Did you that there are differences between letters and letters?

It’s easy to think that all types of letters are somewhat the same thing. That’s really not the case. If someone told me that they have a letter from a famous person for sale, I would begin by asking three questions: a) who is this person? b) is the letter handwritten? c) is the letter signed?

Normally, I would prefer the answer to be “yes” on the two latter questions. Either way, you just got to accept the outcome. The outcome defines what type of letter it is. If a letter is handwritten and signed, then it’s known as an “Autograph Letter Signed” (ALS). If the letter would be handwritten by a secretary and hand signed by, for example, H.M. Queen Victoria of England, then it would be known as a “Letter Signed” (LS). The third alternative is called “Typed Letter Signed” (TLS), which simply indicates that the letter is typewritten and hand signed. 

As written above, I would indeed fancy a so-called ALS. In my opinion, an ALS is more of a personalized item. But then again – you take what you get! Once more, let me refer to the title “Letters and Letters”; because even though we have two ALS or perhaps two TLS, it’s still a difference between them. Not only may the signature spell a different name, but the content is undoubtedly also different. One shall not underestimate the power of the content in a letter. A good content can make a letter be worth multiple times more than other letters by the same specific person. For example – a handwritten and signed letter by John Lennon to a fan, in which he writes something like “Thank you dear for your kind letter, love John Lennon” is worth $3,500 USD. But if the content is very interesting, like my highly imaginary example: “I wrote all Beatles songs… McCartney is falsely credited!! He didn’t even write Yesterday! Dylan did it for him. McCartney is a fraud…” then the letter would easily be worth ten times more. 

There’s one exception, though. Sometimes the item is so incredibly scarce that the content isn’t really of interest. Talking about a name like the Italian scientist Galileo Galilei. There are only five known examples of handwritten and signed letters by Galilei in existents. Whatever the content may be, the value would exceed $1,000,000 USD. 

Not including names such as Galileo Galilei, the content is indeed the most important thing. So if you feel like writing a letter to George W. Bush – don’t ask him about his life after the presidency. Ask him about 9/11.

/Alexander Bitar

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