The Paper Chase
For Autograph Collectors, the Search for Signatures Is Singularly Satisfying
From the Print Edition:
John Travolta, Jan/Feb 99
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9903 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 371
Beverly Hills, California 90212
Rambod is a specialist in historical and vintage Hollywood autographs.
505 South Flagler Drive, Suite 1301
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
Rubinfine is a leading authority of early American history who has written 136 catalogues since opening his shop in 1967.
l) Don't go for the "hot investment" spiel. Reputable dealers are not investment counselors, so as Steve Raab says, "Watch out for anyone who says a certain piece is a sure-shot moneymaker."
2) Will it be a George Washington or a Milliard Fillmore? If that Washington isn't the highest quality or of rich content, and the Fillmore is, forget our founding father and go for the best quality you can afford.
3) Be patient. As David Lowenherz counsels, "Autograph collecting is a long-term labor of love. It's often better to go after what you really want and not settle for substitutes."
4) If you decide to frame an autograph, use acid-free backing and matting. Use UV Plexiglas. File folders should also be acid-free, and kept in an environment that's not subject to great fluctuations in temperature or humidity. They should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
5) To guard against forgeries, make sure the size and quality of the paper is contemporaneous with the time the document was supposedly written. Wood-pulp paper, for example, didn't come into use until 1870, so as Lowenherz advises, "If you're considering a document signed by King George III written on anything but parchment or rag paper, it's a forgery."
6) In the nineteenth century most people used brown ink, sometimes black. Blue ink is a twentieth-century phenomenon, so anything written in blue ink prior to the 1900s, or in ballpoint prior to the end of the Second World War, is immediately suspect.--EK
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