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Hi,

I'm trying to do some research on great blues / folk player Rev. (Blind) Gary Davis, and was wondering if anyone had ever seen an authentic autograph of his?  Was he even able to 'sign' his name?  was his 'signature' a 'X' (like some other blind musicians)?  For once the web has let me down on this topic, so any help (or indeed pictures) anyone can provide would be gratefully received.  Many thanks.

Tags: Autographs, Blues, Davis, Folk, Gary

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Hi Nate. I have seen only 1. It has been sold at RR auction twice. One time, in the last few months, which i bid on, but i wasnt prepared to go over 350 for it. Someone else was though. I always am looking for one. But they seem to be near non existent.

Hi Carl,

Thank you so much for your reply and the picture.  Very interesting indeed.

I must confess to being surprised to see such a 'full' signature given that he was blind (though as I understand it he wasn't born blind so that may help explain it).  Do we know if this one is definitely genuine?

Thank you again.

 

Hi Nate,

No problem. Truthfully, i have no idea if this is genuine or not. Its the only example i have ever seen. But i would say the odds are in favor of it being real. The first time it was sold at RR it was sold with several other autographed pages. I believe these were from a magazine/book. And it was originally sold with pages signed by Muddy Waters, Otis Spann, Brownie McGhee, Sonny Terry, and then Rev Gary. Im pretty sure it was just those guys in the original auction. Then, this latest go around, somebody kept the muddy/otis signatures and just sold the rev gary and brownie/sony pages. To be honest, i imagine the rev gary was authenticated by RR b/c of either who collected it, or due to the authenticity of the other signatures that were part of the book.

I sure would love to have had it, but hey, what can you do. Somebody else had more money.

Take CAre,

Carl

Hi Carl,

Thank you so much again for the reply. Ain't that always the way with autograph collecting (I've just frustratingly missed out on a howlin wolf autograph due to being outbid).
Thanks to your info I've now been able to see the images of the other autographs from that auction, and they do indeed look right, which does give extra credence to the Gary Davis one.
It would be so great to see any other examples that are out there to give a comparison, but maybe this is wishful thinking if they are that rare. However I live in hope, so if anyone has ever seen another one or has an image of one please please post it or tell us about it.

Many thanks to all.

Hi Nate, i know someone who has a Howling Wolf, or at least im pretty sure he does, and he is interested in selling. If you want i can give you his info, just let me know

Yeah, thats always the case with these super rare guys. There is just nothing to compare with. Im sure there are others, but private collectors are holding them tight. I imagine we wont see that Rev Gary sig for a long time. The bidder obviously knew how rare it was and was wiling to go high. Whats crazy is, that the first time the item sold, with all teh different graphs, i think it only got like 450 or so, and that was with all the graphs. Someone got lucky. But, i will keep searching for one.

There are examples out there of all these guys and thats really exciting. They are just squirreled away or people dont realize they have them. Bebop is offering that Charlie Christian piece which is crazy rare. And there have to be others. Seeing the ultra rare graphs is encouraging, but also i get jealous, lol. In fact, in my opinion, there are probably several Robert Johnsons and Charlie Pattons out there. Some may doubt that, and i certainly have never seen any. But i be you there are. I once read an account where one of these authors who was heavy into the blues, traveled all over to learn about the players. And while researching Johnson, they tracked down his marriage license application. And the guy says that everyone always said that Johnson was probably illiterate. Yet Johnson's signature was described as "very elegant" with great penmanship. I also once heard Robert Lockwood Jr. say that Johnson had many fans who would hang around him and that he signed many an autograph.  So where did they go? Most im sure faded from time and were disposed of. But somewhere there is one. I am confident.

Ebay is just such a great resource for us blues collectors. I actually love ebay for that. Mainly b/c alot of people just dont know what they have. And you can get some amazing deals on amazingly rare items. Not only that but they typically dont achieve high gains on ebay unless you are a prolific seller.  Right now there is a Lightnin Hopkins card signed up on ebay from JG Autographs. Typically, from a run of the mill seller, that would prob get 150 or so. From JG, prob into the 200s. But then again, there was the time i got a signed Wes Montgomery mint lP, with the best sig i have ever seen from him on it for 200.

Here is a very rare item i just got recently. Wan Wah Watson is not the most well known blues figure, but was famous for his distinctive and creative use of the wah pedal. He actually is still alive, although quite old, but i looked up his address several years back and sent him a letter and a pic to sign. He typed back a little note sayin that he no longer signs autographs and hasnt for a long time. I was bummed. So i started searching everywhere just to find an example of his sig, but never could. I saw in an archive where one sold on ebay ages ago. But for going on 2 yrs i have searched every day for wah wah on ebay, and a couple weeks ago, one popped up. Im sure youve got some great stories on picking up some rare graphs at great prices. Whats you best steal Nate?

That is a lovely Wah Wah Watson you've added to your collection there. eBay can sure be a wonderful place if you know what you're looking at. And to help people with that I must sincerely congratulate you Carl for your excellent post about Blues autographs (which is what brought me to this site in the first instance), it is first rate and I beg and plead that you continue to update it as often as possible, as I truly believe it will become THE best source on the Internet for this topic. It saddens me that people keep locked away some of these rare autos, they should be shown off to the world (anonymously if so wished), that way people can see and learn about this area of collecting (and that would help kick into touch some of the more unscrupulous sellers).
In answer to your question about my best / favourite bargain, it has to be one of my most treasured items - my Son House signed album (shown previously on your Blues autographs post), purchased on eBay for the princely sum of £56! An almost unbelievable price for such a great signed piece. I don't think I'll ever be able to better that.
Anyway, as said before please keep updating your post about Blues autos, and a plea to all other owners out there - post pictures of your items to help others (especially if it's Rev Gary Davis :-))

Hi ... having only recently signed up for autograph live I came across this old post regarding rev Gary Davis who I met in London in the 60s and personally got his autograph after boarding the blues festival tour bus where I was lucky enough to meet a number of my idols and collect their autographs personally... just thought I would register this if anyone is interested 

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