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Auctions/Dealers Autograph Supplies
Insurance and Info For Collections Inventory Software Currency Conversion Postal Information Autograph Collecting Groups WebRings/Newsgroups
Newsletters/E-Lists/Message Boards Official Sites/Fan Clubs/Chats
For through the mail autograph requests, you always need to send proper postage both on the outgoing request (in your own country's postage) and on the Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE). For example, if you are sending to France, you should have French stamps on your SASE. Why? Because US stamps are not good in France or other countries! I've included postal links (left). Each postal site will help you calculate how much postage you will need for that country. For example... if I am sending to the London in the UK, and I am sending a one ounce letter... I would find that it costs 69 pence in UK British stamps and order the amount of stamps I needed at the 69 pence rate. Please note: Some post offices around the world will only sell to overseas customers if they purchase certain quantities, whether it is in price or amount of stamps. You won't be able to order one stamp. You might have to order a certain dollar amount Most countries take credit cards. Some have 800 numbers and you can order by phone if you aren't comfortable ordering on the internet.
So, what if you only need one or two stamps and don't want to buy 20? There is ONE other option. It's called an IRC, or International response coupon. Here's what one US one looks like:
You can buy IRC's at your local post office for 1.75 each. One IRC = 1st class Air Mail stamp for items that are 1 ounce or 28 grams. If you are going over that (like sending an 8x10 photo), you might want to enclose one per ounce or per gram to make sure you have enough. Just put in with your letter and the person on the other end takes it to the post office, hands it to the clerk and they postmark the envelope.
Why even bother sending an IRC or foreign stamps with your letter? Because it's good manners. Not all celebrities can afford to foot your postal bill. Plus, you are already asking for a favor by asking for a signature! Do the polite thing. If you don't know what the conversion is from grams to ounces and vice versa, you may want to you a weight converter.
Postal rates, weights and specifications can be found on the respective postal sites and even for your outgoing mail, you can find how much it will cost you to send overseas. It's different for each "zone". For example, one ounce to the UK costs me 80 cents US to send to them, but it costs me more to send to Australia. Check the sites for the appropriate rates.
If you have questions or can't find the postal site you are looking for, email me. For questions about particular sites or services of other countries, e-mail the webmaster of the postal site. Here are some official country postal sites:
If you are sending a heavy or large package overseas, you will need to fill out a customs form. Here is what that looks like:
(top for large packages and bottom for smaller ones). Put a small dollar amount and check "gift" or the person on the other end will have to pay a fee.
A Webring is a group of sites linked together with a common interest. In this case Autographs. Here's a just a few examples to get you started.
A Newsgroup is a place a forum where you can post messages (like a board or forum but more vast). For a newsgroup, you'll need to download a Newsgroup Reader. Here's a free one for you to get started: www.forteinc.com just look at the download area. Then, you can pick the groups you want and download all the messages. You can join a group and meet collectors of the same things...from all around the world. This is more vast and a message board and used more frequently. These are samples, plenty more exist out there....you'll have to look yourself if you don't find what you want here!
A Newsletter is an email form of a newspaper type format that you sign up for. It contains information about the film or celebrity or play or whatever it is you signed up for. To sign up for these, you go to various sites and fill in your email and usually, it's not more than that. Beware of any site that asks for too much information. Such sites that have Newsletters are (and here is just three examples):
(you sign up for the Ringers or The One Ring newsletters)
you sign up for The Homing Beacon
You sign up for a Doctor Who Newsletter.
Whatever your area of interest, newsletters are a great way of getting inside autograph information!
An E-List is a group of people who get together and email each other. You submit your message to a server, and it's emailed to everyone on the list either daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on how you sign up. You'll have to find your own group! I am signed up for only one now. It's an exclusive group that is by invitation only. Many groups are like this. To find out where these lists are, type "Autograph E-List" in a browser such as Google, or ask on message boards or Newsgroups (see above). Here is an example of an E-list for Astronaut fans: Astronaut Collector E-List.
A Message Board is a place where people post messages. This is more intimate than a newsgroup. Usually, it's a group of people with the same interests posting requests for trading, convention information, news or other things relating to autograph collecting. To respond, you have to go to the board and then post manually and later recheck to see if someone responded to your post. There are many Message boards, one such board is ours which is starwarsautographcollecting on yahoo. This is by invitation only as well. But a lot are not. If you want to be part of this group, you'll have to email me at email@example.com
To find message boards, go to Google or another browser and type in what you want (Lord of the Rings, Elvis Presley, or whatever and the words 'Message Board.' Here is an example of a nice forum for "Buffy the Vampire" fans: Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
You can get a lot of information from an official site or official celebrity site about there whereabouts including sometimes a fan mail or email address. To find a celebrity site, you should go to a browser and type in the celebrity's name and the word "official". If you go to areas on this site, if there's an official site, I've listed it for those autograph areas. Another way to find a celebrity is trying blindly to type in their name.com. http://www.warwickdavis.com for example. Also try .net. Official sites provide an abundance of information about actors, release dates, filming locations etc. An example of an official site is: www.starwars.com
Fan Clubs are a fans version of a celebrity site. Sometimes, they have contact information or even offer photos on the site for purchase. Be careful and look for official fan clubs though. These are authorized by the celebrity and are more legit. An example of a couple of official celebrity fan clubs is:
http://www.fansource.com/fan_clubs.htm There are hundreds over the net. You'll have to do some searching as I can't possibly list them all here!
Chats are a great way to get instant connections with people. You can instant message people whether it be a celebrity or a collector at a whim. This enables you to talk free (for the price of a log on but if you're running on say cable modem, it's cheaper than a phone call). This can be useful if one finds out a celebrity is somewhere in the area, but needs to get that information FAST to a friend. Here are some places where you can sign up for free instant messaging: www.aol.com www.msn.com www.icq.com
Currency Conversion info for those buying/selling Autographs overseas
Since I started collecting, I had the pleasure of meeting people from all over the world and I've developed friendships who through collecting, have offered to help me obtain signatures at conventions and the like. Likewise, I have reciprocated when I could. But along with that opportunity, came a problem for me. All money is not the same!
My first encounters with friends helping me was that I ended up shorting some accidentally. Wracked with guilt, I quickly found a Currency Converter which is easy to use. It converts from your country to almost any other country's currency or another country's currency to yours. These converters can be found anywhere on the net or you can call your bank and ask them for the current exchange rate.
A US Dollar does NOT equal a British pound or another currency!
One British pound (also called Quid or British Pounds Sterling) is equal to (as of May 2003) 1.60 in US dollars & cents (noted as USD on a currency converter).
If an autograph at a show costs 15 pounds, that's $24.00 US. To get that amount, you multiply the amount in pounds by the exchange rate to get your total (15 x 1.60 = 24.00). Conversely, ONE US dollar, is equal to 62 pence, which is like US cents. Pence is like our cents and there are 100 pence to a pound, just like there is 100 cents to a dollar). So sending someone 15 dollars does not cover an autograph that cost 15 pounds!
Wow, The Dollar and Pound is Better in Australia!
Though called dollars and cents in Australia just like it is in the US, the conversion rate is not the same. The opposite is true for people in the US than it is in the British exchange rate. One US dollar is 62 cents Australian (as of May 2003). Contrary to that, One Australian dollar is worth 1.58 US. So when you send money to Australia from the US, you get a better deal (much like the British do when ordering from the US). Imagine how the British love this rate! One British pound is worth 2.54 Australian!
Please note that rates fluxuate on a daily basis, and remember when dealing with someone in another country, ask them if they are quoting you prices in their currency or dollars.
I bring up this subject because some do not realize the hardships they've placed on people who live in other countries who help you out by obtaining the autographs you want. Do the math so that when converting the funds, you send enough to cover it all!
Autograph Supplies (top loaders, framing, displays, sharpies, plastic sheets etc)
For order form in which to order plastic Avery Sheets that are custom (3x5, trading card size, 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, Film Strip etc), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll send you an email attachment of the form.
American Collector's Insurance (mostly Antique Cars)