Friday, January 12, 2018

The Low Budget Collector Part 1: TTM

My budget for card collecting the last couple of years has been so stingy, it's basically enough money to cover shipping prizes and mail days. That's it.

So if I wanted to add or buy an autograph with my funds all tied up just for postage could I?

That answer is yes!

It's called Through The Mail or as most of us call it, TTM.

For the price of a stamp, which goes up soon to .50 by the way, you can send a handwritten request asking a player, actor, etc for their autograph along with a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) and an item to sign. My usual go to is an index card but sometimes I will search the internet for a black and white photo.

My success rate is pretty high for actors/singers with a 95% return rate. Athletes on the other hand, I have had less success from scoring a atrocious 10% return rate. And it wasn't like I was trying to reach for super stars like Mike Trout and Tom Brady, it was NFL rookies before training camp and players from the NY Giants. But, I have seen many other collectors do pretty solid with former players and MLB prospects.

So let's take a look at my top scores in the mail so far from doing this. I have mainly been focusing on celebrities the last couple of years to help my non sport PC and because of the great return rate.

Not a big name, but it's the ONE NY Giants player ever to respond to one. I scored this after R.W. helped lead the Giants to the Super Bowl 42 playoff run. Thanks again R.W.!

Tom Selleck. I grew up watching him with my grandmother on Magnum PI. I was also lucky that Tom was generous and signed two of these for me so I could also gift one to my mother-in-law.

Chevy Chase. Love the guy. Love his movies. Love National Lampoons Christmas Vacation all around. I really want to land a Leaf Autograph card of him at some point. So if you are ever wanting to start up a trade and have one or wanna snag one for me, let's talk! But for now, this will have to do.

Kelly Clarkson. I will admit to liking some of her music.

Carrie Fisher...well Debbie Reynolds from what I have been told signing for Carrie. Either way, a legend signed this card.

Tim Allen. Had to try twice but he signed these for me the second time. I wished I had chosen index card or something brighter.

Melissa Joan Hart. She actually posted her address out there for everyone to writer to her on Twitter. I grew up watching her on TGIF as Sabrina The Teenage Witch so this was a cool return.

And probably my favorite return ever, this Betty White signed photo inscribed to me. I had sent her an index card and she mailed me this. Incredible career, lady and thank you!

As you can see, for a price of a stamp it can lead to something pretty exciting. There are so many celebrities and athletes out there you can write to that this alone can be a hobby all on its own. It's also affordable and could only cost you less than $5 a month depending on how many you want to try and snag all at one time. The waiting and anticipating can be fun as well as the return. Some return faster than others remember.

Some things to remember again to help with success,  always do a handwritten note (it's more personal), always send an item to sign, and always include an SASE (self addressed stamped envelope ).

Before I close, you may be wondering where I get the addresses, well, there are many sites to use but I have a tendency to stick to Autograph Blog. He has 1000's of them on his site and is very reliable. He is also a book of knowledge on these as well so giving him a follow on Twitter or his site is recommended. He is always up to answering questions as well if you have any.

I hope Part 1 of this will help you in some way today to keep on collecting no matter the circumstance. This is the point of these posts and even though some may be obvious like this one, it will hopefully still get you in the right direction without wanting to quit the hobby. I am also hoping it may give you a new way to save money and collect.


  1. I've never really gotten into the TTM game, but I've been thinking about it more in an effort to get some of the behind the scene types for the Chicago Cubs. I'd really like an auto from their organist. Maybe I'll try it.

    1. You should. I haven't really been much of a major player as I see many Collectors send out hundreds, but the last few years I have increased to about 10 a year or so. Just enough to keep mail days coming


  3. For sports addresses, I seriously recommend Sports Collectors Dot Net. It's 15 dollars a year but lots of collectors update on addresses and such.

    Dave (