So I recently had a request for a step by step guide, with visuals, for my method of sending TTMs. Thank you Jesse! I thought this was a good idea since this is one aspect of the hobby that I am really excited about these days. Here is a link to my initial post on sending TTM requests: TTM Autographs: An Overview. So here we go…
Sending the Cards
After I have identified a player or coach that I wish to send a TTM request to, I try to find their address on Sports Card Forum or Sports Collectors. When I have the address information I gather my cards. I always place cards in a penny sleeve before loading in to the card holder. For 1-2 cards I found that you can place the cards, in penny sleeves, in a semi-rigid Card Saver II, for up to 3 cards I use Card Saver I. Cards Saver I is a larger size and can accommodate up to 3 cards easily. Card Savers are manufactured by Cardboard Gold. Alternatively the versions by Ultra Pro work just as well.
If I am sending 4-5 cards, then after placing the cards in penny sleeves I put the cards into a Top Loader designed for relic cards.
Selecting the Envelopes
Regardless of the amount of cards I am sending (up to 5) I use the same 2 types of envelopes. For the envelope that holds everything going to the player, I use the standard letter size (No. 10). For the return envelope I use the smaller No. 6-3/4. I prefer the “Press and Seal” envelopes because the adhesive seems more secure than the traditional “lick” envelopes. The last thing I want is for anything to fall out coming or going.
As for postage, when I am sending 1-3 cards in a Card Saver, I find that 1 stamp each direction is sufficient.
When using a Top Loader the letter is not exactly “Machinable” so it is considered rigid and requires additional postage. After weighing a variety of envelopes with cards at the post office, I have found that 2 stamps are enough for postage.
If you are sending more than 5 cards or sending that has more value to you and you want to minimize the risk of damage to the card, then I suggest using a bubble mailer. On average this will cost about $2.11 in postage each direction, but can be much more secure. Of the 40 plus success I have received I have only had 2 cards that have received minor damage in transit.
Letter of Request
As I wrote about in a previous post, I always hand write my Letter of Request. This adds a personal touch to the letter and shows thoughtfulness.
I do have a somewhat standard letter that I write to players. I do change it up from time to time. I will also try to include a personal anecdote about a game that I listened to or saw the player play in, but only if I have one. I will not make up something to sound more like a fan of theirs.
All of these items I include in my TTM request fit nicely into my shipping (No. 10) envelope. One key thing is to remember to include the postage on the return envelope, otherwise you may not see it come back. Then you drop it in the mailbox and you wait. To date my longest wait for a success was 50 days from former MLB pitcher Preston Hanna. This is not too bad of a wait considering I have seen some people wait a year or two for their request to be fulfilled.
If you have any comments or questions please feel free to post them below!