Once you have your desired autographs you need to look after them properly or their value will plummet.  There is no substitute for experience where autographs are concerned, so don't be too hard on yourself when mistakes are made.  I started collecting at six years old and did some very silly things indeed.  Having obtained all the Manchester United and Manchester City squad signatures in the 1960's I proceeded to cut round them so I could fit them into a smaller book.  Needless to say, this has de-valued the items substantially, some may actually be worthless, and I am horrified at my mistake.  These signatures from what is often referred to as the 'Golden Age' of football would probably have been worth a small fortune nowadays.

An autograph of Sir Matt Busby obtained personally by me in 1969 at Old Trafford. A perfect example of what NOT to do !!



             It is imperative that the signature is preserved as large as possible.  If it is on a large clear piece of paper then you can trim it but ensure there is at least three inches clear round the signature in every direction.  Ideally, you would preserve the whole sheet of paper but this makes it more difficult and costly to store when it isn't absolutely necessary.  When I started collecting autographs scrapbooks were very popular so it was inevitable that many of my autographs were stored in this manner.  Unfortunately, this is not the best medium for storage of such precious articles and a small number of them have discoloured over the decades.  I learnt some time ago that the lignin in wood-pulp paper reacts with air to produce sulfuric acid.
            Nowadays, it is generally believed that the best storage available is to put them individually in Polyester sleeves in a binder.  Polyester is strong and known to be chemically stable and is used for archival purposes throughout the world.   If they are stored in this manner and kept away from light and excessive heat they will survive for other generations to enjoy.  Some people may be tempted to frame the autograph with a picture and put it on a wall, this is a favourite sales technique with dealers, but this should be avoided at all costs.   Feel free to display a duplicate, but the original must be stored away from light if you expect to keep it for any length of time.  Most of my autographs are the same as when I obtained them, and many are over forty years old.
            Therefore, if you want a pristine autograph which has increased in value over the years simply store it correctly.  Don't be tempted to do anything other than this or you will regret it in years to come.  I have already discussed framing and trimming, but I have also known people laminate autographs or even glue them in a book.  Whether it is a piece of paper, photograph, or book, simply store it as it was when it was signed.