TTM Autographs are a fun and relatively inexpensive way to collect autographs. TTM is short for Through The Mail. Many baseball players are willing to sign fan mail at no cost. Some would like a small donation to their charity for their time. Others just want to be paid for doing it. To date I have not paid for a TTM autograph. I only began collecting TTM autographs in November so there are many ball players who will sign for free that I can send to. I really enjoy TTM Autographs because it is exciting to open the mail box and see some of my cards returned to me signed.
There are 5 basic things you will need to send for a TTM autograph request:
1. Address of player/coach you want autographs from
2. Cards or memorabilia you want autographed
3. Letter of Request (LOR)
4. Self Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE)
5. Envelope to ship items 2-4
Getting the Address
Obviously the most important step in the process is getting the address of the player or coach. Many current players/coaches will sign fan mail that is sent to their home ballpark or spring training camp. Those addresses are usually easy to find on you team’s website. For retired players/coaches I recommend using only reliable resources for acquiring the address. Two site that I frequent regularly are: Sports Card Forum and Sports Collectors. Sports Card Forum is a free site that has a searchable database for address. Sports Collectors does charge a membership fee to search addresses, but you can pull off some addresses using a free account in the “Recent Successes” section. The nice thing about these sites is that you can see how long it has taken people to receive back their cards.
Stuff to be Autographed
If you can send it, it can be autographed. Keep in mind that you have to pay for postage to and from, so the bigger the item the more expensive it can be. I have only sent baseball cards to be signed since they are typically the cheapest thing to send. For 2-3 cards in a Card Saver it usually costs 2 stamps, 1 each direction. For 3-5 cards in a Top Loader it usually costs 4 stamps, 2 each way. It really depends on what I am trying to accomplish to determine how many cards I want to send. (More on that in a future post)
Letter of Request (LOR)
To me this is an important part of the process. This is where you ask the player/coach for their autograph. I recommend hand writing your LOR. Yes, it takes more time, but it adds a personal touch. I believe that since I am asking for autographs it would be nice to hand write a note. In this letter I start off briefly describing why I am a fan. If it is a player I watched, I may describe a memory I have of their playing days. Often I will thank them for their years of service in baseball. My last paragraph asks for their autograph, mentioning how many cards I included. Most importantly I thank them for their time. A little courtesy goes a long way. After all, I am asking them for a favor, the least I can do is thank them.
Self Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE)
Including a SASE helps get your cards or items back to you. Players/coaches will not take the time to address an envelope or even pay for postage. Including a SASE makes the process simple and gets your cards back to you faster. When sending cards I use No. 6-3/4 envelopes. These measure 3-5/8″ x 6-1/2″ and fit nicely in the shipping envelope without having to fold it. Also I try to use the self adhesive envelopes, they seem to seal little more securely. Cards shipped in Card Savers or Top Loaders will fit in these envelopes.
The shipping envelope needs to be big enough to fit your cards, LOR and SASE. Typically I use No. 10 envelopes. These measure 4-1/8″ x 9-1/2″. Whether the cards are shipped in a Top Loader or Card Saver, these envelopes will do the trick.
This is my basic process for sending items for TTM Autographs. After it is all put together and sent, it becomes a waiting game. The longest I have had to wait for a success is Jamie Moyer at 27 days. I do have some that have been out longer, but this is my longest success.