When collecting autographs, it is better to collect letters and documents and avoid clipped signatures (signatures that were cut from letters or documents). First, there is nothing historical about a clip, and Secondly, it is very hard to properly authenticate a clipped signature. Go for letters and documents and other “larger” items. Of course, a good number of letters and documents either have secretarial, autpen or printed/stamped signatures. A good rule of thumb is the routineness of the item, the time period and the author.
Sounds like a tall order? Not really. All fields, be it collectible, even investment vehicles (like the stock market) require either the consumer being the expert in the field (through learning) or entrusting that expertise to one who has been in the field for a long time.
I have been dealing and collecting in this field over 20 years and I still learn everyday……..find it exciting, too!!
When collecting, especially in the beginning, start small, READ (buy all the refernce books you can get your hands on!!). Also, know your dealer and his references!