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When collecting autographs in-person, you'll inevitably be confronted with occasions in which you'll get stray pen marks on your items, especially of the celebrity or athlete is getting mobbed by other collectors. I first started experimenting with removing these stray marks a couple of years ago on photos. I found that by gently rubbing a white eraser on the mark for a while, it would eventually rub completely off without damaging the photo itself. This works the same for photos signed in paint marker. One thing you will commonly find, though, especially on glossy photos, is that a lot of times the fibers in the tip of the marker will sometimes scratch the photo itself. So, even if you remove the ink from the photo, you still might have noticable scratches left over.

I have heard various other suggestions recently, ranging from rubbing the photo with acetone (nail polish remover), to using also hydrogen peroxide. I tested the acetone, which didn't work well for me and smelled horrible, and the hydrogen peroxide worked but was a little messy and smelly as well!

This discussion is aimed towards providiing tips to other collector for removing stray marks or inscriptions from various items, such as photos, sports equipment, etc.

Another item I would like to get input on is the ethics involved with removing inscriptions. If the item is for your personal collection, then I see no issues whatsoever. However, if the signed item is intended for re-sale, I personally think it should be disclosed that there was an inscription that was removed, etc. Let us know what you think!

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Replies to This Discussion

I Have a question--what iod the BEST way to remove  (Sliver or Gold) Paint Marker from a guitar body..I know how to remove "sharpie" but what about PAINT PENS?

David, I've always used acetone (watered-down slightly) to remove stray paint pen marks from guitar bodies. Deepening on the paint pen, WD40 will also work. Rule #1: ALWAYS test on the back to make sure. I'd be curious to hear others' advice & methods.

hwkll0--thank you..i will try it ....see what happens...and TEST first..... I havent been on the site for a while--been having major surgery work done...all over in and out of recovery..... now if  ican only get "to David" off that guityar Dylan and Prince signed (LOL--JOKE) :)))

I have acetone here...what is the 'ratio to water" ? I used it to remove an inscription on a pick guard..and wow--it actually embedded the ink off a sharpie right into the pickgaurd--now it has a permanent blue stain.....cant come out. So before I try it on a guitar.....what ratio of aceteane./I also heard nail polish remover works--never tried it--have you?

I just bought GOO does NOT remove any Paint pen off a guitar...all it did was ..nothing....have you ever actaully used it on an instrument> I went back to "cologne" which if carefully applied--and let to soak a minute or two--WORKS..with a litle tender care on removal....iot just cleaned up two guitars nicely.... GOO GONE..I  tried to get it to remvoes some escesstape stain on a guitar..and it didnt even dissolvwe the masking tapwe residue...i used another product,. Thumbs way down on GOOO

Do you have to let the goo gone "soak in" a period of time? witr cologne it only takers a minute for it to loosen the ink to wipe.

N oI ahve the spray bottle..i tried to remove two gold paint pen (different brands) off different guitars..and it did nothing...I was able to get bothe inscriptions 9thanks a lot SLASH and METT/ JAMZ for purposely isncribing =--yoru inscriptions are bnow HISTORY-- I will try goo again


I personally would never try to remove an inscription, and certainly if it is done that has to be disclosed.  Were I to purchase any photo with the inscription removed I would only pay the same as if the inscription was still there.  I would wonder about long term effects of the chemicals on the photo.  So in my personal opinion I would discourage this practice if the item is intended for sale.   I have never been troubled by an inscription to me it is just more writing in the persons hand. 


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