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Bob Dylan + $600 = Autopen
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Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of mykdude
posted
Bob's latest book left the publisher with roughly 10 auto-pen variants to customers who shelled out big bucks.

Fortunately they are offering refunds but I do get a little joy over the problems it may be causing flippers. Wink

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Posts: 4921 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: March 09, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wow.
 
Posts: 5429 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Diamond Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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I read about that one. Buyers were sick when they saw the signatures, but they will be getting their money back and supposedly are allowed to keep the book. I'm not crazy about that part. You think some of these buyers, who are flippers, are going to be totally honest about it? You think some years from now everyone is going to remember that the signatures are not genuine? The autopens should really be collected and destroyed, but that's in a perfect world.

I don't understand how autopenned signatures still manage to be accepted and distributed on advertised "hand signed" items from reputable sources after so many embarrassing incidents. It's the first thing the seller/publisher should be checking.

I also don't buy the ignorance defense of the signers or their representatives. They have contracts, they are being paid. They all know that a hand signed autograph means a hand signed autograph. They all know that someone is not paying $600 for an inked facsimile.

The publisher should sue the pants off Bob Dylan for hurting their reputation and perhaps damaging their sales on other offered signed books. But they won't, because they will want to maintain the relationship with him just in case they make money. So this stupid stuff keeps happening and no one is really held accountable enough for it to stop.
 
Posts: 10499 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of AWR
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Here is the story - https://variety.com/2022/music...-refunds-1235438173/

Years ago, nobody would know or care. But with the internet and social media, it takes latterly minutes for people to compare signatures. Wonder how many people have old posters, cards, balls. and other items that were signed by auto-pen or by staff members that they will never know about (or really care that they are not "genuine")
 
Posts: 382 | Location: Califon, NJ | Registered: October 26, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Diamond Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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quote:
Originally posted by AWR:
Years ago, nobody would know or care. But with the internet and social media, it takes latterly minutes for people to compare signatures. Wonder how many people have old posters, cards, balls. and other items that were signed by auto-pen or by staff members that they will never know about (or really care that they are not "genuine")


Yes the autograph market is full of questionable items, but when you're asked to pay $600, you care. And when that person turns around and wants to flip it for as much as $6,000, then someone else is really going to care. Big Grin
 
Posts: 10499 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Raven:
I don't understand how autopenned signatures still manage to be accepted and distributed on advertised "hand signed" items from reputable sources after so many embarrassing incidents.


Unfortunately, an autopenned signature is legally acceptable as a signature in many cases. The fact that collectors don't agree is irrelevant.
 
Posts: 2242 | Location: Huntsville, AL United States | Registered: November 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Diamond Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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quote:
Originally posted by Bill Mullins:
quote:
Originally posted by Raven:
I don't understand how autopenned signatures still manage to be accepted and distributed on advertised "hand signed" items from reputable sources after so many embarrassing incidents.


Unfortunately, an autopenned signature is legally acceptable as a signature in many cases. The fact that collectors don't agree is irrelevant.


Oh I have to disagree with that Bill. The core principle of an autograph is that it be hand signed by the actual person. I mean that's it, that's what makes it authentic and what makes it worth something to fans and collectors.

Yes you can legally use your autopen on checks and certain documents, but not on anything that requires a personal signature with witnesses or a notary. If it were legally acceptable on something advertised as "hand signed" then S&S would stand by its no replacement policy and not refund anybody's money on the Dylan book. They have to because giving a facsimile signature when a hand signed autograph was sold is misrepresentation and that is legally unacceptable.

If you sell an autograph collector a fake or a facsimile, it is not irrelevant. It's just too damn hard to prove intent, and it costs too much to legally pursue on average, and almost everybody gets away with it. That is the unfortunate truth and why autograph collectors have to try to protect themselves before giving away big money.
 
Posts: 10499 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The same thing happened several years ago with signed copies of Brian Wilson's autobiography. They came with a certificate guaranteeing that the copies were hand signed. When buyers compared their signed copies it also was revealed that they were not hand signed but copies were made of his signature and inserted in the book. The seller did not do their due diligence and examine the copies when they received them. They refunded all the buyers and made an arrangement with Brian and his management to hand sign replacement copies to satisfy those who wanted the real thing. Their reputation took a hit when the truth was revealed. When I saw the name Bob Dylan I didn't think it was possible and I was right.
 
Posts: 29 | Location: san antonio, tx | Registered: August 18, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Since this story has been all over the internet the publisher has backed off on their "no refunds for any reason" policy and is offering refunds to anybody who bought the auto penned copies. The book sellers should have done a cursory check before they started sending these out. Especially for a $599 item.
 
Posts: 29 | Location: san antonio, tx | Registered: August 18, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Diamond Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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There is another aspect to this that I find interesting. It's reported that there was going to be 900 signed books available for sale. Now that's a staggering number when you consider that Bob Dylan does not like to do autographs and you can see where some people doubted it from the get-go. That's not the interesting part to me, it was just a forewarning of things to come.

The interesting part is that, according to the Variety story that is linked above, they have so far identified 17 different variations used in the autopen reproductions.

An autopen reproduces the same exact signature every time. That's why they are so easily spotted when you start to compare samples, as opposed to a hand signed forgery or a genuine autograph that will always be at least slightly different. No hand signed autograph is exactly the same, but a great looking facsimile produced by an autopen is precisely the same. Usually it's one version and everything matches up. So it's simple to catch.

However, for these Dylan signatures, somebody went to the trouble of changing the look of the autopenned signatures to produce 17 variations according to the Variety report. That doesn't sound like ignorance or laziness to me. That sounds like someone knew enough not to want all 900 to look alike and might have deliberately mixed it up.

It could also explain why the publisher didn't catch the autopen on a cursory inspection if the variations were staggered. I'm not saying that's what happened, because I don't know. I'm just finding 17 variations of an autopen, if that's true, to be interesting.
 
Posts: 10499 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Scifi Cards
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quote:
It could also explain why the publisher didn't catch the autopen on a cursory inspection if the variations were staggered. I'm not saying that's what happened, because I don't know. I'm just finding 17 variations of an autopen, if that's true, to be interesting.



It's my understanding that the newer machines can store multiple signatures. Either multiples of one person or a group of different signatures. And yes, this is only used to dupe people who only check a couple of samples.

Technology is always ahead of the game. Next will be an autopen maching that makes it's own variations... Help us all then.

Ed

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Posts: 5097 | Location: Phoenix, AZ | Registered: March 09, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Diamond Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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quote:
Originally posted by Scifi Cards:
It's my understanding that the newer machines can store multiple signatures. Either multiples of one person or a group of different signatures. And yes, this is only used to dupe people who only check a couple of samples.

Technology is always ahead of the game. Next will be an autopen maching that makes it's own variations... Help us all then.

Ed


Yep, they can program in whatever they want if they get the deluxe model. Big Grin Kidding, but probably true.

But another somewhat telling thing here is that the publisher is processing refunds to all buyers without offering the option of exchanges. There is so far no talk of exchanges or of any new orders. This makes me think that S&S knows that they are never getting 900 hand signed and authentic autographs from Dylan. Not now, maybe not then?

And if we are worried about smart autopen machines, consider this. The buyers are allowed to keep the books and the autopen signatures too. What about "cuts"? How long before some of those signatures start appearing in displays or on mated photos or even pasted on cards? Many of those buyers were flippers, intent just on the resale. Now they have a freebe.

Does anyone really think that a great looking Dylan autopen won't be repackaged in some fashion and that somebody won't get duped in some other way at some later time? This taints the whole market on him.
 
Posts: 10499 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Anyone who, in the future, pays $600+ for a cut Dylan signature without making sure it does not match one of the 17 Dylan autopens . . . Well, I'm not going to say they deserve what they get, but they are certainly foolish. Caveat Emptor.

And, the characteristics of autopen signatures are well known, and don't usually require two identical exemplars to be recognized. I've got "signed" trading cards in my collection that I recognized as autopenned as soon as I opened the envelope (Norman Schwarzkopf, Jack Kemp).
 
Posts: 2242 | Location: Huntsville, AL United States | Registered: November 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Diamond Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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For many people, an autopen isn't easy to spot cold and without any prior knowledge that they need to be checking a database. They look good in a single example, which is the danger and the whole point. I wouldn't put money on my identifying one cold without any comparison either.

As for foolish people, I would argue that no autograph of a living person is worth hundreds of dollars, but that's just to me. Obviously the market is in another place, and collectors or fans have to go by the market value or sit it out.

Hell would freeze over before I spent $600 on Bob Dylan's REAL autograph. Big Grin
 
Posts: 10499 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Raven:
. . . without any prior knowledge . . .


That's the foolishness right there. I'll spend a couple dollars on something on a whim. But if I'm spending 3 digits on anything, especially a luxury item like a collectible, I've come prepared by learning about it (if not the specific item, then the subject in general) in advance.
 
Posts: 2242 | Location: Huntsville, AL United States | Registered: November 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Raven
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So it is now being reported that Bob Dylan, or perhaps a media consultant for Bob Dylan, has admitted on his social media account that he has in fact been using an autopen since sometime in 2019. Both the pandemic and a case of vertigo has been blamed for the switch. I assume that means to assure everyone that older autographs coming straight from him are genuine.

The post also goes on to say "the idea of using an auto-pen was suggested to me, along with the assurance that this kind of thing is done "all the time" in the art and literary worlds. Using a machine was an error in judgment and I want to rectify it immediately. I'm working with Simon and Schuster and my gallery partners to do just that. With my deepest regrets, Bob Dylan"

He doesn't say who told him an autopen will do just as well as hand signed or how he will rectify it after it turns out, people don't think machine produced facsimile autographs are worth $600. Or any more than the cost of the book actually.

So there you have it, a three-for-one deal. I was SICK. I was IGNORANT. I was MISLED. So sorry, now I know better.

There are enough holes in that story to drive a couple of trucks through it, but I'm sure he will get a pass because at least he didn't claim that he had no knowledge how the books got "signed". Who else knew isn't mentioned.
 
Posts: 10499 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I never believe it is the best thing to blame the victim.

Not everyone will do research beyond trusting the seemingly trustworthy publisher.

If you can't trust the publisher who represents the signer then who can you trust?

Also while this is in the news right now, and people are talking about it right now -- how easy will it be to even do research on this in a year or 5 years.

This is a problem for the hobby in my opinion. I realize it is unlikely to be solved -- perhaps the publisher could offer an exchange of the autopenned version for a hand signed version -- that would likely get most of the bad ones off the street.
 
Posts: 5429 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Last year there was a book ghost-written by David Copperfield with autopenned signatures. It had at least five different variants available, and at least five different autopen templates seen.
 
Posts: 2242 | Location: Huntsville, AL United States | Registered: November 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Electrawoman Cards f/k/a jane
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quote:
Originally posted by Raven:
So it is now being reported that Bob Dylan, or perhaps a media consultant for Bob Dylan, has admitted on his social media account that he has in fact been using an autopen since sometime in 2019. Both the pandemic and a case of vertigo has been blamed for the switch. I assume that means to assure everyone that older autographs coming straight from him are genuine.

The post also goes on to say "the idea of using an auto-pen was suggested to me, along with the assurance that this kind of thing is done "all the time" in the art and literary worlds. Using a machine was an error in judgment and I want to rectify it immediately. I'm working with Simon and Schuster and my gallery partners to do just that. With my deepest regrets, Bob Dylan"

He doesn't say who told him an autopen will do just as well as hand signed or how he will rectify it after it turns out, people don't think machine produced facsimile autographs are worth $600. Or any more than the cost of the book actually.

So there you have it, a three-for-one deal. I was SICK. I was IGNORANT. I was MISLED. So sorry, now I know better.

There are enough holes in that story to drive a couple of trucks through it, but I'm sure he will get a pass because at least he didn't claim that he had no knowledge how the books got "signed". Who else knew isn't mentioned.


Vertigo?

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Posts: 3218 | Location: Queens NYC | Registered: September 21, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Diamond Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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quote:
Originally posted by Electrawoman Cards f/k/a jane:

Vertigo?


That's what the man said. All that spinning, how can anyone expect you to sign your name!

His story is a tad thin. Wink
 
Posts: 10499 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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