Q. How long have you been collecting autographs?
Like most, I collected as a kid, and then stopped for a while. I started collecting cards again in 08’; I really didn’t get my feet wet with TTM’s until 2010. The successes I’ve had over the last 6 years are great, but I also regret not doing it as a kid. I get such pleasure out of a return now; I can only imagine how an 11 year old me would feel.
Q. What genres of autographs do you collect?
My TTM collection is very consciously made up of trading cards only, and I collect all genres. Cards are cheap to send, simple to return, and easy to display and/or store. My favorites are Olympians and Allen and Ginter Champions. These releases give me a great outlet to get Auto’s from the folks who are the best in the world at what they do. For me it’s more about the subject than the genre. If they mean something to me personally, I want their auto.
Q. Who was your first autograph?
My first TTM Success was Josh Hamilton. I attended the 2008 Home Run Derby where JH hit 28 dingers in 1 round. I was so impressed with his performance and personal story that I felt compelled to write him.
Q. Do you collect exclusively TTM or do you autograph in-person as well?
I do TTM exclusively. I have a few IP auto’s but I kind of clam up and get embarrassed in-person, which is weird because I’m typically a very outgoing guy. For some odd reason I feel more comfortable hiding behind a letter. If I have a chance to get an IP auto I’d rather push a little kid in front of me to get one. The experience will mean more to them.
Q. How many TTM’s do you send out per week?
I, unlike many others in this hobby don’t count. What I mean is I specifically don’t keep track of how many I send out, when I send out or even who I send to. It’s all part of the surprise element to me. If I don’t get a return, it’s cool. I don’t find myself personally disappointed in the person I sent to, or their turn-around time. Here’s an example of how I send: I went into a thrift shop about a month ago and bought a binder of “American Bandstand” Cards. I found as many successful Addy’s as I could and sent them all at once. I couldn’t even tell you who I sent to, but it makes it so much more fun as they start rolling in.
Q. How do you find information on addresses, signing habits, etc.?
I have a sub to StarTiger. My biggest collecting asset has been Twitter. I have made so many “friends” with strangers just based on our Hobby interests. I’m hoping to meet many of them at the National Convention this year. If anyone reading this finds me there just come up to me and say “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, and I’ll buy you a drink (God, I hope this happens)
Q. Do you handwrite or type your letters?
I type my letters. I would write but my penmanship hasn’t improved much since Kindergarten. I keep my letters short and sweet. I even add a little Joke that I won’t reveal here.
Q. Have you received any letters back from the person you sent the autograph request to? Did they include anything extra?
My son was born 6 months ago so I’ve started a collection for him. I include this information in my letter. So lately I’ve received a few personal notes congratulating me. The best was a sincere note from Shirley Maclaine!
Q. What’s the best autographed item in your collection?
This is a tough one. I’m a big comedy buff, so getting returns from some of my comedic hero’s ranks up there. A few of note are Steve Martin, Steve Carrell, Robin Williams, Don Rickels, Nick Offerman, and Chris Pratt.
Q. How can other collectors reach you?
You can find me @YanksandBeans on Twitter and SignMyCard on Instagram. They can even check out my rarely updated blog” Thecardboarddugout.blogspot.com. I encourage your readers to contact me if they need any collecting advice. I’m all about all collectors having the best PC possible no matter what their interests are.
Q. Do you have any tips for anyone looking to get into the autograph hobby?
The definition of “Hobby” is: an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure. So make sure you’re getting pleasure out of it. I see so many people bitch and complain about collecting and it makes no sense to me. Don’t do it if you don’t enjoy it. Lastly, if you are looking to have TTM success, I recommend telling the signer to personalize the item, they will take comfort in the fact that you’re a fan and not a re-seller and your success rate will go way up.
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