St. Marys woman’s autograph collection grows
ST. MARYS — Chrys Stout-Yonkins’ collection of celebrity autographs continues to grow.
The signatures of Meat Loaf, Jack Black, Emilio Estevez, Duran Duran and Art Garfunkel, which are her favorite autographs, and many, many more fill 21 photo albums compiled by Stout-Yonkins of St. Marys. And she is getting ready to start a 22nd photo album.
She figures she has about 2,000 autographs in this collection.
In a Parkersburg News and Sentinel article six years ago, Stout-Yonkins estimated she had about 1,200 signatures that filled 11 photo albums.
Stout-Yonkins’ autograph-seeking hobby began in 1984 when she was 15 years old. Her first autographs were from bands Duran Duran and Aerosmith. The last signed photograph she has received was from the rock band Poison earlier this month.
Famous people send her autographed photos after receiving her request letters and she has obtained signatures at concerts over the years.
Some write notes on their photographs. Actress Brigitte Bardot signed her photograph, “Happy birthday my sweet Chrys, with all my love.”
Lou Gramm of the rock band Foreigner included a handwritten note inviting Stout-Yonkins to his show in Cleveland in 2015, she said.
“I explained that I could not afford tickets,” Stout-Yonkins said. Gramm then provided two concert tickets, she said.
Besides autographs from those in the entertainment world, she also has autographs from people who have participated in a historical event.
She has a signed photograph of former Dallas police officer James Leavelle leading accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald through the basement of Dallas police headquarters as Jack Ruby shoots Oswald on Nov. 24, 1963.
Stout-Yonkins, 48, has a photograph from Feb. 23, 1945, of U.S. Marines placing the first U.S. Flag at Iwo Jima during World War II, signed by Charles W. Lindberg, a Marine corporal whose patrol raised the flag.
She gets her autographs by writing letters to the stars’ publicists and learning on Internet sites which celebrities are responding to the requests of fans and their addresses. She also writes to the venues where the entertainers are performing.
She usually mails photos of the celebrities she is seeking an autograph from, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope and letter.
“I make it as easy for them as I can,” she said.
Stout-Yonkins places the words “thanks” and “please read” in red ink on the envelopes she sends seeking an autograph.
When asked which autographs she would most like to receive, but has been unable to, Stout-Yonkins replies Tim Curry, Christopher Walken, Oliver Platt and Nicole Kidman.
She has sold photographs of Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Anthony Hopkins, Stephen King and Bette Davis.
Stout-Yonkins said she is finding it easier these days to obtain celebrity autographs.
“Social media has provided a ‘get in touch’ ease,” she said.
Celebrities have written back to her asking how she got their home address, Stout-Yonkins said. Some are not too happy, but sign the photograph anyway, she said.
“I let them know about the websites I use to obtain their addresses. There are several sites,” she said.
Her collection of autographs includes John Travolta, Bob Hope, Jack Nicholson, Pamela Anderson, Charlie Sheen and Clint Eastwood.
She has paid money for a few celebrity autographs.
Stout-Yonkins said she seeks out and collects autographs for the challenge and excitement of it. And, she adds, collecting autographs has become a habit after starting at 15 years old.
A full-time author, Stout-Yonkins has two published books that are available at Amazon.com.
She described “Thursdays” as a horror book and “Dream Your Reality” as a paranormal romance. She includes “celebrities” in her books but changes their names, Stout-Yonkins said.