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

Views: 15766


Reply to This

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'! ;)

I have a 'Chall' 3x5 in front of me I just went to check, as some years back went to my first JSA visit at the mall sports shop.  Removed the 3x5 from piece I framed to get authenticated and didn't pass, for the better of course.  I had since bought a signed book online with included polaroid pic inside of him at book signing, and cut the sig for the framed piece.  I'll have to check it out and another framed 3x5 to see how the signature is, but I did meet Mr Heston about 3 different times in/around the DFW area (one was like a week of one-man shows), and he is/was my biggest/favorite old Hollywood name to have met.  My favorite horror-type movie growing up was The Omega Man, so the signed vhs video cassette box is a favorite of mine!  Just looked at pics of the book sig, good ole "Char" :)

Nice! He's my all time fav too, with one of my all time fav lines "Get your paws off me you damn dirty ape!!" haha
This has been a really interesting topic for me. If not to say quite the eye opener reading all the posts. When I first started collecting autographs of my favourite stars- Charlton Heston was one of my first.

Due to repeated moves over the years, I never got round to displaying it but after reading this topic I went to find it out and realised I have a secretarial "Chall" that purchased from a Mike Rasmussen of Rasmussen's Paper Collectibles back in 2010. Gutted.

Yep. That pose may be secretarial nearly 100% of the time. I don't think I have ever seen one with an authentic signature. Sorry!

That's ok Steve. Thank you for the detailed study. Definitely taking all into consideration should I ever attempt to purchase another Chuck autograph.

This ones going in the trash!

He did a Hollywood Collector Show in 1999 or 2000. I wonder if he had any of the ttm poses for sale and if any fans bought them that day?



  • Add Videos
  • View All

© 2009-2017   Created by Steve Cyrkin, Community Manager.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service