I'm new to autographs.  Can someone explain to me what a live signature is, and how to tell if there are hesitation marks in an autograph?  I know how to compare autos with real ones that were graded by PSA, etc.  I want to be able to tell if the forger did hesitation marks in the auto.  TIA

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It's all about studying the sig in question. Do this. Sign your wife's or kid's name or any other person's besides your own and try to make it look exactly like it looks if they signed it. Bc you're faking it, you will naturally go slower and make telltale mistakes bc you're hesitating trying to get it just perfect. Real signatures have fluidity, they are "alive" so to speak. They also have tells - certain characteristics which are almost always present. I firmly believe that one can educate oneself on authentic vs. fake, you just have to put the work in. Obviously, some forgeries are better than others. In these cases you use your gut and rely on backstory, price, and all sorts of other pcs of information that set the tone of the sale. If it doesn't all add up, you're probably being fleeced :)

Thank you for the beautiful explanation!

Sure, just my 2 cents!

I appreciate you taking the time to explain that so that I could understand.

What you must also realize is that there are ink technicians. Forgers who have just about perfected their craft and can escape detection, even by the experts, and I mean, the best of the best. That doesn't mean they are able to accurately perform more than several signatures, several forgeries to near perfection, the ones that become so proficient as to be able to fool the pros limit themselves to a scant few. let's say that they may be able to absolutely nail Elvis. By the same token, their Marilyn Monroe might not fool many, it's all in the feel of the pen, the flow of the ink, and being able to mimic it masterfully takes much time, the forger must adopt that forgery and become as fluent with it as writing his own name (how many tens of thousands of times have we written our own names, and yet one signature, even our own, is always different in some way than another).

Thankfully, there are pros like Chris and Terrier, who don't even have to scrutinize a Mantle or Joe D auto. They just know. Like Ray Milland in the Man with the X-Ray eyes, they see right through it. It's as visual and artistry as being able to forensically evaluate the paper and ink just from pictures of a signature.

Comparing to the opinions of PSA and JSA are going to lead to some misfires down the road, as those two companies make more than their share of mistakes (and calling them such is probably a bit kind these days). I'm in the camp who doesn't like or trust any of the authentication firms and don't feel they run a particularly tight ship. I don't believe basing your own knowledge on their decisions is really the best way to go.

I agree Rich.  I've had autos that were signed right in front of me shot down by PSA.

amen the tpas are clueless

+1

Base your own knowledge on your own knowledge. No one will look out for you like you. Best to learn w/o buying. Comparison with exemplars...there are spatial relationships and size relationships, usual slant, angle, placement...there is a lot. Negative spaces, loops of course...

Many authenticators and advanced collectors have "unique" ways to do examinations honed over time, taking a lot into account. Ink, yes, but paper/surface/item also...many things. Age of ink, age of sizing etc.

You asked about "live ink" - as Ian says below, this is to distinguish from genuine hand signed signatures from non-hand signed things, like signatures produced by an Autopen or other facsimile/print/preprint etc.

Richard,  I am bit puzzled.

Your profile reads you are an "Advanced Collector."

"live" ink usually means its not a copy.

I'm puzzled too.  "Advanced Collector?"  I never put that.

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