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|Bronze Card Talk Member|
I've read online about the old fashioned faked autographs:
Secretary 'forging' signatures.
Pre-Printed or Laser Printed
Is stamped printed the same as pre/laser printed?
How can you tell the difference as a general collector and not a specialist?
I think most of my autographs (non-trading card) are legitimate but one or two give me doubts.
Aside from paying a pro to analyse (not worth it), any other way I could 'verify'.
Particularly with celebs who have been around a long time a 'change up' their signatures.
|Silver Card Talk Member|
Honestly, if I don't get the autographs in person myself, there are only a couple of places/people I will buy from. One is 258 West, another is Creation Entertainment, and I think that's it for me. Those are the only ones that I know for sure are legit. Anyone else know of any more?
|Platinum Card Talk Member|
Learn something new every day, I have never used the term pre/laser printed, although I know what it means. The signature is part of the photo, rather than being hand written on the photo. I just call that a pre-print.
So first of all, all fakes are not equal. I actually only refer to a handwritten forgery as a fake signature myself.
For the other, and this may just be my own interpretation of it, but when you are dealing with pre-prints, autopens, rubber stamps and any other manner by which a facsimile signature can be mechanically produce, it will usually look like the genuine signature. It is in fact a copy of the genuine signature, assuming it is a well done facsimile and that's what I call it, a facsimile.
Now here's where it gets tricky. A pre-print is in the card or photo, you can see that there is no ink on the item. You can rub across it, nothing will smear. A rubber stamp will leave ink on the surface, but there is no stroke impression and you may even see the edges of the stamp if done carelessly. An autopen is the worst one. You will see surface ink and stroke impressions. If you find one autopenned signature you will not be able to tell it's not real, but if you have 3 or 4 together it becomes obvious. Even with the most consistent signers, no two signatures are exactly the same. It's impossible. Yet an autopen always produces the exact same autograph, maybe in a different place or angle, but it is precisely the same.
Now for forgeries, those are handwritten fakes to me, meaning not genuinely signed by the real individual. Forgeries come in all shapes and sizes. Some are very good, expert hand copied signatures from examples of the genuine autograph. Other don't even make any attempt to look like the genuine signature, someone just signed the name. Others don't even attempt to sign the name, they are just scribble. The more inconsistent the real signer is, the easier it is to pass off a forgery. The more different styles a signer has, the easier it is to pass off a forgery.
You mentioned "secretarial" forgeries. The only thing that it really means is that the forgery is done with the direct or indirect permission of the signer. Secretarial autographs are hand signed, sometimes by a designated person, like a secretary or family member. Someone who is taking care of the fan mail for instance. If they do it enough, the bogus signature might even be taken as the genuine autograph. It is still a forgery, with or without the knowledge of the signer.
Which gets us to the reasons. Most expert forgeries are done for the profit of selling them, but when you think about it, few modern celebrities are really worth forging. We know which ones command good prices and you always have to be wary and ask for documented proof or get a third-party certification when you are trading in valuable autographs.
But that doesn't mean that cheap autographs are always going to be genuine either, because its not true. Some celebrities don't care and they really believe an autopen or a secretarial is good enough for a fan's free autograph. Some people just fool around and make up their own signature collections, that some how get out. Some people amass terrific autograph collections from eBay sellers that have multiple signatures from everyone and they all cost $7. Those are the wishful thinkers who will buy the Brooklyn Bridge.
There is the good advice that, if you didn't see it signed don't buy it because you can never tell. However that's too restrictive and unnecessary. You can usually tell something if you educate yourself to at least know what to stay away from. The internet makes finding autograph examples pretty easy if they have any demand at all. Know your source and use trusted sources. Remember that something that looks perfect may be too perfect. Remember that something that looks bad, may be genuine, but you still shouldn't buy an autograph that is a poor display piece, even if it is genuine. If you have any doubts, pass it up. You don't want to stink up your binders with questionable items.
And a certified license autograph card is still the safest way to collect autographs, barring going out and getting them yourself. Hope there are at least some tips in this lengthy post.
|Silver Card Talk Member|
There's a company that calls itself Calhotshots on Ebay. I've known this dealer (two guys seem to run it all) from various collectibles shows in northern and southern California for at least twenty years. Another dealer friend had nothing but good things to say about them. I used to buy celebrity 8x10's and promo cards from them but they bring less of that these days when I see them. However, they still offer a lot of photos/autographs on Ebay. If I were still collecting 8x10's, I would buy from them with confidence.
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