The growing trend of collecting autographs is one that knows no age or geographical location. Thanks to the willingness of many athletes who accommodate mailed requests from their loyal fans, the hobby has never been more affordable or more fun. Regardless of whether you reside in the largest of cities or the smallest of towns, your next football autograph may literally be just a stamp away.
First and foremost, collecting autographs through the mail requires one main ingredient - an accurate mailing address. If your favorite football player is currently active on a professional roster, you can write to him directly in care of the team. During the off season, you can often contact players via their training camps. If you want to contact a retired player, check with the Professional Football Hall of Fame to see if he is currently a member. If he is, you may address your correspondence in care of the hall.
Now that you know where to write, it’s important that you know how to send the proper request. Etiquette suggests that you should never send more than two items to be signed, but many players will accommodate only one item. Whether you are sending your own collectible, such as a photo or trading card, or you are requesting that your favorite athlete send a photo of his own, you must include a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) with enough postage for the item to be returned to you. In some cases, no SASE could equal no response. When it comes to your letter of request, keep it short and sweet. Always remember to be complimentary and polite, remembering to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, and try to mention something specific about his career. Believe it or not, sincerity will go a long way.
If you are in doubt as to which type of item to send for an autograph, consider the possibility of a photo, trading card, ticket stub, handkerchief or even a miniature football or helmet. Because there are no guarantees that your request will be answered, it’s important to choose carefully when deciding which item(s) to send for autographing. It isn’t recommended that you send prized or rare collectibles, which could accidentally become damaged or even lost in the mail. Last but not least, exercise patience in your quest for mailed autographs. Afterall, anything worth having is worth waiting for.