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                        Certificates of Authenticity with Questionable Autographs – An Educational Course     Part One

The Certificate of Authenticity Reference Library, maintained in Colorado Springs, CO has a vast amount of autographs (originals not copies) that were once sold by autograph sellers and each one comes with their Certificate of Authenticity also in the file..  Of all the categories of collecting in the hobby, it is clear that non-genuine autographs of Hollywood celebrities are the most popular.

Certificates of Authenticity (COA’s) vary.  Some COA’s look somewhat professional, yet others, even issued by a seasoned seller of autographs, can lack the name/description of the item, usually on purpose  Convenient for the seller, as when a collector tries to return the dubious autograph, the seller can easilyl say that could be a COA for any item. Also, poplar, someone forged my COA.  There was one Florida seller of autographs, now a wannba authenticator that sold an expensive item out of his shop. When the person tried to return the item, the seller denied selling it.   Luckily, the collector before purchasing took a picture of the item hanging in the dealers shop.

When a collector attempts to return a questionable autograph to one of these seller, the education in collecting autographs starts.   Unfortunately, this is the point when some collectors drop out of the hobby. Sellers of this type hurt the hobby, as the collector runs from the hobby completely and professional sellers loose a potential collector.

One could hear so many reasons why the item cannot be returned. “That’s not the item that came with the COA, or “you need to get letters from two qualified experts that I approve of saying the autograph is not genuine.”  Try getting just one of those that they approve of and with two, the cost of the letters may be more than the value of the autograph.

Know what a judge once said…COA’s are basically worthless, they are just someone’s opinion. You parrot can have an opinion as well.”

Some high-profile sellers of autographs can and will bore you how wonderful they are. What they have accomplished during their yeas in the hobby, yet with their experience, they could be the one you have to watch out for the most.  Genuine autographs speak for themselves and not the BS that comes along with it.

First rule of caution….if you are about to purchase any autograph, it may be in your best interest to check and see if they are a member of PADAH.  A list of professional autograph dealers can be found elsewhere on this site.

This is the very beginning of an educational course that with weekly additions from here on in may take two years.

We have so many active sellers of questionable autographs to choose from, we will choose the one who has the largest file in the COA Reference Library.

Look forward to seeing you next week!

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Jane Wyman - realistic looking but pre-print

WYMAN, Jane  (1917-2007  Actress, Hollywood bombshell, Academy Award winner. Married to Ronald Reagan (1940-1949). Collectors include her autograph in First Lady collections.

Autographs illustrated are pre-prints, still quite realistic loooking.

Thanks to our German friend Herbert Glas and his keen eye.



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Remember Herman Darvick?  A problem in the hobby for decades. The problem started decades ago when he was actually president of the Universal Autograph Collectors Club. Didn't last too long, he was expelled from the club for very serious ethics violations.


10657783695?profile=RESIZE_710xAfter many years of denial, at last Herman Darvick admitted he forged autographs.  He did so in front of many collectors including me.  It appears Darvick is authenticating his own forgeries.  See the Ronald Reagan signed portrait.  It doesn't take an expert to see that the Ronald Reagan signature is not genuine. The "o" to the "n" and the "l" to the "d" needs a lot of improvement.  This item is authenticated "Authentic" by Herman Darvick.

In the folowing handwritten note by Herman Darvick, pay attention o the last line.  Focus on the word "Read."  Examine the "R" in Read and go back to the signed portrait of the authenticated Ronald Reagan portrait.  Look at the "R" in Reagan. It certainly appears that the "R" in Reagan and the "R" in "Read" are by the same hand.



In Darvick's handwritten letter above, he admits in a kids book he wrote on autographs that "you will never be able to guess which autographs in this book were actually signed by me. There are two of them."  I had a person who is considered by the autograph community to be an expert to take a look at the cover of the book.  This expert has written books on autograph collecting and his expertise is baseball. His response to the signature of Babe Ruth on the cover is "Not even close."  More on sports forgeries later.



Herman Darvick on two different occasions has written in front of me the following. I still have the originals "11-20-63  Dear Lee (Harvey Oswalld) We'll be in Dallas on  Friday, Don't forget our deal! Lyndon B. Johnson."  Darvick actually said "Someday you can retire from one of these."



On a separate occasion, at a New York UACC autograph show, Herman was acting proud how he thought he could imitate presidential signatures. In front of me he signed the Nixon, Carter and Ford signatures illustrated below. 



Darvick for years denied he was a forger and published on an autgraph site  "I will give one thousand dollars that I ever admitted I was an autograph forger, I am not an autograph forger, I never forged an autograph in my life."


I claimed the $1,000 prize from Darvick, he never responded. The following email from Darvick admits he forged autographs.



One of the scarcest signatures in baseball are those of Shoeless Joe Jackson.  Most dealers and auction house never had one or even  seen one.  When Darvick was running an auction house in New York City, it appeared he had an unlimited supply.  Most experts said they were forgeries and there was a popular site on the Internet that had stories about the forged Jackson signatures and they appeared frequently.  After some bad publicity, Herman stopped selling them. The  idustry was determined to find Darvick's sources of the Jackson signatures. Even recently, I requested on three occasions that Darvick clear his name. If he didn't sign the Jackson signatures than just state who were the consignors. All three attemps received no response.  


It does't end here, another study had been done on all the Salvador Dali  and Marc Chagall signed prints Darvick has introduced in to autograph hobby.

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