A photograph of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan embracing was extremely popular at the time. Thousands of photographs were requested by collectors to be signed by Mikhail Gorbachev. This tremendous undertaking was dealt with by using the dreaded Autopen machine.
Because of the high volume of requests, many different pens were changed and used under fairly similar conditions. On occasion, the operator of the machine may have had a window open causing a slight breeze to enter the room. A slight bump on the table holding the Autopen may cause a certain letter in the signature to be a variant. Even how tight the operator placed the pen in the machine can cause a variant signature.
Placements of the signature on the photograph may slighly vary. Only a keen eye focused on this area of the photo will be able to pick this up.
Illustrated below are three different copies of this photograph all bearing an Autopen signature. Some slightly vary due to the reasons above.
Some of these Autopen signed photographs sell for several hundred dollars or more.
On Memorabilia Expert pages this machine signed photograph was authenticated "as Genuine" by JSA. See below.
Being consistent, another high profile company who claims to authenticate autographs has passed "as genuine" one of these machine signed photographs.
Both James Spence of JSA and Steve Grad of Beckett have been invited, on multiple occasions, to attend a separate conference, at their convenience, at a hotel to discuss autograph authentication. It would be recorded at my expense. The conference would last no more than 1.5 hours and would be a wonderful opportunity for them to be interviewed and promote their expertise and business. All invitations were ignored!
As with any autograph it is highly recomended to purchase from members of PADAH. Their names are listed and updated here monthly on www.theautographplanet.com