Apollo Autographs

I began collecting autographs about 35 years ago, and didn't even know it. I was fresh out of art college and living in New Jersey. On a trip to New York City, I wandered into the Phyllis Lucas gallery and saw a signed Salvador Dali. A few hundred dollars later, I walked away with my first autograph. I didn't worry about authenticity because Dali had a contract with this publisher and often was seen in the store. Later I even received a letter from the artist regarding the litho I had purchased. But thus began a lifetime of collecting signed artwork. I tried to buy from reputable dealers and galleries. So I have many famous artists and their signatures draping my walls.

In the past year or two, I turned my attention to music and sports collectibles, such as signed LP albums by the Beatles and Elton John. And then I added sports figures like Mickey Mantle and astronauts like the Apollo 11 trio. The problem I discovered was that the more famous the figure, the more likely the autograph is fake. Babe Ruth, Neil Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and Paul McCartney can fetch thousands each. So there is a huge market for imitators to try their hand at reproducing them. Most of the general public wouldn't know the difference anyway.

So, for those of you who might consider buying a signed photo or album or baseball, I have a few simple suggestions. First, the COA or "certificate of authenticity" that is issued by the seller to guarantee that the signature is real, is probably worthless. Even the high-profile authenticators like PSA, James Spence, or Frank Caiazzo, a self-proclaimed "expert" on the Beatles, can make mistakes. I wouldn't trust them alone. I would make my own judgment. How? By researching and it's not all that hard. Thank goodness for the Internet. You can find many good examples of authentic signatures from reputable dealers and galleries and auction houses. Find sites that are listed by associations like the UACC, PADA, IACC, or other groups that hold autograph dealers and authenticators somewhat accountable. It's not a guarantee by any means but it's better than using a total stranger to provide a signature and COA that say is real.

Now, suppose you are research a Ted Williams or John Wayne signature. Accumulate as many of the ones that can be documented as real from places like RRAuction.com or historyforsale.com and don't be afraid to gather hundreds. Then take jpeg shots off your computer screen and save them to your desktop. Carefully compare them to your sample. Does it look like the others? Study the slant, the curve and the other elements. Zoom in really close. You are now doing exactly what the high-priced professionals are going to do if you paid them to evaluate the piece. Become an expert on that persons autograph. Once you feel comfortable with the results, trust your instincts. After all, it's your money at stake.

Of course there are skilled forgers that could fool even the best experts and there's little you can do about that. Let me be clear about one thing. No one can guarantee any autograph unless they witnessed it being signed in person. Otherwise, it's just their opinion. So why is theirs any better than yours? Sure they have forensic training, but you have a pair of eyes like they do. You can always still pay for an extra opinion, but remember that they can be wrong. This is more art than science. Even checking ink and paper is not the ultimate assurance. Take the Shroud of Turin, for example. With all our modern equipment and carbon-dating techniques, the so-called experts still disagree whether it's real or a hoax.

Therefore, be careful regarding an autograph worth 1000's. Take your time, don't be persuaded it's the best deal in town, and relax. There will always be another. Here's another word of caution about pricing. A signed Neil Armstrong photo should be worth $1000 or more. If someone on eBay is selling it for $250, it's a fake. Period. Why would anyone with a real Armstrong photo be dumping it on the market for a quarter of its real value? Think about it. There are no bargain signatures that are legitimate.

I'll leave you with one striking example of an obvious fraud. I saw a photo document signed by Marilyn Monroe after she married Joe Dimaggio. So this photo was autographed Marilyn Dimaggio. That would be a real find because she used Norma Jeane Dimaggio on her marriage license. You see, her given name was Norma Jeane Mortenson. But there's a sucker born every minute and someone scooped it up off an auction site for $850. What a steal! But for who?

Jeffrey Hauser was a sales consultant for the Bell System Yellow Pages for nearly 25 years. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Advertising and has a Master's Degree in teaching. He had his own advertising agency in Scottsdale, Arizona and ran a consulting and design firm, ABC Advertising. He authored a book about his directory years, "Inside the Yellow Pages" which can be seen at his website, http://www.poweradbook.com and he is officially retired.

Where can you meet the cast after the show WICKED at the Apollo Victoria in London?

is there a stage door or somewhere where you can get autographs?

I am mega excited because I love the show so much and I got tickets as a surprise xmas present!

When you get to the theatre, ask one of the ushers where the stage door is. After the show, get there as soon as you can and wait for the actors to come out. Lucky you, hope you enjoy the show.




Easton Press dual signed Apollo 13 Signed by Mission Commander Jim Lovell
Easton Press dual signed Apollo 13 Signed by Mission Commander Jim Lovell

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Fred Haise Apollo 13 Enterprise ALT Astronaut Test Pilot
Fred Haise Apollo 13 Enterprise ALT Astronaut Test Pilot

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Apollo 12 NASA Astronaut Richard Gordon Signed Autograph
Apollo 12 NASA Astronaut Richard Gordon Signed Autograph

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Apollo astronaut signed
Apollo astronaut signed

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NASA Apollo Astronaut Al Worden Signed Falling To Earth Book 1st Edition
NASA Apollo Astronaut Al Worden Signed Falling To Earth Book 1st Edition

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Jim Lovell Authentic Hand Signed 4X6 Photo NASA ASTRONAUT APOLLO 13
Jim Lovell Authentic Hand Signed 4X6 Photo NASA ASTRONAUT APOLLO 13

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NASA Apollo MOON WALKER astronaut James IRWIN hand signed book To Rule the Night
NASA Apollo MOON WALKER astronaut James IRWIN hand signed book To Rule the Night

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NASA Apollo 13 astronaut Jim LOVELL hand signed book Lost Moon autograph
NASA Apollo 13 astronaut Jim LOVELL hand signed book Lost Moon autograph

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Apollo 12 NASA Astronaut Richard Gordon Signed Photo Autograph
Apollo 12 NASA Astronaut Richard Gordon Signed Photo Autograph

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The Return A Novel of Human Adventure 1st 1st Buzz Aldrin SIGNED Apollo 11
The Return A Novel of Human Adventure 1st 1st Buzz Aldrin SIGNED Apollo 11

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NASA Apollo 7 astronaut Walter CUNNINGHAM hand signed book All American Boys
NASA Apollo 7 astronaut Walter CUNNINGHAM hand signed book All American Boys

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