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Collecting autographs has long been an interesting, exciting and gratifying past-time or hobby. In today's world of fleeting electronic communication, these personal connections to the past offer the unique and distinctive consummationand satisfaction of holding pieces of history, quite literally, in our hands. Collecting historical autograph can be exciting, financially rewarding and a great way to learn about history. It also tells us a lot about the person signing the autograph. Although the most common question about autographs is 'How do you know it's real?'

An autograph from the Greek word 'autos' meaning 'self' and 'gráphō' meaning 'write' is a document transcribed exclusively in the handwriting of its author, as opposed to a typeset document or one written by an amanuensis or a copyist. Autograph also refers to a famous person's artistic signature. What might be considered the oldest 'autograph' is a Sumerian clay table from about 3100 BC which contains the name of the scribe Gar Ama. No ancient written autographs have been found, and the earliest one known for a major historical figure is that of El Cidfrom 1098.This term is used in particular for the practice of collecting autographs of celebrities, authors or famous personalities. The hobby of collecting autographs is known as philography.

Autograph collectors can be classified into different categories on the basis of the autographs they collect. Collecting autographs is a way to own a slice of history. This very factor acts as the driving and motivating force for the autograph collectors. Collection of autographs can become very expensive, depending on whose autographs you wish to collect. Many signatures can be had for the asking, but you have to go through the process of obtaining them, whether by mail or in person. There is always a risk when obtaining by mail because you don't know for sure if the autograph is by the actual person and if it's authentic and not morphed.

Care has to be taken to preserve autographs. Autographs are just on paper, or for a signed photograph, a large photo album is good for both exhibition, preservation and maintenance. The albums should always be kept away from moisture and heat in a climate controlled room. They should be protected from exposure to sunlight and artificial light to prevent damage. Some collectors even take great pride in collecting and wearing their sport hero's jersey, with their signatures inscribed on it.

Autograph collecting opens up a world of fun and amusement for a lifetime. Irrespective of the way you are fascinated in collecting autographs yourself which may include standing in queue outside a venue, purchasing autographed items at shows or auctions or asking for autographs through mail, this is a sure way to keep a piece of history with you. Collecting autographs in person is totally unpredictable and you will find yourself constantly astonished with each new autograph jaunt. The process of collecting autographs involves many unanticipated events, but that is what makes this hobby so fun in the first place.

Hobbylancer and You

At Hobbylancer, meet other collectors, know their fascinating 'autograph' stories and learn about auctions in your locality. Sell your collection, exchange an autographed item for another or find retired collectors selling off their own collections in your area. Chase down rare collectibles, consult with experts and let Hobbylancer open the doors of a wider world of autographs out there just for you.

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