to cover the cost of sending you an autograph. Always send a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) and ensure that you have both sufficient postage and postage from the country you anticipate a response from. For example, if you live in the USA and are sending to Canada, you should have Canadian postage on your SASE and US postage on the request. You can purchase postage online from the postal services. International Reply Coupons (IRC) can be sent instead of the required foreign return postage. They are available from your local post office and can be exchanged for the minimum postage for an unregistered priority airmail letter. If you are sending oversized mail, you may need to include more than one IRC. Better yet, how about trading with another TCC member who lives in another country for the foreign postage you require? They are likely in the same boat as you regarding postage from your country. Remember, there is no obligation on the part of the athlete or celebrity to fulfill your request. Therefore, the easier you make it for them, the better your chances are at a successful return.

Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that your item will be returned, so donít send anything that you cannot stand to lose. That one of a kind item may look great if itís signed, but there is a risk of loss or damage, so you may be better off to wait for a public or private signing opportunity.

Be patient. Many of your requests will be returned to you within a few weeks or months, but it is not unheard of for a request to be returned years after it was sent.

Beware! Not every request will be successful. Some items may be returned unsigned, while others will feature facsimile, secretarial, stamped or auto-penned autographs. The best way to ensure authenticity is to have the item signed in person, but there are services out there that will authenticate a signature for a fee.

Most important of all, and I canít stress this enough, is be polite. Always use your Please and Thank Youís. A little respect goes a long way and will help you build that TTM collection. Plus, being polite will also make your mother proud!



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gregorium
post Apr 5 2007, 11:48 AM
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...and may your RTS's be few and your mailboxes full!!

Good luck everyone! biggrin.gif



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dd316
post Apr 5 2007, 12:01 PM
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Great writeup Greg, very helpful!!



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bufbillsstlcards
post Apr 5 2007, 12:02 PM
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Thanks for posting this, I have been thinking about doing this for Buffalo Bills.

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JasonS
post Apr 5 2007, 03:10 PM
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TTM requests are a blast. It makes getting the mail something to look forward too. Good job Greg!

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psupuz31
post Apr 5 2007, 03:51 PM
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Nice Job, collecting TTM autographs is a very fun hobby to get into!


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post Apr 18 2007, 10:36 AM
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I love collecting TTM because it's fun and an inexpensive way to get autographs from your favorite players. Plus getting an autograph back in the mail is 100x better than getting bills!


If you have less than 5 transactions, I ask that you send first.

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letsgopens2720
post Apr 24 2007, 03:56 PM
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Thanks for writing this up, it was very helpful when I read it. I have a couple questions tho,
How big of an envelop and how much postage is usually required?


If anyone has any Colby Armstrong, Kristopher Letang cards FS/FT, please let me know

Also looking for any other Penguins...If anyone has any, Please let me know. Thanks

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gregorium
post Apr 24 2007, 04:02 PM
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It depends what you are looking to have signed. If you are sending an 8X10, then you'll need to send a 9X12 envelope with sufficient postage (check your applicable mail service's website or visit your post office). If it is just trading cards, then a regular envelope for the SASE with first class return postage.



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gregorium
post Apr 24 2007, 04:02 PM
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Welcome to TCC, BTW!!



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letsgopens2720
post Apr 25 2007, 11:42 AM
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Do you always have to send something for them to sign or will they usually send an 8x10? If not, what would be a good place online to get cheap 8x10's of athletes? There are some players that I can't seem to find a card/picture of that I would like to write to. Thanks again for all the help.


If anyone has any Colby Armstrong, Kristopher Letang cards FS/FT, please let me know

Also looking for any other Penguins...If anyone has any, Please let me know. Thanks

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psupuz31
post Apr 25 2007, 01:16 PM
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QUOTE(letsgopens2720 @ Apr 25 2007, 12:42 PM)
Do you always have to send something for them to sign or will they usually send an 8x10?  If not, what would be a good place online to get cheap 8x10's of athletes?  There are some players that I can't seem to find a card/picture of that I would like to write to.  Thanks again for all the help.
*


Best Sports Photos.com is pretty good. But what I like to do is get a photo on the internet, and then you go on photoshop make it to an 8x10 size. Then you can prints at any photo place online for like 3.00. You can find good photos at the teams sites they should have a photo gallery. Hope this helps!


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gregorium
post Apr 25 2007, 03:30 PM
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I've also toyed with making my own card. Find a photo you like online, then photoshop away. My wife is into scrapbooking and she has some special two sided tape that's archival safe, and I stick the finished "card" front onto one of those "decoy" cards that I get in my packs of hockey cards to give them some stiffness. If you feel adventurous, you could always design your own card back for it, too.



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urbanmonk
post Jun 29 2007, 11:10 AM
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Just thought I would pass on something that I did when sending TTM requests (most of mine were in late 90s, though going to start doing it again I think). Postal service can be rough on cards sometimes, but had problems with athlete putting card in toploader with wet sig and part of it coming off on toploader or smudging. So I took a toploader, put in a ad card from pack (or piece of cardboard) and cut out part of face so they could sign it without taking it out of toploader, yet it still gives the card protection from postal service. Also makes it easier on the person you are asking for the favor, and maybe might give you a better success rate.

Side note: only took me an hour to figuire out scanning and posting a pick (so I'm slow), anyway think that worked to give you a picture what it looks like, but I still don't have the hang of it yet, or got it to do what I wanted laugh.gif
oh well practice makes perfect or someone will give me a clue.

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whalerfan
post Jun 29 2007, 11:47 AM
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QUOTE(urbanmonk @ Jun 29 2007, 12:10 PM)
Just thought I would pass on something that I did when sending TTM requests (most of mine were in late 90s, though going to start doing it again I think).  Postal service can be rough on cards sometimes, but had problems with athlete putting card in toploader with wet sig and part of it coming off on toploader or smudging.  So I took a toploader, put in a ad card from pack (or piece of cardboard) and cut out part of face so they could sign it without taking it out of toploader, yet it still gives the card protection from postal service.  Also makes it easier on the person you are asking for the favor, and maybe might give you a better success rate. 

Side note: only took me an hour to figuire out scanning and posting a pick (so I'm slow), anyway think that worked to give you a picture what it looks like, but I still don't have the hang of it yet, or got it to do what I wanted  laugh.gif
oh well practice makes perfect or someone will give me a clue.
*



Great one, thanks for the tip!

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urbanmonk
post Jun 29 2007, 03:39 PM
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Oops forgot to say I used a box knife (why you put something in it so you don't cut thru backside), tried scissors and it didn't work very well.


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gregorium
post Jul 4 2007, 01:32 AM
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Innovative idea! It also let's you guide the player to a certain area of the card too.



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urbanmonk
post Jul 5 2007, 07:50 AM
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QUOTE(gregorium @ Jul 3 2007, 11:32 PM)
Innovative idea!† It also let's you guide the player to a certain area of the card too.
*


I was just thinking of making it easier on them, but that's a good point too. Also helped me not get smudged sigs and a toploader signed on the inside laugh.gif . May have been a fluke, but seemed my rate of succes went up a little bit, but really hard to gauge since some took years to come back to me, and many never saw again. The first ones I sent out w/o toploader and USPS did a number on some of them (imagine nowadays same or worse than the late 90s).
Also now that I think of it, may have used scissors after all, or had best success with them (sorry was 10 yrs ago). I think I'm going to try TTM again once I get some newer cards, sides I got 100 of them cut up toploaders and nothing to do with them.

EDIT:
Forgot, I also had one guy sign my toploader and not the card huh.gif if I find it I will post a pic, thats when I came up with the idea to cut the toploader. Also had a few rookie FB players use a ballpoint pen, so beware of the new guys especially the linemen who may not be used to signing alot (I pretty much sent to any player I had a card from and could find on a team llist).


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letsgopens2720
post Jul 5 2007, 04:09 PM
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Thanks for the tip with the toploader....I never would have thought of something like that
Next one I send out I will be sure to try that


If anyone has any Colby Armstrong, Kristopher Letang cards FS/FT, please let me know

Also looking for any other Penguins...If anyone has any, Please let me know. Thanks

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urbanmonk
post Jul 6 2007, 10:26 AM
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Ok found my signed toploader.
It was even one of my cut ones, flipped card over and signed toploader. Hard to see scan, it is Jammi German.

http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z69/urb...edtoploader.jpg


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