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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Steve Z aka The Zip & Rolf - what is nagging or perhaps nipping at my heels on this;


For years Mr. Heston stated that he signed mail requests. Well, he was telling a half-truth. He was signing books sent to him, but his secretary was signing the photos and everything else.


The images on the Zip seemed to have the timeline on TTMs around mid late 90's thru 2001 on SPs.  The case for In-person you make also seems consistent in that same period as well as some examples dating back to the 60's on checks.  As excellently analyzed by Rolf on an IP signature along with his well bounded knowledge of Kay also suggests there are some exceptions as well.


However, in the SPs "dbl L" phenomena also cascading back as far (on the timeline) as the 60's and does this suggest as has been noted that only one individual was doing this thru all these decades or is the timeline under consideration constrained to the late 90's until his unfortunate death (esp to us NRA members)?

I used exemplars obtained myself in the 90s, so I know they are undoubtedly TTM.


Not sure how far the "double L" formation stretches back, but I suspect it will be fairly long term.  I have received information from a reliable source that Heston used someone in his family to respond to mail requests, and yes, they did set aside books for Heston to sign personally. I am trying to gather a bit more information here and will share when I can.

some of my findings are not new, I've done them 10+ years back based on my own TTM signatures I got in the time period of 1986-1997.  I used then In Person examples from about the same time period.


Why does Mike Whermann's double signed Jerry Lewis & Dean Martis always sold at high prices when others who are not obtained by him, never reach prices like his...... clear, those where the genuine ones, the TTM are not.....

I have been informed by a LA based In Person collector and dealer who wants to stay anonym, that it was Charlton Heston's sister who signed all the fan mail. She lived in his house on Coldwater Canyon in one of his 3 guest houses. She has since deceased.

Unfortunately, I can't tell when she has started to sign, in other cases like Eastwood or Schwarzenegger you can date it exactly to around 1984, but I had not enough material which I can date exactly to tell when it's has started on Heston. But as many others started in the mid 80's it may be around the same time as well.

My own study on Heston ends around the years 1999/2000 what has happend thereafter I don't know.

The following was just released by Autograph World's Bob Jones; 03/09/11


Autograph World agrees with R&R's position regarding Charlton Heston autographs.  Where authenticity of those sold by Autograph World is at issue, refunds will be offered.  Whenever there is a question, we don't want our customers to have a signature that makes them uncomfortable.


We also agree with R&R’s perspective that it is hard to imagine that Heston had the exact same secretary forging his signature for so many decades – and doing it so well.  Our understanding is that Charlton Heston indicated that he personally responded to through the mail requests for decades.
You can't beat that. Class act.
So customers would have to see this study, and then contact them for a refund.  I'm sorry but I think it is the job of the dealer to look through their files if a mistake has been made.

Daniel - it would be nice if it worked that way and maybe for one or 2 it may but the greater majority.


Perhaps Steve can Blog one of his AM Newsworthy Items out  that may gain a wider audience especially where two leading auction houses have concurred that it does have alot of merit and now with announcment of his Heston's sister doing the signing (unfortunately, you know how anyone listed as anon must be hiding something around here goes)  might solve the "who".

Steve and everyone have done a great job here. If you're interested in doing Jimmy Stewart, we'll post our feature by Jeff Benziger from July 2006 issue in the next day or two and everyone can have at it.

Hopefully we didn't publish any secretarials or forgeries!

(I think it's pretty unlikely.)

We'll make it a work in progress, and I think it will be exciting as well as important to see what conclusions we can come to.

What do you think?


Let's have at it. I'm still holding out hope that Stewart did not use secretarials and I have not seen any evidence to the contrary thus far. The fact that he used an Autopen machine at one point [hopefully] indicates that handsigned items that were obtained through his office,  were authentic.


<fingers crossed> :-)

Zipper- from what I understand , the autopen was only used on books through the publisher.
I have seen the Autopen on photos as well. However, I suppose it's possible those photos may have been sent by the publisher as part of the promotion for the book.  The plot thickens. :-)



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