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Judy Garland - Genuine vs Autopen


here is another signature from my collection: Judy Garland. This, and the 2 posted earler (Leigh and Lugosi) are among the most commonly forged celebrity autographs.

Judy Garland (1922-1969) - Original vintage program from "An Evening with Judy Garland", De Montford Hall in Leicester, signed on the centerfold songlist in blue ball-point, November 15, 1960


  • Hi again,
    here is a common item that has fooled a good number of collectors and even some dealers. It is an Autopen - the Autopen is a dastardly little machine designed to sign mechanically. It is capable of signing anything flat and any type of pen can be used - this example is in "Autopen blue" - the pen and ink supplied when you purchased a new template. It also came in black. Many can be identified by the color alone once you've seen it in person. The sheen of the ink is also a tell. The template is just that - a template cut from a genuine sample of the signature. This machine was designed to indent the paper or photo to give an authentic look - it can also bleed, smudge and strike through like a handsigned ietm, and can be set to sign in different locations. If the machine is jarred while signing it will give each signature a little unique flavor - but that is it. ALL signatures from an Autopen will match each other exactly (other than the "jarring" mentioned but the rest of the sig will be identical) - any signature that matches any known template pattern is not authentic. Another problem is the way it signes - it can't do curves well - it produces a very tight series of right angles that will easily show under a glass. Modern examples are getting better and better all the time which is why so many do not collect modern celebrities. Although not thought to be used outside of Washington at the time, I have shown these to be use in Hollywood as early as 1944 - William Bendix was using one after Lifeboat. Today they are rampant. Generally, all modern studio fan mail is signed in this way. The examples below are from 1960 - notice that, although signed in different locations, they are identical. I have seen these in blue, black and in both 8x10 and 5x7. They were sent out by the Midwestern Branch of the Judy Garland Fan Club. If you are wondering why this signature, which was made from an actual sample of Garlands signature, appears to differ from the example in my collection the reason is that the signed program is an in-person signature. Both are from 1960. Depending on the celebrity there may be great variation (like Garland) or very little (like DeForest Kelley) between in- person signatures and those signed under different circumstances. One must become very familar with both. And of course, when it was signed. A good collector will know that Garland stopped signing with a capital "G" around 1944, and that Lugosi stopped using the European accent over the "e" in "Bela" at about the same time. Lugosi also liked green ink, but the red examples are what people desire. And what type of pen - can't have a felt-tip Lugosi from the 20's as it had not been invented yet. I see about one of these every 2 months - often trying to be sold by people that know better image




    2 examples of Autopens - Judy Garland c. 1960
  • magikbillymagikbilly Posts: 6,780
    TTT for our new member
  • magikbillymagikbilly Posts: 6,780
    This article updated and expanded in context in the newer thread "Collectibles Business and Inventory For Sale"

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