Authentication

Our authentication process

We take autograph authentication very seriously and use a multi-step process that includes examination and analysis of the ink and item that has been signed, object evaluation, side-by-side signature comparison, structural analysis, and after we have determined authenticity, we then issue a numbered hologram label with a matching numbered Letter of Authenticity. This number is entered into our database allowing us to identify the signature in the future.

 

There are 6 steps in our authentication process, these are:

 

Ink/Medium Analysis:

This autograph authentication step is used to answer questions such as;
Is the ink used in the signature consistent with those used when during the time period the autographed was supposedly signed?
Has the ink permeated into the paper or does it lay on top of the paper indicating that it may have been recently applied?
Has the item been hand signed or is the signature a copy, facsimile, or print?
Is the signature secretarial, clubhouse or a known forgery example?

 

Object Evaluation:

Based on what item has been autographed there are questions that must be answered. For instance, a paper document has several characteristics that must be evaluated.
 
Older ink has acid and actually etches the paper over time. Is there etching in the item being examined?
 
Modern paper deteriorates quickly over time and becomes more brittle. Does the paper's condition fit the time period when the signature was signed?
 
Brown or golden mildew spots, called foxing, can appear on paper. Is the ink on top of or underneath these spots?
If the signed object is a piece of memorabilia like a ball, bat, jersey, Guitar, Drum Skin, etc, even more complex and time-consuming autograph authentication methods are used to properly age the item to the signature.

 

Structural Analysis:

This is handwriting analysis or forensic handwriting evaluation. It includes a detailed look at every component and letter in the signature. These include:
Style, Spontaneity, Signature Flow, Signature Flow, Starts and Stops.

 

Side by Side Comparison:

The signature is then digitally scanned in a high resolution and will then be enlarged for analysing alongside original exemplars. All autographs are compared to known authentic exemplars, We have one of the largest exemplar library, with over 20,000 known exemplars. Most of our exemplars contain a wide-range of handwriting styles and are categorized by years and into sections such as private signings, in-person, and rushed examples.
 
Our experts are extremely familiar with the many different variations and evolution of an individual's signature and can quickly identify irregularities evident in a clubhouse, secretarial, or a forged signature.

 

Provenance:

Look at the first six letters; they spell proven. Provenance means just that - proving where the autograph came from. And as strange as it may seem, sometimes this is very important in the autograph authentication process. Documented evidence of provenance for an autograph can help to establish that it has not been altered and is not a forgery or a reproduction. The ability to track and research provenance and additional information provides a great deal of value to our records.

 

Certificate of Authentication:

Once the authentication process is complete and the signature is deemed authentic, we then issue a numbered hologram label, This is a tamper-resistant, foil hologram label that is affixed to the rear of the signed item and contains a unique serial number. The unique serial number is then recorded in our database for future identification.
 
In addition to the numbered hologram, a corresponding document, called a Certificate of Authenticity (COA), is issued with a matching unique serial number. Each and every Letter of Authenticity is hand signed and is embossed with our unique seal.
 
The infographic below details our Certificate of Authentication (COA) and all of the security features contained within it: