So, you have managed to garner the ultimate autograph from your favorite celebrity or sports player. Now what?

Here you will find a few suggestions - and hopefully a few fresh ideas - on displaying your autographed items so that you may fully appreciate their glory and splendor.

Displaying your acquisitions properly will not only look great, but will also act as a reminder of the happiness your hobby can bring. Autographed photos are the easiest to display - once framed, they achieve greater visual impact when hung on the wall or placed on a desk. Another great way to add even more visual appeal to your framed pieces is to add a ‘mat’ (mount) overlay that frames the item. Choose a color which compliments the picture and you are ready to begin.

A mat is the beveled piece of colored card that surrounds many store-bought framed autographs. Pre-cut mats are available from most good photographers, and can cost anywhere between $5 and $15 dollars. This can become quite expensive, especially if you opt for a double mat (where two mats of differing colors are added to frame the piece).

But why pay for store bought mats, when you can create them yourself at home? Hand-held mat cutters are available throughout the United States. An affordable cutter (Model #1100) can be purchased from Logan Graphic Productions, by contacting one of their stores toll free at 1-800-331-6232. These cutters average about $20-$30 dollars. Mount card can be obtained from craft stores in a rainbow of colors, and many different sizes are available. You should be able to pick up a piece of mat card large enough to make several mounts for the same price as purchasing one store-bought ‘mat’.

However, your autographs may fall into different categories; autographed photos, index cards, trading cards, play bills, books, comics and/or sports memorabilia.

If you have a signed index card from your favorite celebrity or sports star, why not mat this together with a photograph of the person who signed it. By placing the card below the picture, the combined effect is very professional. The same can be done for CD’s and trading cards.

Books and Sports memorabilia are much more difficult to display, due mainly to their awkward sizes. Each can be successfully housed in shadow boxes however, which can be obtained from craft and photographic stores. The boxes provide a deeper frame, and are thus able to house your favorite pieces of memorabilia with ease. The great thing about shadow (display) boxes, is that you can easily combine several pieces in one display. Although these boxes are more expensive than conventional frames, they are also more versatile – the finished product makes the added cost worthwhile.

If, however, you decide not to display your autographs, the best way of storing them is in protective plastic sleeves. These sleeves are available from comic and trading card stores, and are available in various shapes and sizes. Sleeves to house index cards, trading cards, comics and photographs are all available at a relatively low cost. The plastic covering of the sleeves protects your autographs from accidental spills and dust, and also serves to protect the pictures from atmospheric conditions that could ruin both the color and look of the photo.

So next time you succeed in obtaining an autograph from your favorite celebrity – celebrate by treating the article to a new frame, mat or display.

David Rogerson is an Australian based writer and holds a Degree in English and Comparative Literature form Western Australia's Murdoch University. David has also gained a Diploma in Journalism and has written several articles for Western Australian based newspapers. More recently however, he has been busy compiling a book on Cult Television shows from the 60's, 70's and 80's with co-author, Eileen O'Connell.