||What is the importance of Hobby in our life?
It is rightly said that men are rational
animals. The almighty has endowed us with mind, intellect
and body. All of them have immense capacity to perform
and produce creative art and innovative science. This
in turn also gives the birth to many hobbies which can
be classified as Performing and Possessive Hobbies.
Performing hobbies are those which
require personal performing involvement e.g. dancing,
painting, singing, playing musical instruments etc.
Possessive hobbies constitute collection
of material things like stamps, coins, medals, tokens,
From the above it is clear that possessive
hobbies do not require any personal performing involvement
and hence the effort of the collector remains as a collection
even after his death.
Both types of Hobbies have a great
importance in our lives. It gives us relaxation from
the boredom, stress and monotony from doing the same
thing daily again and again in our profession and day
to day life. Nowadays our daily life has become a photocopy
of the previous day. Hobby takes us out from our routine
mundane life and gives us pleasure and happiness. It
gives us intellectual and emotional satisfaction.
Just as hobby gives happiness, it also
boosts good health. In the latter age many people feel
void and vacumed as they have no activity to keep themselves
occupied. And this invites some diseases which ultimately
bring early end to their lives. Hobby keeps them occupied,
active and energetic. And this in turn gives them health
and longitivity. My slogan for the life is - Hobby is
for Health & Hobby is for Happiness.
||What is the meaning of an Autograph?
The word 'autograph' is made of two
Greek words 'auto' and 'graphos' and it means 'self-writing'.
Anything written by oneself is an autograph be it a
single word or many words and does not have to be signed.
Thus signature is certainly a form of autograph. But
autograph does not necessarily mean only signature.
Just as hobby of collecting Stamps
is called Philately, collecting of coins is called Numismatics,
collecting match-labels is called Phillumeny, the hobby
of collecting autographs is known as Philography which
means love of writing.
Autograph includes letters, documents
and manuscripts written or signed by the notable and
distinguished personalities. Many a time these letters,
documents and manuscripts form a base of history and
literature. They are the most intimate relics of the
Letters sometimes tell us about the
character and attitude of the person towards life. I
have seen a letter in which a request was made to Mahatma
Gandhi to give his autograph. In the margin of this
letter, his Personal Assistant had written the remarks
that 'Bapu' is a 'Pakka Bania' (Businessman). He does
not give his autograph to any one free of cost. Please
donate Rs. 5 to Harijan Seva Fund first and then ask
for the autograph. Mr. Morarji Desai, former Prime Minister
of India was not giving his autographs if a person is
not wearing Khadi. However in some cases I have seen
that he was insisting that a person should take a vow
in writing that he shall wear Khadi and then he was
giving his autograph below the vow of that person.
It is difficult to imagine since when and how this hobby
of Autograph collection has started. But it must have
an origin in the possessing and preserving instinct
of men who are rational and emotional human beings.
They must have liked to possess and preserve the written
expression or message of love and wisdom from their
loved and respected ones.
We do see even now that students when
they depart from their colleges do take autographs of
their friends and professors in albums or notebooks
just to preserve and cherish in future the memories
of their happy college days. The disciples do take blessings
from their masters and preserve them. When this desire
of getting and preserving the written message is extended
to the wider scope it forms the hobby of autograph collection,
in which the collectors with a view to get the autographs,
approach the personalities who have achieved some goal
in their life and has made a landmark in the history
giving inspirations to so many people.
||Why to collect Autograph?
Autograph collection is one of the
most stimulating of all hobbies. More and more collectors
are discovering the thrill and magic of this hobby.
According to the recognized autograph expert and leading
author in the field, Charles Hamilton over 2,000,000
people in the world collect autographs and manuscripts
with more than 20,000 newcomers joining the hobby each
In India also after the formation of
the Autograph Collectors Club, Kolkata the number of
autograph collectors is increasing.
It's a hobby that has the base of appreciating
the achievements of celebrities. In no other field of
collecting you can make such close friendship with the
people who have changed the course of history and arts.
In a way, autograph collecting is a doorway into the
biography of history.
An autograph is all about 'An individual
personified'. They are rarest of all collectibles and
are abstracts of a person captured by ink & paper.
One can say autographs are like painting, poetry &
music all blended together for they speak of a person's
life & times through the silent strokes. The complete
phenomenon of getting an autograph happens within a
few minutes but for those few moments both the admirer
& the star get connected with each other and that's
what makes this a totally different experience from
any other hobby.
Hobby of autograph collection has a
great educational value too. It teaches us the history
of our country. Autographs of our Indian National Leaders
and Freedom Fighters remind us of the great sacrifice
that they have made in achieving the Independence of
India. Autographs of Recipients of Bharat Ratna Awards,
Dada Saheb Phalke Awards, Jnanpith Awards and Magsaysay
Awards bring before our eyes their great achievements.
Thus this hobby brings us in contact with the great
personalities who are making the landmarks in the history
by their remarkable achievements. This in turn gives
an inspiration to all of us to keep such high goals
and make achievements like these celebrities.
Autographs are available on different
objects and when they are acquired on different items,
their art and design are the great sources of happiness.
Nowadays almost every youngster owns an autograph book,
and with efforts & dedication they do manage to
adorn their autograph book with the signatures of their
idols from cricketers to actors to writers, singers
& so on. For younger generation collecting autograph
can be a very rewarding hobby too. Not only do they
get inspired by their idols, but the efforts, put up
in getting the autograph, give a sense of achievement
to them. This can be very well seen when they are showing
their collection to their friends.
Autographs have a sentimental value
too. They are really the 'Frozen moments' in time. They
always give us the 'feel' and warmth of the person whose
autographs we have obtained in person or by personal
||What should be collected in Autographs?
In India the hobby of Autograph collection
is gradually getting a momentum. At present most of
the collectors are signature collectors. They start
with collecting the signatures of those who have been
made more popular by media like cinema, TV and newspapers.
Hence cricketers, sport personalities, film stars, film
personalities and TV artists are the personalities much
sought forth for signatures by the collectors. Next
category of attraction is of politicians whose signatures
are usually obtained by the collectors.
Hence one should collect the autographs
that interest him. There are so many varied fields that
one's choice is almost unlimited.
But the best way to collect is to concentrate
on some specific subject or theme. In this book I have
tried to present as many themes as possible for the
guidance of the collectors. It is always better to build
theme wise autograph collection. Instead of collecting
signatures of any and every celebrity who comes our
way, it is better to concentrate on any specialized
subject or theme. Such thematic collection would be
appreciated by all who get the opportunity to view it
and that in turn gives encouragement and happiness to
those who collect them. A few examples are as under:
- Collecting signatures of Presidents/Prime Ministers
- Collecting signatures of Indian Cricketers and Sport
- Collecting signatures of Indian Film Stars and Film
- Collecting signatures on Philately First Day/Special
Covers related to the achievements of celebrities
- Collecting signatures on Book covers/CD Covers
- Collecting signatures on Photographs
Whatever fields of collecting are chosen,
one thing is very clearly experienced that the interest
and enthusiasm of the collector grows and increases
with every new acquisition.
The signatures of the same celebrity
in different languages or signatures taken at different
times and at different locations also can be collected.
Many a time they are different. A signature given at
home while sitting at ease is different than the signature
given at the airport or at a function in a great hurry.
If such signatures are put to gather and studied then
new light can be thrown on the life of the relevant
personality. I have tried to put as many signatures
as possible with the photo of the celebrity in this
book. One can see signatures of Mahatma Gandhi, Morarji
Desai, Indira Gandhi and many others in different languages
Apart from only the signatures, autographs
include letters, documents and manuscripts too. Hence,
all these are important and value-added items for autograph
In letters, content of the letter,
condition of the letter, date of the letter and addressee
of the letter definitely become the deciding factors
for making it more desirable and valuable.
||What are the types of Autographs other than the originals?
Due to the widespread ever increasing
demand for celebrity autographs all over the world,
many times Stamped Autographs, Pre-printed Autographs,
Autopen Autographs, Secretarial Autographs and Fake
Autographs are made available to the collectors. However
this issue is not that very serious with the Indian
celebrities. But still it is worthwhile to know about
The "stamped" signature is a rubber stamp
on a photo, usually evident by a fuzzy thickness of
the autograph lines from beginning to end, and sometimes
a smudge on the photo.
This is a new trend that has been developed now. Here
the celebrity signs his one photograph and then the
same is produced in mass. Thus the 'Pre-Printed' autographed
photo is a copy of an autographed photo. Nowadays many
autographs received via mail are mostly 'Pre-Printed'
The collectors can identify this variety by using the
magnifying glass with light.
Since preprinted signatures are part
of the photo, the autograph usually appears to be below
the surface gloss of the picture. To test, hold the
photo at an angle to a light source. It can be detected
if you shine a bright light on it, and bend the photo
slightly. A real signature appears to float above a
glossy photo, while a pre-printed signature looks flat.
By using this device it will be known that the autograph
is a printed one and is a part of the photograph.
A real signature is on top of the
photo and will have a different level of reflectivity
compared to the rest of the picture. The glare of a
preprinted signature will blend right in with the photo.
These types of Autopen autographs are not that relevant
to Indian conditions. But still it is worth to know
its use and functioning.
It is very much known that the celebrities
are usually very busy and it is very difficult for them
to spare time for signing autographs. Hence a mechanical
device which is known as Autopens is found out. These
devices sign identical autographs quickly and accurately.
Autopen Autographs can be recognized and identified
by close study and by comparing the same with other
original facsimile autographs.
As initial indicative guidelines, it
can be said that Autopen autographs usually appear to
be shaky because the autopen machine sometimes vibrates
when it signs. On some occasion, with an autopen, there
will also be abrupt starts and stops to the signature.
Just like Autopen autographs, Secretarial autographs
are also not in vogue in India. It is only given here
for the information of the collector.
In some cases, celebrities do authorize
their 'Secretaries' to sign on their behalf. This relieves
their burden of signing many autographs themselves.
However the "Secretarial" autographs are difficult
to detect as they are coming from the original source.
This type of Secretarial Autographs can be distinguished
from the original autographs signed by the celebrities
themselves by referring the original facsimiles given
in some reference book, publication or from the websites
of some reputed dealers.
This is a very sad facet of this hobby. For unscrupulous
people this is an easy method of making money through
fake and forged autographs. The collectors should be
careful while purchasing the autographs. If at all they
have to purchase the autographs to complete their thematic
subjects, they should purchase the same from a reputed
or UACC approved dealers only.
During his pursuit of autograph collection,
a collector will come across all the above types of
autographs which are other than the originals. But he
will find that these are merely a few more of the pitfalls
and hurdles which help to make the pursuit more exciting.
||How to get Autographs?
Hobby of autograph collection is
interesting and thrilling one. Once you are into this
hobby, the first thing that comes before our mind is
how to get the autographs of celebrities?
Following are the ways of collecting autographs.
- Autographs can be obtained in person.
- Autographs can be obtained by mail.
- Autographs can be obtained in exchange from other
- Autographs can be obtained as gifts from the friends
- Autographs can be purchased from the reputed dealers
Let us understand this important facet of the hobby
(1) Autographs of the celebrity can
be obtained in person. People who collect autographs
would go any distance to get a signature from their
favorite star. For them an effort to collect an autograph
from their favorite personalities is an effort to enrich
themselves. In fact, some people collect autographs
because they feel that they have an association with
legends. It gives them an all time high happiness to
acquire an autograph from a legendary personality. It
also gives them pride and pleasure to be with their
beloved celebrity for a few moments. To be nearer to
someone like the famous Indian film star Amitabh Bachchan
is considered a matter of pride and a memorable moment.
Hence whenever we get an opportunity
to meet a celebrity, we can politely approach him and
request him personally for the autograph.
The probable chances of meeting them
are at the airports, at hotels where they stay or at
functions which they attend. But nowadays because of
the tight security arrangements for many of the celebrities,
it sometimes becomes very difficult to approach them.
If personally it is not possible to approach the celebrities
at these places, one should develop friendships with
some resourceful persons who are at the airports, hotels
or at the functions. They can be of some help for getting
the autographs of celebrities.
(2) A very important way to get autographs
is by mail. It is one of the thrilling facets of autograph
collecting. For people like us, without wealth, contacts
and connections, this is the best way to acquire fabulous
autographs from renowned celebrities.
It works as under:
Firstly, find out the mailing address
of the favorite celebrity. This can be obtained from
magazines or from the internet search. There are books
like Who's Who in India or many other yearbook publications
who carry the addresses of the celebrities. We can obtain
the addresses from the Autograph Collectors Club of
Secondly, we have to write a polite
and simple letter to the celebrity stating that you
are his fan and admire his achievements. At the end
we have to request politely to have his autograph to
cherish as a memory. It is better to write something
personal in the letter. Why do we like the celebrity?
What achievement of his is highly appreciable? This
type of feedback in the letter is helpful to them. Popular
celebrities don't have time to respond to every letter.
Only the best are responded. Hence we should see that
our letter gets into that best category.
Some general guidelines on manners and etiquette are
- If your handwritings are good you can write the
letter. A good handwritten letter does carry a weight
to show to the celebrity that you have made an extra
effort and devoted the time to write a letter.
- If a typed letter is to be sent then, instead of
using some fancy fonts, some simple and readable fonts
may be used in letter.
- We should never use a stereotyped letter where we
only change the name of the celebrity. It does not
have any respectful sentimental touch. The celebrity
would feel that request to him is one of the many
requests to different personalities. Under these circumstances
there are less chances of receiving the positive response.
- We should be careful about the spelling of celebrity's
name. It should be rightly written. We should also
see that there are no grammatical mistakes in the
body of the letter.
- Please see that our letter is very short and sweet.
We should remember that celebrities do receive hundreds
of letters everyday. And it will be too harsh to expect
that they will be able to read all the letters. If
our letter is short, it may get a chance of celebrity's
glance. And in many long letters, our short letter
requesting the autographs may be rewarded by the celebrity.
We should understand that the celebrities do live
very busy lives. They have to fulfill duties and responsibilities
on so many fronts.
- The content of the letter is also very important.
While writing a letter we can write something about
celebrity's achievements which we have liked and which
have been appreciated by all. Or else we can wish
him on his birthday or on his assuming a post or on
his successful achievement in his career. Such letters
have great probabilities of response.
- We should be very humble and polite while requesting
for the autographs.” I will be highly grateful
if the enclosed card or photo is autographed for my
collection” or “Sir, would you please
autograph the attached card for my collection? “….
would make a lot of difference.
- Please see that correct postage stamps are affixed
on both the covers i.g on the cover addressed to celebrity
and the self addressed stamped cover which we are
to put into celebrity's cover.
- We should be very particular and meticulous in all
aspects. We should remember that little things do
count and even minor mistakes mar our bonafide and
Following are the two sample specimens
of the letters to be addressed to the celebrities. The
collectors should make appropriate changes as and when
Specimen letter 1
Praful Thakkar (Your name)
34, Janvishram Socirty, Behaind Sahjanand College, Ahmedabad
380 015. (Your address)
Date 15th August, 2006
I am a serious autograph collector
and am building up a collection of autographs of the
most famous people of our time.
I will be highly grateful if you would
kindly autograph the enclosed card/photo for my collection.
It will be my source of happiness and inspiration.
For your convenience and ease, a self
addressed stamped envelope is sent herewith for your
kind and early response.
With kind regards,
Celebrity's name & address
Specimen letter 2
Praful Thakkar (Your name)
34, Janvishram Socirty, Behaind Sahjanand College, Ahmedabad
380 015. (Your address)
This is to introduce myself as a serious
I am a great admirer of your achievement which has made
the landmark in the history.
It is my humble request to your good
self to please send me your autographed photo for my
collection and oblige.
For your convenience in replying, I
am enclosing herewith stamped, self addressed envelope.
Kindly accept my gratitude and thanks
for the same in advance.
Celebrity's name & address
Thirdly, we must enclose a SASE-Self
Addressed Stamped Envelope so that the celebrity has
just to sign a card or a photo and put it into SASE
to return it to us. Many celebrities respond to this
type of autograph request. It is one of the ways by
which celebrities keep in touch with their fan base.
We must remember that without SASE our chances to get
any response are dim.
Fourthly, we should write letters to
as many celebrities as possible. If we write to more,
we have a better chance to receive the responses from
more celebrities. We should remember that every receipt
of an autograph is a great source of happiness. I may
add that I was, and sometimes even now am, writing letters
to ten celebrities everyday for autographs. And even
at this age of 66 years, when I receive an autograph
in post, my joy knows no bounds. I have received many
autographs in mail. To name a few are of President K.
R. Narayanan, President R.Venkataraman, President A.P.J.
Abdul Kalam, former Reserve Bank Governor Bimal Jalan,
eminent businessmen B K Birla, Rahul Bajaj and Ratan
Tata, Conqueror of Mt. Everest Edmund Hillary and Ms.
Bachenri Pal, Chief Election Commissioner T.N. Seshan,
Bhajan Singer Anup Jalota, Magsaysay Awardee V. Kurian,
Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan, great Vocalist Girija
Devi, film Stars Shatrughan Sinha and Vinod Khanna and
Lastly, we must have patience. The
celebrity takes time to respond. Some take a few days,
some a few weeks while some may take even months to
send their response.
(3) As far as possible we should try
to get the autographs in duplicates. If it is done so
then the extra one can be exchanged with some fellow
collectors for some other required autograph.
(4) Sometimes there are some people
who have by chance obtained the autographs of some celebrities.
But they are not the autograph collectors. From them
we can receive the autographs as gifts.
(5) When we start a thematic subject
of autograph collection, sometimes a situation comes
when the celebrity is not alive. In such circumstances
just to complete the theme we may have to purchase the
autograph. For example we are developing the theme of
autographs of Presidents of India. In this case, if
we do not have the autographs of past Presidents who
are not alive, just to complete the thematic subject
we may have to either get the missing autographs in
exchange or we have to purchase the same from a reputed
UACC approved dealer. However we should be very careful
and cautious while purchasing the autographs.
||How to keep your Autograph collection?
The collection of autographs is a
valuable treasure. It should be preserved, protected
and presented like treasure only.
Following are the important norms for
handling and storing autographs:
- Handle your autographs with extreme care. Always
handle the autographs with clean hands and pick them
up from the edges or sides only.
- Never alter autographs in any way. Do not cut, paste,
fold, tape, staple, laminate, or otherwise mutilate
the paper on which an autograph has been signed. All
these things damage the autograph and make it less
desirable to collectors. If a signature is cut off
a letter it destroys the value both of the signature
and of the letter.
- Take care that the autographs are not exposed to
direct sunlight or florescent lighting. This can cause
fading of the ink of most of the autographs and eventually
it will lead to break down of paper.
- If framing an autograph is desired then please ensure
glass with ultraviolet protection is used. This will
slow down destruction of the autograph. Please remember
that even ultraviolet glass will not fully prevent
photos and signatures from fading if exposed to direct
light sources. Hence take care to hang your items
in areas with less direct light. However it is advisable
not to frame important letters or autographs or any
- Never try to restore an autograph that has been
damaged. Also do not try to repair the autograph yourself
except for some minor elementary requirements. And
even in such cases one should never use any form of
sticky tape which will cause deterioration of paper.
As far as possible one should leave the item as it
is without any alteration.
- Always unfold documents. If a document is folded
it will eventually break along the folds. Remove paper
clips and staples from multi-page documents because
they cause rust stains.
- Always remember to keep the humidity and temperature
low. Humidity and heat will promote the growth of
damaging fungus on paper. The autograph collection
should be kept in a cool and dry place.
- Autographs should be stored in acid-free, archival
safe cellulose acetate folders. It is always advisable
to keep them in loose-leafed transparent envelopes
or between boards.
- A collector should keep the record of his collection.
There should be a very well documentation of all the
items which he has in his collection. An Index prepared
for all the items which the collector has, will help
him in monitoring his own hobby.
- A collector should keep his collection thematically,
alphabetically or chronologically arranged. In short,
his collection should be in some sort of an order.
This type of an arranged collection is easy to handle
and is of more interest to the observer.
- On the back of each autograph the collector must
write the name of the personality, the place and date
if possible. This is necessary because the signatures
of some celebrities are not very legible and hence
it becomes very difficult to decipher them later.
||Do you know that
Autograph collection can give you Pleasure and Profit?
Today the class of autograph collectors
is increasing in India. This interesting hobby not only
gives pleasure of collection, but also works as the
avenue of investment and source of income as its by-products.
In Western world there are people who collect the autographs
as hobbyists for happiness and harvest a rich return
when they sell them.
Like any other hobby, this hobby is
also having a great potential. In Western and European
countries autographs are auctioned, sold and purchased
by the collectors.
It has been rightly stated by Ray Rawlins
in his book 'The Guinness Book of Autographs' as under:
“Until comparatively recently,
paintings, stamps and coins were much more sought after
than autographs. Indeed little was known about the latter.
But of late there are more and more collectors and in
consequence, more and more dealers. Suffice it to say
that, whilst unquestionably autographs are a wise financial
investment, one can put hope that the great majority
of people who seek them today are doing so because of
a genuine interest in history, literature or for some
other aesthetic reason.”
||What are the criteria that decide the rarity and value
Following are the few factors which are usually taken
into consideration while deciding the rarity and value
of an autograph.
- The status & achievements of the celebrity,
- Accessibility of the celebrity,
- Popularity of the celebrity,
- Desirability and demand of the autographs,
- Probability of getting the autographs,
- Historical importance of the autograph,
- The condition of the autograph,
- The surface of the autograph etc.,
- Rarity of the autographs.
Here a question comes up…What decides the rarity
of an autograph? Following three factors are noteworthy
in this regard.
- When fame comes to the personality after death,
his autograph becomes rare. This means that in his
early days, when he was not famous, he might not have
given many autographs.
- Early death of a celebrity. This means that very
few letters and autographs must have survived. Hence
his autograph becomes rare.
- How was his habit of writing? If he was having a
habit of writings to all and giving his autographs
to many people, then many more autographs of such
personalities will be available. And hence they would
not be that rare.
The collectors have to use their own
personal discretion and take appropriate decision in
evaluation. It may be clarified that the assessment
and valuation is more dependent upon the demand and
hence sometimes it is subjective and indicative only.
||What are the abbreviations often used in Autograph collecting?
Autograph collectors often come across the following
abbreviations during the pursuit of their hobby of Autograph
||Autograph Document Signed
||Autograph Letter Signed
||Autograph Note Signed
||Autograph Quotation Signed
||Autograph Manuscript Signed
||Means autograph has been personalized e.g. To
||A Signature in ink
||Musical Quote Signed
||What is Graphology-the science of autograph analysis?
Graphology means analysis of handwriting
to decipher the character and psyche of the writer.
Just as two faces are not same, two finger prints are
not alike; similarly two handwritings are not similar.
Graphologists believe that while writing the hands are
working as the instruments of one's brain or inner self.
Hence analysis of one's handwritings indicates inner
personality of the person.
Graphologists are the autograph scientists
who spend time in studying autographs and their analysis
ultimately help the biographers. Autographs of celebrities
taken at different times indicate the inner qualities
and outer achievements of those personalities.
Graphology has many useful advantages
in the modern world.
Nowadays in Western countries, many
companies, while recruiting the staff, invite the applications
of candidates in their own handwritings. Then the company
management gets these autographs analyzed by the graphoanalyst.
It is possible that during a personal interview a candidate
can cover up his weakness and succeed in presenting
his strengths. But his handwritings will speak out an
unknown facet of his life. This unknown side is revealed
in the analysis of his handwriting. Hence after receiving
the analytical personality profile from the graphoanalyst,
company takes its own decision of recruitment.
In many countries graphologists give
advices in matrimonial matters too. Just in India we
consult the astrologers to match the horoscopes, similarly
in many parts of the world similar matching of handwriting
is done by the graphoanalysts.
Sometimes help of graphologists is
taken by the police to solve a criminal case. A suicidal
note analyzed by the expert graphoanalyst can enlighten
the police whether it was a natural suicide or a forceful
Thus Graphology-the science of hand-writing
analysis is useful in the present times.
I am told that in Chicago in America,
An International Graphoanalysis Society exists and it
trains students every year in handwriting analysis.
It seems many students do select Graphology-as a career.
With big industrialization and more
corporate and multi-national companies coming up in
India, there is a good scope for Graphology as a profession.