AUTOGRAPHS & FORGERIES
1. The Current Market
2. "How Do I Know If
WARNING: eBay Sellers "AuthenticAutographs98035" of Kent, Washington, "backstagefun" and "Great American Autographs" of Seattle and "losangelesrocks92684" of Los Angeles appear to be all the same seller, listing different guitars using the photos above to mislead fans into thinking these photos were taken when his merchandise was signed. This seller has used many different eBay IDs, so please look at the photos above and compare them to those posted by any seller on eBay. The first two photos were taken by a friend of mine and fellow fan club member, and are being used without her permission (and probably illegally copied from my book, and the seller doesn't have my permission, either). I know what guitar Stevie signed when these photos were taken, and it is not any of the guitars this seller has put on eBay in the past several years. This seller has continued to use stolen copyrighted photos to deceive Stevie fans despite my repeated requests for him to stop. If you see someone using these photos, in my opinion he is using them in order to deceive you. If the seller I'm referring to is reading this and not liking it, I would be happy to sit down with you in the local FBI office and discuss with you the evidence I have.
The good news - Stevie signed a lot of autographs, so be patient and buy one you know is genuine. I offer a money-back guarantee if any autograph I sell is proven to my satisfaction to be a forgery. I am very comfortable doing that because I don't offer anything that I have any doubt about.
3. The basis for my opinions:
4. Examples of forgeries:
In my opinion the items pictured below are not genuine autographs. If you are a dealer or owner of an autograph you think is genuine which resembles one below, I welcome your documentary proof of authenticity. ("Certificates of Authenticity" are NOT proof, nor are unsupported opinions of "forensic experts"). Potential buyers should also be aware that some of the prolific "forensic experts" have been prosecuted for falsely authenticating thousands of forgeries. I have tried to take into account that there are many factors which can cause someone's signature to vary. There is also one forger who is more expert than any of the others, believed to have worked primarily for a criminal in Vermont.
Click on the pictures for a larger image.
The most recent items to crop up in the world of forgeries are photos which the seller claims are "preprinted" copies of original signatures. They aren't. Just another illegal product someone cooked up in their garage.
The "Soul to Soul" autographs are the most common forgeries on the market. There are so many that dealers probably use these as a guide, thinking they are genuine. The suspected forger cranking these out is believed to be in the Dallas area, but he sells to dealers all over the country, particularly Las Vegas, and probably the world. The signature is very close to Stevie's, but several aspects and circumstances strongly suggest they are all forgeries.
This one is almost funny, it's so bad. I don't recall seeing Stevie misspell his own name or sign a photo of someone else dressed like him. I'm told it's Richie Sambora in the photo with Jon Bon Jovi, and the double-neck Taylor guitar was made nine years after Stevie died.
The photos above were taken literally a few hours before Stevie died. I do not believe the photos were circulated until at least two years after Stevie died. It is absolutely impossible that Stevie ever signed one of these photos. The Robert Cray signatures do not resemble the ones I obtained from him personally, either. Given the nature of this particular photo, I have significant doubt that Clapton would sign this photo, but I am not an expert on his signature. Most of these seem to be originating in England.
Just a small sample of the autographs I believe are fake that proliferate on the internet. The next-to-last one is a relatively new and prolific SRV forger. The last one has the added value of being a forged signature on a fake pass.
This is the first time I've seen the 1985-86 style signature forged. I knew it would happen sooner or later. This one came from the land of the ultra-cheap forgery -- England. I hate to say it because I have good friends in England, but if you see an autograph on the internet from England, be extra careful. That being said, most of the forgeries are still originating right here in the US.
A new winner: I think we have a winner in the worst forgeries contest! All of these were listed for sale by a dealer in Las Vegas. I guess the seller couldn't afford a better forger and had his five-year-old do them for his inventory! Fortunately, it looks like most of his victims are spending less than $100 on this crap. Maybe the victims can at least put something else in the frames.
5. Examples of Genuine Signatures: