A guideline to be aware of forgeries - Part II

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Part II - History of pens and photographs and further informations how you could educate yourself.


Further forgeries

Shaky Writing

Signatures are usually written in a few seconds and this should be apparent in most cases. If the writing is slow and deliberate and not applied in one movement, then there is a possibility it may not be genuine. However, older persons become slower writers and their signatures can, like most of our handwriting, alter over the years.

If you are not old,but suffer from an illness like PARKINSON (Muhammed Ali) or being in a very tense situation there is no good explanation why you should write a shaky signature especially if you wrote it thousands of times before.Even if a signatue looks a bit of shaky – beware ! That is one of the surest signs of a forgery. Use a little common sense there.

Be especially careful of any signature where the first letter is shaky. The forger often gets a shaky start, then is OK. In addition, avoid autographs where the letters are oddly shaped, in a way noone would naturally write them and look labored.

Hesitations are another thing to watch out for. Sign your name. Did you stop on any but your usual places ? Of course not. It’s basically a smooth flow. Also, look at the last letter in the signature. Did you stop short, or did you kind of trail off. Propably the latter. You sign your name so many times that it’s simply a matter of course for you. It’s not different with a famous person. The forger, however, needs to be a little more careful, and often stops rather abruptly at the end of the signature he is forging. Look for a sudden stip and a little extra tiny blob of ink at the end of the signature you are questioning. If there, you propably questioned well. Also look for the same kind of abrupt hesitations anywhere within the signature breaks at places different than in authentic examples you are using your comparison. Most people break between first and last name, and some break within the signature, but still the breaks are not abrupt or inconsistent. It’s still basically a smooth flow of hand, pen and ink, with breaks at the same points in multiple examples. Try it yourself. Several times. Then try breaking your signature in an unusual place. Hard to do, and surely not something you would so sometimes and not others. Perhaps you see what I want to explain you....

Important history for autographs

 Sharpie in golden and silver colour
 Felt tip invented

(fine line pens, often fadded & ghosted with yello helo)
 Ballpoint becomes popular
 First colorized and colour photographs
 Ballpoint invented but not often used
 11x14 inch photographs become popular
 Photographs from 4x6 inch to 8x10 inch
 Letters in standart size mostly with mailing folds
 Extra large letters
 First photo called „carde – de visite“


History of ballpoint

Invention of the ball pen

The first applied patent for a ball pen derived from the American J.J. Loud in 1888, who described it as a holder of ball feathers in order to letter rough textured surfaces. But the patent did not have anything in common with the latter ball pen. 
The first real ball pen was already produced by the Croatian Slavoljub Penkala in 1906. Between 1914 and 1926, the Penkala was exported throughout the world e.g. Vienna, Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, even Tokyo, Singapore and Hongkong. The factory was during that time the biggest of its type and produced all kinds of stationery.
It is very hard or almost impossible for a non pro to see the difference of the type face between a Penkala and later used ball pens from the brands Biro or Raynolds.
In 1937, the basic form of today`s ball pen (Eterpen) was first produced by the Hungarian László József Biró, which was patented 1943 and is sold since then very successfully as Biro especially in South America.
Reynolds at last changed some specifications of the Biro and brought it very successfully since 1944 to market in the United States. The Americans claim the invention of the ball point for themselves, but that is not the case.

History photographs

The first photographs of people were taken about 1845. They measured about 2x4 inch and were used in place “calling cards“ or “carte de visite“. They remained popular until about 1965 when they replaced by a larger type of photograph meant for keeping in albums which in turn were kept cabinets.

They were then called “cabinet“ photographs. Generally about 4x6 inches, they could on occassion be much larger, with various names such as Imperial Cabinet. Both the carte de visite and cabinet photographs had the actual photo mounted on a heavier board, usually with the photographer’s imprint either on the bottom front or the back. The cabinet photograph remained in vogue until about the turn of the 20th century when it was replaced by photographs with sizes pretty much as we know them now, ranging from postcard size to 8x10 inches, occasionally larger.

The 11x14 inch photo didn’t become popular until about 1920, and seldom seems to have been used except by movie stars. The earlier 8x10 photographs tended to be sepia in tone (brownish) or black/white, about 50/50. Sepia started to be phased out the 1920’s and was eventually vitually replaced by the black/white altogether, which of course, was suplemented by color about 1950. Beware the signed photograph that is out of this dating context . For example, you are not likely to see a genuine signed cabinet photograph of anyone who died before 1965.

That is the reason why buying from reputable dealers is absolutely the only way to go. The field of signed photographs is fought with peril, not only because of forgeries but from secretarial signatures on movie star photos and you should at least buy from someone who stands behind his stuff and you could at least get your money back if questioned later !

For further informations and the largest autograph reference website worldwide view www.isitreal.com

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