Any veteran grapher knows their most valuable tool of the trade is not a Sharpie or a stack of 8x10s. It’s information. Whether it’s a tip from a fellow collector or a celebrity tweeting where the after party is, good intel is critical to maximizing your autograph opportunities.
Over the years I have relied on numerous sources to keep me informed, and I’d like to share the nine websites that I find indispensable. Bookmark these resources and I have no doubt your collection of autographs and experiences will grow exponentially.
SportsGraphing.com – I find the in-person board on this site especially impressive. Hoards of active contributors post on a daily basis (or more) and I often find myself clicking through the threads in awe of their latest graphing successes.
SportsCollectors.net – The site’s huge database of through the mail (TTM) returns and private signings stand out. The message board topics tend to skew toward baseball, but there is something here for everyone.
On The Road With Pat Neshek Message Board – Started by Minnesota Twins pitcher and autograph collector Pat Neshek, this board has a baseball slant. Neshek is an active moderator on the site and it’s worth a visit just to check out his latest giveaways and trades—in which he puts an item (usually game-used) from his or a teammate’s collection up against the best offer from other collectors. I also encourage you to read Pat’s excellent blog.
[There is no better way to learn about autograph collecting than from other collectors. Whether it’s info on upcoming events or in-person accounts that offer insight into signing habits, message boards are gushing with information. For years I lurked in these communities, reading the posts but not sharing anything of my own. Only recently have I become an active participant and, not coincidentally, I’m learning more than ever before.]
Twitter – A site where celebrities share where they are and what they’re doing in real time? Yeah, that would be very helpful.
SigningsHotline.com – More than a few items in my collection started as tips on this comprehensive listing of public and private signings in the U.S. and Canada. Without opening your wallet you can peruse the free listings, but I suggest ponying up $12.99 for the DeLuxe Bronze membership to get a year’s access to all the signings.
Your local gossip column’s Web page – Every weekday morning I read the Boston Herald’s Inside Track for visibility into Beantown’s celebrity scene. Find your local equivalent and sift through the muck to find the pearls. It’s well worth the investment.
Adorama – Need to print your digital photos? There’s Adorama and then there’s everyone else. Low prices. Numerous size and finish options. Professional results. Bookmark it!
On Location Vacations – Looking to find out where the cameras are rolling in your town? OLV publishes detailed information about filming locations and celebrity sightings in near real-time. I follow them on Twitter for the latest updates: @olv
Help me grow this list. Which websites do you find indispensable to your autograph collecting?