|Address Research & Collecting Skills 101|
|Lesson Links: Tips & Info Article Dealers/Auctions UACC The Force.Net FAQ Google BanthaTracks E-Mail|
Lesson One: Collecting for the Beginning Collector
So . . . you want to get a collection that surpasses mine, do you? No problem! But how do you do it? Simple. Read through these online
lessons. I am going to teach you what no other will dare to do. How to find celebrity contact information! All you have to do is follow the lesson,
do the homework, then come back when ready, for a new lesson and more address resources. The result will be a full mailbox.
I'm often asked how I get so many autographs & addresses. The answer is that I get autographs from many sources. Addresses too.
TIP #1 Decide what you want to collect. This means photos, posters, toys, CCG or just plain index cards. Take the following into
consideration. What can I afford? Remember, there are literally THOUSANDS of celebrities and to collect that many, it will be an expensive
process. So make sure you LOVE the items you will be sending and be happy with them for a long time.
Take into consideration that you might be buying, trading and collecting in person at conventions or events and lastly consider all the problems
associated with each. Read my Tips & Info for Autograph Collecting Page to help you with the following:
What to send, Outer envelopes, SASEs, Autograph abbreviations, What to write in a letter, how to spot fakes, how to care for your
autographs etc. Everything you need to know is right there. Bookmark it!
TIP #2 You might want to start your collection off with some sure bets. That means buying. I am including a Dealer list to help you with a few
qualified dealers. Websites and e-mails can be found in the Resource Area of this site. I personally started my collection off by buying and
bidding on Auctions. I don't recommend buying and auctions in comparison to through the mail and in person collecting. I'll tell you now that
Harrison Ford cannot be found on Ebay that easily. Oh sure, there's a hundred postings up there. But it's a sure bet 95% are fake. If you do go
through auctions, do the research first. Buying shouldn't be the first thing a collector who is new does. You need to be more experienced about
signing habits, how to spot a fake and what prices should be average, first. Read the If you do buy, make sure they are UACC members. Check
out the UACC and see what it does.
TIP #3 Address collecting (aha. I know, this is what you were waiting for now wasn't it!): Start your through the mail collection off with the easy to get addresses. The first thing I did (as a novice) was type "Star Wars Autographs" and "Star Wars Addresses" into my browser (Google is a great browser to use). What did I get? The Force.net popped up right away. Almost every other site I came across had only the same addresses copied from two major sites. Read my FAQ page for information about why I do not post addresses personally. Go to The Force.Net and copy all the addresses you can and start your collection. You may want to visit my Oldest Diaries to get more addresses. Write short nice letters using the information provided in the Tips and Information Article and send out as many as you can afford. But before you seal the envelopes and mail them, read tip #3 first.
TIP #4 Start your own address list. Be careful. This is critical: realize this list is going to grow to astronomical proportions. My personal list is now over 200 pages. You'll have to have a system to be able to get what you want when you want it without going through a million addresses to get it. Personally, I use Microsoft Word. I use a bookmark insert in it to go to last names beginning with A, B, C, etc. I have a bookmark by each letter to go back to the top. It worked fine until recently. I have so many addresses even going through C for example takes a bit of scrolling. So think up a good system that will allow you to access the information easily. If you'd like to learn how to insert bookmarks into your document, feel free to e-mail me.
Color coding will be essential when starting your list. I use RED for Return to Senders etc, GREEN for good returns and other colors for other things that I'll explain in next month. Also, remember too, that when sending out stuff, it's a good idea to put the date you sent it out and the date it was received. Don't need it you say? Well, it may not mean much to you now, but as you become more experienced, you'll realize the significance of dates. Coding is the most important step. Codes allow you to know who is sending you the autograph. Write a code that you make up (numbers, letters, etc) and put the code either on the item you send or the SASE. I choose the SASE as it doesn't wreck my autograph, but sometimes, the star does not return your SASE and the code is gone. That is a personal preference you'll have to choose. Coding is important because sometimes, you can't recognize the handwriting and may not know who you got! Annotate on your list the characters name, the movie they were in or what they did. This will be important for later use. I'll explain in a further lesson.
Something good: Visit a Star Wars Site called BanthaTracks.
Homework Assignment: Start by visiting dealers sites, buy a couple if you want but only after you've looked at several signatures from other dealers. Compare signatures, ask questions before buying. See if they are UACC registered. Visit Ebay but look and read carefully. Note differences in signatures to become aware you can't trust everything you see but don't bid unless you are sure. I don't recommend bidding at all yet. Start your address list. Make your own individual list with your own individual style. Read my Tips and info page for advice. Send out requests, but before mailing them, code the envelopes or items, annotate on the list what the code is for each name, put the date you sent it out and the date you get a response (good or bad). Color code bad address and good ones. This will be useful to you later on when your list is HUGE (and by the time you are done with my lessons, it will be huge) and you need to sift through it. Now wait through the month and let the responses start trickling in. E-mail me with your successes and failures and if you have questions that cannot be answered on the Tips and FAQ pages.
END OF LESSON