How To Tell Which Autograph is Hand Signed and Which is a Stamped Autographs

Here’s how to tell hand-signed autographs apart from stamped autographs:

1. Inspection of Signature:

  • Hand-Signed Autographs: Look closely at the signature. Hand-signed autographs often show slight variations in pen pressure, ink flow, and style. You may notice unique characteristics, such as variations in the size and angle of the letters. These variations are signs of a genuine, personally signed autograph.
  • Stamped Autographs: Stamped autographs, being mechanically produced, exhibit uniformity. The signature will appear exactly the same on every item, with no variations in penmanship or ink application. If you notice that multiple items have identical signatures, it’s likely a stamped autograph.

2. Ink Penetration:

  • Hand-Signed Autographs: When an individual signs an item by hand, the ink often penetrates the surface of the item to some extent. Examine the signature under good lighting. If you can see ink on the reverse side (e.g., on a page from a book), it’s a good indicator that it’s hand-signed.
  • Stamped Autographs: Stamped autographs do not have this ink penetration since they are applied with a machine. The signature will appear only on the surface, without any ink bleeding through.

3. Signature Placement:

  • Hand-Signed Autographs: Hand-signed autographs may vary in terms of placement. A person’s signature might be in different positions on various items, depending on their preference or the available space.
  • Stamped Autographs: Stamped autographs are precisely placed by a machine and are usually consistent in their location on items. If you notice that the signature is always in the same spot, it’s likely a stamped autograph.

4. Repetition:

  • Hand-Signed Autographs: If you have multiple items with the same signature, it’s still possible that they are hand-signed. However, if the signatures display minor variations, you can be more confident that they are genuine.
  • Stamped Autographs: If you have multiple items with identical signatures, especially if they are part of a mass-produced set, they are very likely stamped autographs.

5. Authentication Certificate:

  • Hand-Signed Autographs: Authentic hand-signed autographs often come with a certificate of authenticity (COA) from a reputable authentication service or a credible source. This COA adds credibility to the signature’s authenticity.
  • Stamped Autographs: Stamped autographs may not typically come with COAs since their authenticity is generally not in question. The absence of a COA can be an indicator that the autograph is stamped.

6. Documentation and Provenance:

  • Hand-Signed Autographs: Genuine hand-signed autographs are often accompanied by documentation, such as photographs or videos of the signing event, letters from the celebrity, or a known history of the item’s ownership.
  • Stamped Autographs: Stamped autographs typically lack such documentation, as they are mechanically produced without the involvement of the person being represented.

By carefully considering these factors, you can effectively differentiate between hand-signed autographs and stamped autographs, ensuring that you add authentic and valuable items to your collection. Remember that, when in doubt, seeking the opinion of a professional autograph authenticator or relying on certificates of authenticity can provide additional assurance.

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