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by Abigail Van Buren

Autograph Hound Is Curious Breed to Puzzled Bystander

DEAR ABBY: Please answer a question that has me perplexed. Why do people collect autographs?

I do not understand the need for a collection of signatures, regardless of how famous -- or infamous -- the person may be. I have never had the need to brag or show proof that I encountered "someone." In fact, I feel it's a breach of a person's privacy to approach and ask for a signature.

I realize that some may collect autographs for their monetary value, but what's the reasoning behind it? Book signings, I get. Movie posters, promotional items, baseball cards and sports memorabilia, I get. But I don't understand adults (and sometimes children) approaching someone famous and asking them to sign something.

Can you explain what's the big deal? -- NO AUTOGRAPH HOUND, PONTOTOC, MISS.

DEAR NO AUTOGRAPH HOUND: While I can't speak for every autograph collector, I suspect that many people ask for autographs because it provides them an opening to speak to someone whose work they admire or whom they think is attractive. And most celebrities -- although not all -- enjoy having that kind of contact with their fans.