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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Replies to This Discussion

Thank goodness for that at least! The 'Chall' secretarial is so easy to spot, I couldn't believe any TPA could get away with it!
Concerning this example however, perhaps someone out there has a Heston signed book or otherwise in-person example which is similar? Thanks again!

Recently purchased this signed 'In The Arena' signed autobiography (of which there appears to be multitudes on eBay) and they all appear to be in this similar style, done with the blue marker. I'm pretty sure they've all been signed by him, but what has me puzzled when going through all of these signed versions is that whenever I come across one that has been dedicated 'To' somebody, the dedication is in black marker! So what I'm wondering is did either he or another secretary (obviously not the 'Chall' secretary but another more skilled one) sign all of these before any public appearances, and then Chuck would just fill in the dedication in his own hand as the purchaser would walk by the table? Otherwise why the different pen color? Should there be another secretary we should be worried about? Has anyone ever been to a Charlton Heston book signing to witness this personally?

The first upload is the book I have, the second is an example from eBay of the dedication in a different color. While the 'Charlton' in both seem very much alike, the 'Heston' part is a bit different. What are your thoughts? Thanks!

My phone won't let me add multiple uploads sometimes, so here's the second example...

The personalization and signature are both his handwriting. I got a secretarial personalization and she has a different style (again, trying to copy his but not 100% close).

The different pens is strange but maybe he did sign a bunch of copies in blue for an event and wound up having a different pen in personalization.

Good example is during a Bob Woodward speech, the event host sold signed copies of his new book. Later in the event there was no formal signing but speaking to fans after the event. I wanted my signed copy personalized. He was unsure if the pen he had would match but luckily it was the pen he used for the sales copy. Maybe an event host was selling the signed copies, with no formal autograph signing, but a fan asked him for his autograph and either of them only had the black sharpie.

Good to know...thanks Jason! I never thought of it that way, but there are quite a number out there like that from what I've seen. I'm just glad mine is genuine and all we have to still do is keep on the lookout for those 'Chall's'! ;)



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