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Man donates autographs for Central America

November 12, 1998

By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photogrpaher




Following the success of a recent Chili Davis autograph baseball giveaway, the local American Red Cross chapter is preparing to auction off a Hagerstown man's collection of celebrity autographs to benefit victims of Hurricane Mitch in Central America.

Local collector Don Snyder has donated more than 60 pieces for the auction.

The collection contains black and white and color pictures, fan letters, programs and playbills and features celebrities such as Jim Carrey, Tim Allen, Buddy Hackett, Julie Andrews, Robert Redford, Ann-Margaret, Fabian and Jay Leno

A silent auction is set for Saturday, Nov. 21, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Valley Mall.

"If this raises any money for those people in Central America, it will be worth it," Snyder said Thursday in a telephone interview.

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Snyder began his collection in the early 1970s when he went to Florida with the South Hagerstown High School band.

There he got an autograph from Col. Harlan Sanders, the fried chicken king, and Bob Gibson, who was a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Snyder said he always has been fascinated with the entertainment industry and considers his autographs to be a link to those who are famous or infamous.

He obtained many of the autographs in his collection by writing to celebrities and asking for their autographs.

In addition, he often got autographs from entertainers who appeared at The Maryland Theatre.

He estimated two years ago that he had between 400 and 500 autographs in his collection.

Cindy Blackstock Kline of the Red Cross office said she was pleased with Snyder's generosity and hopes the proceeds will be substantial.

All proceeds will directly benefit the victims of the hurricane.

The autograph angle has been used successfully once before, Kline said.

Blood donations jumped approximately 32 percent in October after officials announced donors would get a chance to win a baseball autographed by Davis, a member of the World Series champion New York Yankees.

On the day of the silent auction, radio station WYII-FM will broadcast and will have a line dance team available from 6 to 8 p.m.




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