Why Collect Autographs
Autographs form an intimate link between the present and the past. A hastily written letter of Pasteur trying to find out if his rabies vaccine cured an infected dog, or a letter by Monet discussing how sunlight has affected his painting of water lilies at Giverny, are autographs that freeze history. A self portrait by director Alfred Hitchcock, drawings by actor Marlon Brando, a letter written by Einstein, Churchill, Steinbeck or Napoleon, provide a small window into a persons life. For some, holding part of the history of events or people creates the feeling of "being there". Today many writers acquire literary documents and composers acquire musical manuscripts with this zeal. Many others become silenced when viewing the handwriting of those famous in history.
As most autograph collections differ, collectors tend to share a common passion for their cherished letters and documents. Passion drives collectors to build their personal bridges to the past. The bridge can be built by one autograph letter as easily as it can be constructed by hundreds of letters. Every historical autograph creates that personal link to the past. As experts, for more than twenty years, it is one of our responsibilities to help collectors understand the pertinent facts of each document.
Once the decision is made to collect autographs, how does the prospective collector know what to collect? The best advice is to answer the following questions: who has influenced my life? my times? who are my favorites in history? do I respect writers, painters, scientists, inventors, explorers, world leaders, physicians, musicians? Follow where the heart leads for the passion of collecting is paramount.
In addition to collecting, many people have discovered the wonderful feeling of giving that perfectly thought out gift to a friend, client or loved one. Even if two letters of the same person are given, each letter retains its uniqueness so that the gift is never duplicated.
In our age of electronic communication, it must be remembered that original handwritten letters are growing scarce. Messages sent via fax or E-mail are replacing the original letter written on paper with pen. Autograph collecting will likely be around for centuries. However, the autographs available to be collected are becoming more rare, and the individuals whose handwritten letters can be collected are becoming fewer in number. To touch a relic from our cultured history, to actually own a piece of history could or should be a goal of all of us. Slowly these relics are disappearing and will not return. The time to acquire is now. Build an heirloom for both yourself and your family. Be part of the joy and the passion.