The Professional Autograph Dealers Association (PADA) defines an autograph appraisal as a method to determine the authenticity and monetary value of a person's handwritten signature or piece of writing. An autograph does not include only signatures — letters, manuscripts, jotted notes and musical scores also are considered autographs.
Autographs are typically from a celebrity, sports star, political figure or historical figure. Dealing and collecting signatures is a hobby of interest to enthusiasts who seek to make a personal connection with the autograph's owner or preserve a piece of history. When ordering an autograph appraisal, it is important to check the appraiser's legitimacy.