Last May I joined the ranks of Through the Mail autograph collection. There was only one signature I was after -Jacoby Ellsbury. Before you ask, the cards I sent have not come back.... yet.
At the time a few collectors commented that patience is key when it comes to TTM and unfortunately hinted that Jacoby isn't the most prolific of signers.
This post lead to a number of e-mails with useful advice about collecting autographs in general. One of the people to make contact was Mark from Cornwall, who shared some of his secrets for successful autograph collecting. He is a veteran collector and just hearing about some of in-person autographs he has collected such as Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, yes all of the fab four and a number of major political names, is interesting reading. He regularly attends sporting events with specific people in mind. He was just starting to get into baseball autographs. If our recent correspondence are any thing to go by, he is beyond the 'dipping my toe in' stage to a full on English Channel swim, purchasing autograph cards aplenty.
Mark took his family to the US in the summer and collected some more autographs when he attended a Lowell Spinners game. As a bonus his son was chosen to run the bases and be the official game mascot. Unfortunately for Mark, who is Athletics fan, his son became a instant Red Sox fan. While on holiday Mark was kind enough to purchase some packs for me, Allen +Ginter, OPC and Bowman, which I will bust over at Pursuit of Red Sox. He intends to return to the US again this summer and sign his son up as an Red Sox Nation member. That must really hurt.
Thanks for the packs Mark, maybe I will pull an autograph.