Is That Autograph Real? How to Tell

baseball autoDetermining the authenticity of an autograph is crucial, especially in the context of estate sales where various memorabilia can emerge. Here’s a guide to help you discern real autographs from forgeries:

  1. Research the Signer’s Autograph Style: Familiarize yourself with the authentic signature style of the person in question. Compare the autograph in question with verified examples. Look for consistency in letter formation, flow, and pressure points.
  2. Examine the Ink and Writing Tool: Authentic autographs typically show variability in ink flow and pressure. Forgeries might display a more uniform line, suggesting they were slowly and carefully drawn. The age of the ink should also match the period when the signer was alive.
  3. Check the Provenance: Provenance, or the history of ownership, can be a key indicator of authenticity. Autographs with a documented history of where they came from are more likely to be genuine.
  4. Look for a Certificate of Authenticity: A certificate of authenticity (COA) from a reputable source can add credibility. However, be wary as COAs can be forged too. Verify the legitimacy of the issuing authority.
  5. Beware of Pre-Printed Autographs: Some items, like photos and memorabilia, might have pre-printed signatures. These are reproductions and not actual autographs. Look for signs of printing rather than ink on paper.
  6. Use Professional Authentication Services: When in doubt, consult a professional authentication service. Experts use various techniques, including forensic analysis, to determine the authenticity of an autograph. Along the same lines, if an autograph is graded by PSA or Beckett, you can guarantee that it’s authentic.

Remember, it’s not uncommon to come across forged autographs. Being diligent and informed can save you from investing in a counterfeit item. Authenticating an autograph requires a keen eye and sometimes professional advice, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor to ensure the value and legitimacy of your find.

Four Sales is the leading estate sale company in Virginia, DC and Maryland. For the past 40+ years, Four Sales has conducted over 3,000 estate sales in Virginia, DC and Maryland. Four Sales estate sales headquarters is in Alexandria, Virginia with regional offices in Charlottesville, Virginia and Annapolis, Maryland.   

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