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At Steve Cyrkin's invitation, I'd like to call your attention to a signature study I've posted on my blog, Charlton Heston signature study by Steve Zarelli.

I believe I have identified the "tell" in Charlton Heston secretarial signatures, and if I am correct, the news is not good for most collectors. It appears that most  Heston signed photos are secretarially signed.


Here is a synopsis:

The Theory
Photographs and other memorabilia sent to Mr. Heston's office were signed by a secretary. However, Mr. Heston did authentically sign books through-the-mail.  

Real vs. Secretary
In authentic signatures, the R in "Charlton" is distinctly a lowercase "r" and less than half the height of the L. The first four letters are clearly "Char."

In secretarial signatures, the R looks much more like a lowercase "l" and is about the same height as the L. So, the first four letters appear to be "Chall."

I have attached two images to give you a small sampling.  

For more details and images, please visit my blog at the link below.

I'd love to hear your feedback and thoughts on this. I fully anticipate some resistance to the theory, because denial is always the first step. In fact, I would love to be proved wrong, because that would mean I wasn't sitting on a bunch of secretary signed photos!

By way of introduction, I have been collecting since the early 90s and I am the UACC Ethics Director.

I look forward to the discussion.

The Collecting Obsession


Steve Zarelli


Tags: Charlton, Forgery, Heston, Secretary, authenticating, autograph, secretarial

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They're very nice in my opinion. I own one myself. Great contrast between the silver pen and the photo. There isn't a more iconic film role out there than Moses from The Ten Commandments.

Very true.  I am lucky I got it!!


How do you guys all know about where the signing was?


He didn't do many public signings. I recognize the pen and the photo. He signed many of these at the same time and we've seen them on the market before.

It has been written that a few dealers purchased lots from this signing. I cannot recall, but the dealer that set up the signing has been mentioned and there are photos. I believe there was also a pic of him working on a stack of the Moses pics. 

Alaska came out in 1996, so one could theorize that this session was conducted shortly after that.

He seemed like he was a very gracious man.. Didn't he go down hill physically after that pretty quick?  I saw him with his wife walking and I can't believe the pictures here.  he seems so much more attentive..

Its really sad looks like most of all the ones certified by third party are all secretaries?

Well you know why that is?  many of them hire really young and inexperienced people...No one wants to hire the big older experienced guys ..

VERY Interesting and VERY groundbreaking. Steve should be able to help you get the information to the proper people for digestion.


I have a similar study about one of the MAJOR NASCAR drivers that I have been sitting on since 1997. It's a very big revelation and I'm going to do it, I just HATE to.

I hated being the bearer of bad news... no one likes to be the party pooper. lol   But I'm not one to stick my head in the sand. Thanks for your comments.

Larry Grobel did a cover story on Charlton Heston for our July 2008 issue. It was based on his personal interview of Heston and included autographs he signed for him. But he may have dropped off some to be signed, so perhaps there's a secretarial or two in the feature. I don't have that issue here at home—I'll be pulling it out first thing tomorrow!

Steve, great article that's sure to stir up discussion. Thanks.



Steve the first photo appears to be a sec. the rest have the R  Good piece!


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