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Autograph authentication

Autograph Authentication

How can I authenticate my autograph to know if its real?

One of the first things autograph experts consider when determining whether an autograph is real or not is the pattern of the signature.  Does the formation of letters match known examples?  Are there any special identifying features of the signature such as a stylized paraph that may be associated with a particular persons autograph?

When comparing signatures with known examples it is important to consider dates.  Autographs vary over time.  Differences in signature construction are expected to vary from childhood to adulthood.  The autograph of actor James Dean changed remarkably during his transition from elementary school to movie star.  But even signatures during adulthood may vary.  For example, in the early 1920s, Babe Ruth usually placed quotation marks around the name “Babe” in his autograph.  As the name “Babe” became embedded in the public persona, and as the number of fans requesting his autograph skyrocketed, Ruth dropped the addition of quotation marks about his first name.

A similar example holds true for Thomas Edison.  In his early years Edison signed his first name with a simple “T”.  His signature evolved over time with a flourishing “T” that covered the top of his signature.  The so-called umbrella signature of Thomas Edison is recognized around the world.

The best places to quickly view and compare signatures are on websites that post auction results or websites with a large inventory of autographed items. Autograph collecting organizations often post popular autographs on their websites.  Websites such as www.Famous-Celebrity-Autographs.com have a large inventory of autographs that may be helpful when analyzing signature patterns.  If the signature pattern of the autograph under consideration is grossly different than known examples, its authenticity is dubious because it has not passed the first test of analysis.

On the other hand, it is important to remember that a similar or identical signature pattern to a known example of an autograph does not necessarily mean that your autograph is authentic.  Further scrutiny is needed to validate authenticity of an autograph.  After confirming similarity, be sure that your autograph is not a rubber stamp, imprint, or one made by a mechanical autopen.  Common sense will eliminate many fakes.  Many reputable autograph collecting organizations have resources available on the Internet that may be useful when analyzing your autograph.

Collecting autographs can be fun, exciting, and educational.  Knowledge of autograph authentication is useful for collectors.  With careful analysis based on tools that are readily available on the Internet, the novice collector is better able to determine the authenticity of his autograph.

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