In his book Collector's Guide to Celebrity Autographs (2000), expert Mark Allen Baker shared the secrets of his 40-year experience in autograph collecting.
"We collect celebrity autographs to preserve a moment, and to remind us of the human spirit that succeeds despite adversity," he explained. His book featured 7,000 address listings and more than 900 autographs.
Snagging an autograph is not always easy, but according to Baker, the 2000 Top Ten Best Autograph signers were: 1. John Travolta, 2. Matt Damon, 3. Kelly Preston, 4. Kathy Bates, 5. Dylan McDermott, 6. Jack Nicholson, 7. Jennifer Love Hewitt, 8. Gary Oldman, 9. James Woods, and 10. Kirsten Dunst.
Conversely, the worst in-person signers at the time were: 1. Rosie O'Donnell, 2. Leonardo DiCaprio, 3. Liam Neeson, 4. Woody Harrelson, 5. Mariah Carey, 6. Bill Russell, 7. Bill Murray, 8. Helen Hunt, 9. Sandra Bullock, and 10. Gwyneth Paltrow.
The signature value is influenced greatly by its condition, the scarcity of the memorabilia, its demand, and the type of material with the signature. Baker said because autograph collecting has become big business to some, celebrities are skeptical about responding to mail inquiries. But, with a sincere letter and Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope, seekers have about a 30% success rate.
"Fame is a heavy burden," observed Voltaire. "Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion," added Mark Twain.
For autograph seekers, meeting fame is an exercise in being prepared.
You may only have ONE shot, so, be prepared.