Signature Study Series #6 - Won't Be Fooled Again! Preprints, Stamps & Secretarials
Whether you collect autographs through the mail (TTM) or not, you will likely run into certain pieces in the market place, that have come from the mail. This small review of well known responses from some of your favorite celebrities, will hopefully keep you from dropping good money on bad pieces. The stars of major motion pictures and television can be a strange bunch, some of them take pride in answering all of their fanmail, while others only do it once in awhile. Some just don’t respond, these celebs, well they use a number of different ways to let their fans know, that they care.
One common way they show this love for their fans is having photos sent out that bear their facsimile autographs. This can be done by sending a photo printed with a signature on it already, known as a preprint, another way is to have the image stamped with a signature, sometimes a rubber stamp or steel stamp punches the signature into or onto the item. A third way which we haven’t had to deal with much in our corner of the hobby is the autopen, which is just a machine set to scribble off a predetermined replica of the celebrity’s autograph.
Samples below cover a wide variety of the stamps and preprints that you should get used to, if you want to avoid buying a fake. Please keep in mind, if the signature is printed into the image, every single autograph you see will be in the exact same place and an exact duplicate of the same signature. Stamps or printovers as well as autopen signatures will be pretty darn close to one another, but they can appear anywhere on the photo, moving from corner to corner, etc.
The last part that we want to talk about is the secretarial autograph. An employee, friend or family member of the celebrity, is given permission by the star to sign fanmail on their behalf. Nothing hurts more than having some prize item scribbled on by someone who is not the celebrity you sent to. Plenty of people have sent pieces TTM, and never could they imagine that someone else signed their item. Therefore plenty of these secretarial signed pieces make it into the market, I am sure plenty are unaware that their item is not singed by Frank Oz or Carrie, but I believe an unacceptable number of dealers know damn well.
The following images are all signed by someone other than the celebrity and returned TTM.
Spend some time, save some of these samples or come back to refer to them. Don’t throw away your hard earned money on junk.