Collecting autographs of the rich and famous has been a popular avocation for hundreds of years. Autographs of people like Isaac Newton and George Washington have survived because their contemporaries and generations of collectors that followed have appreciated their achievements and have treasured their autographs.
Catalogs distributed by autograph dealers are an enjoyable way to view autographs. The number of dealers who distribute autograph catalogs for buying and selling autographs seems to grow each day as the industry has become more commercialized. Items autographed by historical or popular figures often sell for many thousands of dollars.
Websites devoted to autograph collecting have also proliferated in recent years. Many of these websites are educational. Informative autograph websites include those that have descriptions of nomenclature, examples of signatures that may be used to cross validate autographs in your existing collection, and tips about record keeping and preservation of autographs. Some autograph websites are limited to auctions where autographed items are sold to the highest bidder. Some autograph dealer websites have autographed material that are sold at fixed prices. Other websites provide modern celebrity addresses that a collector can write to with the hope of obtaining a true autograph. A few autograph websites offer printed facsimiles of autographed material that may be attractively displayed in a frame or report.
Serious autograph collectors often find it useful to focus their energy and resources to a specific niche. For example, some collectors limit their efforts to sports figures, others to signers of the Declaration of Independence, world leaders, or space exploration. Other categories of collecting may include autographs pertaining to subject matter such as finance, politics, railroad construction, or entertainment. By limiting yourself to a specific field within autograph collecting, you will have a direction and fulfillment. Your specialized niche will also provide a greater sense of purpose and gratification.
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