Nineteenth-century autograph collectors wanted just the signatures of famous people. They cut names from the bottoms of letters or other documents, destroying much of their value. Today’s collector prefers the entire letter or document. Never cut out a signature! If you find old books, letters, deeds, or even scribbled notes signed by an author or famous person, keep them intact. Never cut, erase, or repair anything. Torn pages are preferred to taped pages. Glue from the tape can eventually destroy the paper.

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