Monday, May 16, 2016

Autograph Collector Profile - Chanin Biss


In today's Autograph Collector Profile, I interview longtime autograph collector Chanin Biss. Chanin's in-person and through-the-mail autograph collection is another one to marvel at. From Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams to Glen Campbell and Carol Burnett, Chanin's autograph collection is a wide range from athletes and celebrities from all eras. Here is today's Autograph Collector Profile:


Q. How long have you been collecting autographs?

A. Since I was a kid. Back then it was all in person though. Between our family owned restaurant, going to baseball games and attending the Mickey Mantle Charity golf tournaments every year, I always seemed to have many opportunities to get autographs.


Q. What genres of autographs do you collect?

A. I am pretty open about that. If I like that person, I will give it a shot. Currently, I am working on a list of women in comedy (so far I have Carol Burnett, Melissa McCarthy, Joan Rivers, Whoopi, Wanda Sykes, Lily Tomlin, Betty White and Phyllis Diller) and I always work on some of my favorite TV shows like “Orange is the New Black”, “Game of Thrones”, “The Walking Dead” and “The Office”. I also love sports so I collect those as well…mainly NFL and MLB athletes.


Q. Who was your first autograph?

A. Glen Campbell. We lived in Lebanon, TN…a town just outside of Nashville and had gone to the Grand Old Opry on a night he was performing there. Mr. Campbell signed by the side of the stage that night.


Q. Do you collect exclusively TTM or do you autograph in-person as well?

A. Mainly just TTM now. Getting a little too old to go out and stalk celebrities.


Q. How many TTM’s do you send out per week?

A. I try to average around 3-5 per week. Just depends on what’s going on. This week so far I have sent out 8 and I am sure I will send out at least 4 more before the week is over. And some weeks I won’t send out any.


Q. How do you find information on addresses, signing habits, etc.?

A. Startiger.com and I pay for Production newsletters for all the movie and TV show filming locations.


Q. Do you handwrite or type your letters?

A. Big believer in handwritten, though I realize if you can’t even read your own handwriting, perhaps it would be best to type it. Just seems more personal to me to write it out. I also use nice stationary paper.



Q. Have you received any letters back from the person you sent the autograph request to? Did they include anything extra?

A. A couple of times. I think the best one was from Allison Williams ( “Girls”). I wrote her about the show and how much I loved it. I mentioned how much I missed seeing her father on the news (Brian Williams) and that I hoped he would be on again soon, that people make mistakes all the time and I think he has paid in full for what he said. I sent it to L.A. where she was filming a movie. I had sent an 8x10 photo of her and an index card. She personalized the photo, wrote me a note on both sides of my index card and had her dad write me a note on NBC letterhead that he signed. I just thought that was so nice of her to go to all of that trouble. Experiences like that are what keeps you going in this hobby. It certainly gets frustrating when you are constantly sending things out and only occasionally getting something back. Some days I am thrilled with a RTS because at least I got my photos back so I can try again…how sad is that? Ha!


Q. What’s the best autographed item in your collection?

A. Best is tricky. Most valuable monetarily, most tries for that particular person (the white whale), favorite celebrity or maybe one that just means the most to you. I will go with the one that means the most to me. Carol Burnett. She was the first ever celebrity I tried. Before then I had only done professional athletes. I grew up watching her show and I think my love of comedy stems from her and that show. So I found the address for her on Star Tiger, printed out an 8x10 and mailed it off. When I got it back, I cried. Crazy, I know but that is how much she means to me and for her to take the time to personalize a photo for me just made me love her even more. So I think that would have to be my best autograph.

Q. How can other collectors reach you?

A. My Startiger user name is chaninbiss. That would be the best way.


Q. Do you have any tips for anyone looking to get into the autograph hobby?

A. You absolutely must have a Startiger.com membership. I can’t imagine doing this hobby without it. And if you want a shot at some big name stars it really helps to buy into the Production newsletters. Your site is also a great source of free addresses so if someone just wanted to get started at a low cost, pick one of the addresses you so kindly share and take a shot. Learn to be very patient and try not to get addicted (but I know you will once you get your first return!).


If you would like to be interviewed for the Autograph Collector Profile, hit me up on Twitter @autographblog or send me an email at: greatestfivealltime@gmail.com

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