Complete Guide to In Person Autographing
By David Oby III aka CavFanatic21
Have you ever wanted to try to get your own in person autographs? If so, here is a quick guide that will hopefully encourage you to do so and not just confuse you. Although it may sound like a simple process, and can be, there is a variety of ways in which someone can go about getting in person autographs. Things vary from what you get signed, where you go, what you sign with, etc… I personally have experience doing in person autographs for a sports team in the area, and I will share with you what has seemed to work out best for me.
So let’s start out with the easiest way of doing things. Since it is the most simple, all you really need is the following…
-Something to get signed
Yes, I know this one is a serious brain cruncher, but you will get over the educationally challenge at some point. Most beginners at one point will probably do this method, including myself. But this can’t be fun enough to write an entire article on, can it?
Now, let’s get into options you can have for what you would like to get signed. Here are some of the things that are most common…
-Other forms of paper/cardboard/etc.
Although it may sound simple, cards are one of the more trickier things to get signed. There are many factors that go into you getting a nice in person auto versus a poor one on a card, such as how to hold the cards, their condition, and how to “prep” the card. The most important thing to know in trying to get in person autographs on cards is how to prep them. Most markers, including paint pens or sharpies, do not stick well to a glossy card. This is a problem, considering the majority of modern day cards are glossy. What is the solution?
No, I’m not kidding. When applied to the glossy surface of a card, baby powder actually gives a layer in which marker can stick to the card. Don’t be too aggressive, you don’t want to put too much on. Once you add just a pinch onto a card, make sure you rub it onto its surface on all areas of it, because you never know where it will be signed. Once you have done this, wipe off the excess until the layer of powder isn’t very visible. Here, you can visibly see the difference:
Both are the same type of card, but one with the powder. This same method can also work with pink rubber eraser, but may not come out as well.
There are many ways to hold cards when waiting or getting the autographs. Most people may just bring along a stack of cards to get signed. However, if you do this on a consistent basis and are getting many cards signed, I suggest this method.
The first thing you must remember is that you have to allow the person you are getting an autograph from to not really think about what he/she is doing. This system can take some time to put together, but is all worth it in the end when getting in person autographs on a consistent basis. You will first need to go out to anywhere that sells office supplies. You will need to buy photo corners, and some type of page separators for a binder.
Add the page dividers into any sized binder. The photo corners are used to be placed on two of the four corners of a card and placed onto the page dividers. This allows the card’s surface to be exposed for signing, while not having to add any adhesive such as tape to the card that can affect its condition. You can separate each page by player, so it is easy to find each of the individual cards. This way also allows you to set up multiple cards of one player. Most players will only want to sign one card, but some when they see three within inches of each other, they sign multiple cards.
Although it is a mouthful, and may seem like a lot of work, this way is sure to be successful when getting in person autographs on a regular basis. Sorry to waste anyone’s time who was just looking for the simple take a card and sign it.
Now onto my personal favorite, photos. Thankfully for my hands doing the typing, and your eyes doing the reading, this one is much simpler. There are several ways you can obtain your photos. The best way, and most inexpensive way is through ordering prints online. Most chain stores like Target, CVS, Walgreens, etc. have large photo printers in some of their stores. You can upload photos online from the internet or your computer and have them printed out at your local store for pick-up. When picking your photos, you must keep in mind the image will be blown to size of the photo chosen. When picking an 8×10 image, you may not want to choose a picture that has few pixels. Most websites are self explanatory from here.
Once you have your photos, the easiest way you can carry them is with a clipboard. This again allows the object you are getting signed to be exposed for the person to sign. When having multiple photos, you may be able to use a clipboard with storage in it’s bottom. No need to get fancy, I bought one from Staples for around $10.
Photos also can be signed with a variety of markers. The most common, again, is the sharpie. When using a sharpie, make sure there is enough ink in the marker, and not worn out. Some black sharpies slowly form a color with a dark purple to it. Silver sharpies should usually not be used on photos. The pictures usually will not come out too well. If you would like to use a silver or goal marker, one of the best options is a paint pen. Some cheaper ones can also be found at many stores with office supplies, but there is one brand of marker that many IP autographers use around the nation. These are the DecoColor Paint Pens. They can be found cheapest on eBay for around $5-$10.
These markers can be used on cards, jerseys, basketballs, photos, and footballs. They are a great, small investment for any avid IP autograph chaser.
The final portion of this guide is on baseballs. I have little experience with this sport dealing with in person autographs, but I do know one of the main rules of getting baseballs signed. Avoid using sharpies when signing on baseballs. Sharpies can bleed out and form ink spots more than a common pen. Another small rule of thumb for in person autos with baseballs is the location of where to get the autograph. There is actually an increase of value when signing in the correct location. This is in the “sweet spot”, shown here…
Now I can go into even further explanations on what to do with golf balls, and other random objects, but I have certainly taken up enough of your time. Hopefully this guide has given you enough knowledge to improve or help you start your in person autographing career! Remember, there are infinite ways in which you can get in person autographs. Everyone’s individual thoughts are unique and there is no right or wrong way! Good luck on getting you favorite athletes’ autographs!
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