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The signed vintage 1940s and 1950s photographs that I'm offering for sale from my collection originate from another collection that started before I was born and ended before I saw my first complete feature film.

The original collection was owned by two sisters who obtained the signatures post World War Two, from roughly 1947 to 1957, by writing to the stars or by meeting them during their trips to the resort area they lived near. In the early 1980s, the sisters showed me their collection and asked if I wanted to buy it. It was quite large and I didn't want to make a "pennies on the dollar" offer, so I told them they would do better financially if I handled the sale to other collectors I knew. They were my friends and I didn't want them short changed. They agreed. I did, and all worked out for the best. As "compensation," they told me to select a few photographs, from the hundreds they had, for my efforts. These are some of the ones you see offered now. They have been, and still are, sitting in safety deposit boxes in my collection for the last thirty years.

If you're asking, "How do I know these aren't forgeries?" The simple answer is: You don't. Just as I don't know if they have been forgeries for the last 30+ years. When compared with established signatures from the time period, most match. On those that don't, I point out where I find inconsistencies. The sisters telling me their stories was all the provenance I needed to know that they had obtained, in their minds, the genuine articles. Except the ones signed for them, which are positively the genuine article. When I got them, the commercial Internet wasn't even a glimmer in the eyes of eBay forgers, but forgeries have certainly existed since man first put pen to paper.

Today, stories of Ronald Reagan and Natalie Wood's mothers ghost signing for their children abound. Secretaries and assistants for Groucho Marx and others all claim they signed autograph requests, forging the signatures as best they could. So, are the items I'm selling really 1940s and 1950s vintage forgeries? I guess it's possible, just as it's possible the ones you obtain with PSA/DNA certification are fakes. PSA/DNA is only worth the value you or anyone else places on it. it's not a 100% guarantee of authenticity. For anyone with a rational mind, it can't be.

Realistically, ask yourself, how does someone certify a signature is genuine unless they saw the article being signed? The truthful answer is it's all "best guess." They listen to stories for provenance, look at aging, ink types, match existing examples from established signatures, evaluate inconsistencies, roll the dice, and make a decision. When you pay for certification, the person taking your money isn't going to say I made a "best guess." They are going to tell you that through their years of experience and vast knowledge and resources that they "verified" the signature is genuine. What a bunch of hooey! They made a "best guess" (and took your money). Even cancelled check signatures, long thought to be iron clad genuine, can be fakes because business assistants or secretaries signed them! Imagine, that certified genuine PSA/DNA Marilyn Monroe cancelled check you paid thousands for was really signed by "Madge" her secretary! But, PSA/DNA says it's real, so it must be! Also, guaranteeing something for life is only good if you get all your money back. If you never ask for your cash back, it's an empty guarantee (and dealers know this, which is why they make the "guarantee").

The final decision comes from you. If you want it, like it and think it's the real deal, buy it. If not, don't. You'll sleep better.

Back to: Boris Karloff / Veronica Lake / Kim Novak / Ronald Reagan / Esther Williams / Jane Withers / Natalie Wood



Emory's Memories copyright 2017 by Emory Sena. All Rights Reserved. All images are copyright, trademarked or registered by their respective owners and are used solely to illustrate items for sale.