Collecting autographs is not a hobby unique to Star Trek. Fans of everything from sports to first-edition books have been fascinated by obtaining the signatures of those they admire. Today TrekMovie provides a guide to obtaining autographs from the world of Trek, plus we have a fun contest sponsored by Autograph Magazine and news about Rittenhouse Ltd.’s Star Trek 2009 feature film trading card set signers.
Where and How to Get Star Trek Autographs:
There are many ways to obtain a Star Trek actor or artist’s signature. The best way is to attend a Star Trek convention because these experiences are often rewarding personally and fans could be assured of the signature’s authenticity as they witness the signing.
Rittenhouse Card Autographs
Another great source is Rittenhouse Ltd whose autographed trading cards are licensed and authentic. For the Star Trek movie card set (available May 8th), Rittenhouse has a great list of signers from the new feature film. When fans purchase a box of cards, there will be either two autograph cards included, or two costume cards (featuring film worn materials), or one costume card and one autographed card guaranteed. The list of signers for the set includes: Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), J.J. Abrams (Director/Producer), Karl Urban (McCoy), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), John Cho (Sulu), Anton Yelchin (Chekov), Bruce Greenwood (Captain Pike), Eric Bana (Nero), Jacob Kogan (Young Spock), and more to be announced shortly. You can order a box of cards from Rittenhouse at scifihobby.com.
Sampling of cards from the December 2008 Rittenhouse Movies in Motion Cards set
Through the Mail (A How To Guide)
When our son was younger, we were looking for a hobby that as husband and wife we could enjoy that wouldn’t break the bank account. We thought of writing fan letters and what started out as a few letters has turned into a fun family adventure each time we get mail because often celebrities reciprocate with signed pictures. Getting an autograph in the mail is much better than bills (unless its Bills Shatner signature!).
Many Star Trek celebrities and artists are good through-the-mail signers. We have been lucky to get the authentic and personalized signatures of genre stars such as Whoopi Goldberg, Patrick Stewart, Zachary Quinto, and Simon Pegg all through the mail. Here are suggestions for fans who might want to start this fun, inexpensive hobby.
- Each letter should include a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE): 9×12 or larger return envelope with 2 stamps and your return address
- Each letter should be genuine and hand written. Typed letters are too impersonal. Only write people you genuinely like because your letter should let them know why you are a fan, talking about their performances or their artistry.
- Utilize stickers to decorate your envelopes. Let your letter show the person you took time out to write them with a nice looking letter.
- Don’t ever send letters to celebrity homes (only to agents or publicists) and show respect. A good source of celebrity addresses is Autograph Magazine which is discussed below.
- Write non actors, such as writers and special effects artists if you enjoy their work. They usually do not get fan mail and they are often very generous with their replies. We enjoyed the set designs and special effects of Star Trek Enterprise. The artists from this show not only sent us their signatures, which we appreciated very much, they sent us storyboards, pictures, their art work, and sometimes entire crew photos signed for us! When we wrote Herman Zimmerman for example, he sent not only sent us his signature, but had Scott Bakula personalize a photo to our family. What a surprise! Science advisor and writer Andre Bormanis sent us a great picture of him on the set of the USS Defiant from the Mirror Universe episode of Enterprise.
- Send something the celebrity could sign. Sometimes the actors do not have pictures or it is too expensive for them to send. About 90% of those from the Screen Actors Guild do not earn more than $40,000 a year as actors. Therefore, if possible, send something like a trading card, article, website photo, or a simple index card for signing.
- Be sure to include your letter, SASE, and item for signing in the envelope you send to the celebrity. We suggest using a 9X12 envelope for the SASE to accommodate their signed picture, and this could be folded and sent in a smaller envelope. Two stamps are required on your envelope addressed to the celebrity and two stamps on your SASE.
Caveat: You will occasionally receive what are either "secretarial" signatures (the publicist or someone else signs the photo), or an autopen or preprint autograph (autopens are machines that duplicate the signature of a person or preprints are signatures where an authentic autograph is printed into the picture itself). Autograph Magazine often features "authentification" how-to articles. Most of the time, though, you get authentic and personalized pictures through the mail, all for the cost of a few stamps and envelopes.
Autographs of Eric Bana and Simon Pegg received through the mail
For years, one of the best resources for those interested in the hobby of signature collecting has been Autograph Magazine (www.autographmagazine.com). Each issue usually features a three or four page article on science fiction, often with a Trek theme. For example, the April 2009 issue had a nice tribute to Majel Barrett and an article about the contributions of Forrest Ackerman. The May 2009 issue will feature an article my wife and I have written about ST09 autographs. One of the great features of Autograph is that each month they provide nearly 300 addresses so fans could write celebrities. The May 2009 issue will have 50 addresses from Star Trek actors and additional addresses for the stars of Heroes. Other articles in the May issue include the history of Metellica told though their autographs and the signatures of Baseball’s Negro League.
Fans can sample the December 2007 issue, which features the best and worst signer’s list, free online. Autograph is available either by subscription or it could be purchased as single issues online. The May issue with the Star Trek article and addresses is available at autographmagazine.com.
Autograph May issue – featuring article on Star Trek movie autographs from John and Mary Jo Tenuto
Want to win a free subscription to a year of Autograph Magazine? TrekMovie has 10 subscriptions to give away in our "Trek Signature Contest." Email to [john at trekmovie dot com] with the subject ‘Autograph Contest’ with a scan or picture of your favorite Star Trek autographed item (it could a picture of anything signed, from posters to pictures, toys to plates). The best 10 autographs will be selected by the TrekMovie staff and the winners will receive a free year’s subscription supplied by Autograph Magazine. Only one entry per person please and the photos must be emailed in .jpg or .bmp format by May 1, 2009 at 4 PM.
The winning entries will be judged on both the uniqueness of the item signed and the signature or signatures themselves. Decisions by the TrekMovie staff are final and by entering the contest, you are also granting TrekMovie permission to post your emailed picture and list your name in an article announcing the winners. Winners will be contacted by email before May 8, 2009 and announced in an article here at TrekMovie. Good luck!