Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How Do You Do TTM?


I'm interested in talking to some other TTM seekers about how they go about their business.

Here's what I do:
-hand write a note, politely requesting their autograph. I keep it short but try to include something specific about them or their playing career.
-include SASE with Forever stamp in case they want to return my request years down the road
-include card in a top loader and penny sleeve to keep it safe
-add a small post-it note on the card, requesting that they personalize to me

How does that compare to what you do? I know that some people have had success with players who have not returned my requests or vice versa.

Before I send anything out, I use Harvey Meiselman's address list and cross check everything on SCN to make sure the address is current and that there is a reasonable chance that the player will return my card.

Overall, 119 of my 164 requests have been signed and returned to me, which is good for a 72% success rate. If you remove the 7 requests I sent out to current players before I used SCN to check the likelihood that my cards would ever come back, my success rate jumps up to 75%, which is pretty solid. You have to figure that some of my requests could have been accidentally misplaced or still could find their way back to me.

TTM is a great, cheap way to add new autographs to your collection. While it's more time-consuming than just buying a signed card, it's nice to add a bit of personal story to your autograph collection. It also reaffirms that there are plenty of former players that are kind enough to still respond to their fans.

9 comments:

kmsals said...

Congratulations on 75%. Wish the O's could hit 50% for wins.
Sounds like a good and thorough process for TTMs. Politeness has to count!

Captain Canuck said...

I've just started doing this recently. I've sent out 15 requests, and got 5 back so far, but it's still early.
I also send a photo, that's kinda the direction I want my collection to go....

it's tough doing this from Canada though. Hard to get stamps, let alone the right denomination, etc...

I also heard to never put your card in a top loader. It maight gum up the machine, as well as some athletes actually sign the top loader, not the card..

Joe S. said...

Hand written note, explaining (briefly) who the cards are eventually going to (my son). Then I just stick the card (no sleeves of any sort), index card, and SASE in the envelope... finally, fingers crossed!

I send out cards randomly as well as reported successes on SCN. I do it mostly with prospects I pull from retail packs from Target, and it works a majority of the time. Takes added time, though, because I have to actually track down what organization the players are currently with, but it's fun.

Aaron said...

Polite, hand written note written on 3x5 index card, SASE with forever stamp, card(s) sandwiched in between the note and SASE with no toploader or penny sleeve. I would recommend not using any protection on the card, I have sent over 500 TTM requests and have only had 1 card with significant damage from shipping, and it was my own fault (because I accidentally bent it when I shoved it down mail slot at the post office). Besides the reasons listed already about not including a toploader I would also add that it's just another hurdle for the player to go through before signing your card. Maybe they don't feel like having to remove a couple layers of card protection and then put it back in after it's signed. I like to remove as many excuses as possible for them to not sign my card.

PaulW said...

Do any of you guys send markers? I always have.

D L O said...

I used to collect hockey auto's TTM and the success there with both current and retired players was great. I stopped doing that like 4 years ago. Similar to you though, I would hand write a personal note to the player and include extra cards, offering them as extras to keep if they wanted. To echo what someone already wrote, I never sent the cards in toploaders and never had any problems with the cards getting damaged. Despite just coming back in a regular envelope, it was nice and surprising how good a shape they come back in.

I'm thinking of getting back into auto collecting TTM, but with baseball cards this time around. What is the SCN stand for that you guys have mentioned? Also, any cool sites to check out who signs TTM?

paulsrandomstuff said...

I write a short note asking them to please sign the card & for current players I tell them I hope they have a good season. For retired players, I try to mention something about their career.

I include a SASE with a Forever stamp and I skip the card sleeves.

I check SCN to make sure that I'm not wasting my time, and I put it in the mail.

Ryan aka Orioles Magic said...

Thanks for all of the info guys. I think I might stop putting the card in a hard card and sleeve since it sounds like it works just fine that way for so many of you.
It's good to know that outside of that, we all seem to have similar methods.

D L O-SCN is sportscollectors.net. It costs something like $15 for a year to use it and it's well worth it. You can trade with other collectors for autographs you need, see who signs through the mail, input/track your requests, and keep track of private signings, among other things.

gcrl said...

i include a short note, sase with forever stamp, card(s) in semi-rigid top loader. i usually tape the top loader to the note or another piece of paper to keep it from moving around. i do not include a marker or anything else. i am running at 64% after sending out about 525 requests.
i used to use startiger for addresses but i am pretty close to being done so i now only use sports card forum. i usually post my successes there as well. i also have a spreadsheet going so i can keep track of what i send and when i sent it.