Charlton Heston - secretarials, variations & authentics (post 'em here)

This is the place for the discussion as to the follow-up for the secretarial study thread. 

That thread; proposed;

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."


and it seems to have merit.   However, in looking at hundreds of Hestons of late there are many that fall into the above theory and yet quite a few variations that aren't so clean.  There are no sacred cows in this thread but do keep it civil.

Bear in mind as you cascade thru the many examples below there are clearly some that fall into this, some that don't and an interesting variation.

Some commentors have been quick to point out that dealers and sellers of these items may have fallen into following a "bogus" exemplar.  I will post Jan Schray's exemplars and the "secretarial" one touted here will be found in her 1997 exemplar book.  Thus, without a date on COAs it's hard to tell when something was sold.  

Cyrkin in the other thread opted to close it with a number of justifications;  ... indisputable work.   It's at risk of being adulterated by Hestons being presented as either genuine, out and out forgeries, or variations of known secretarials without the painstaking, focused research and consensus-building that made this study so valuable in the first place. That's beyond the scope of this discussion and is putting the study's clarity and integrity at risk.

I for one could not disagree with this rationale moreso It is thru the posting of perceived  hestons that either lends support, refutes or enhances the theory.   I noticed the updates to the original blog include; I will note that, out a hundreds of exemplars, I found a handful of books that did not have a distinct "r" formation. My theory is these books may have been through-the-mail exemplars signed by a secretary. The reason for this could be that Mr. Heston's schedule did not allow for signing at that time or, once his illness took hold, secretaries began signing books through the mail as well as photos. 

I've also noted this in same discussion with Zipper and there was a suspicion that other forgeries were apparent.   it is the continued flow of questionable non-authentic items that gives strength to any theory.   I'll attempt to capture the many examples before they are arbitrarily removed.


6/13/12 - Rules of the Thread;

R1 - stay on subject (don't care for moderated blogs but since owners of threads have little recourse to have comments removed at their discretion).

R2 - if you are going to post a link than at a MINIMUM post the picture of the item.  The secretarial study thread has a number of links to non-existent photos.  Esp Ebay ones as they have been removed by EBAY or no longer visible.  If you don't know how then after you post the comment pm me and I'll capture the picture for posterity.

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So will pick this one up toward the ends of the thread with an in-person.  Mike, what would be nice if we could assemble a timeline since you have spent 40 years following this actor;

Here's one where the seller claims he obtained this in person.  We have had that claim made here as well but on this one there are several areas of concern from the hook to the ill formed r.  I went back thru the first several pages and notice Rolfs IPs don't align.  Along the way I also noted (march '11) the ensemble one I posted above was still available for sale. 



Reply by Mike Sibley 9 hours ago

DB - This in-person looks okay to me and typical of the 'standing in the street' signature from Mr Heston. If you look way back through this study, some of my in-person examples are very similar to this one. The 'He' in Heston is typical and the flow through to his surname crossing the 'H' at the end of Charlton is also typical, though tighter together due to the lack of space maybe.
Ebay is a huge issue. The genuine Heston signatures amongst the secretarials and forgeries are few and far between these days. Too many sellers seem happy to ignore this study. I can accept that some won't be aware of the study and list items in ignorance - but certainly not all....!

Thanks Mike which is why I choose a more cautious route..on this particulary one and left it alone.   I was looking for yours that you had posted.  What was bothersome was the hook thru the Ts... primarily.  One can also notice what has given rise to the illformed r that has popped up a number of times.  But it was the dropoffs that led me in the other direction at the same time.


Reply by Mike Sibley 9 hours ago
DB - I can see where you were coming from. The examples I posted are back on pages 46, 49 and 53. I just took a look back through the study - they sure took some finding!! With so many posts, it just shows what a great discussion this has been - and continues to be so.

so to avoid having to jump between threads these are the secretarial ones Mike added that lent more credence to a particular type of secretarial style that it might not just be a theory.  The importance of which were the comparison of ttm -vs- in persons;

Reply by Mike Sibley on March 19, 2011 at 10:33am

I jumped in on this topic about a week ago but up to now have been unable to reply due to parting company with my Gall Bladder four days ago!  I'm just about up to a lengthy typing session, so here goes...

I have followed Charlton Heston's career for nearly forty years and have made collecting Heston items my main topic.  This of course led into collecting his autograph.  Firstly for many years I wrote to him as many did TTM and was in no doubt at the time that he was replying with genuine signed photos and letters etc.  This was before the days of the internet which now allows us to scrutinise all apsects of the hobby.  So when I first had the chance to meet my movie hero I jumped at the chance.  I went to London in 1985 to see him in The Caine Mutiny Court Martial at the Queen's Theatre.  After the play had finished, I waited at the stage door with quite a number of other fans and managed to get him to sign my souvenir brochure from the play.  See first image from 1985...


The signature clearly is 'Char' and not 'Chall'.

Before continuing I have read on here the different opinions on whether Heston sent secreterials TTM.  Everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion which is as it should be.  There was also talk of doubting someone who stated they had a 'dbl L' version signed in person stating they maybe got confused as to what they got signed and when.  I am not going to get into that, but will state that I can remember and know EXACTLY what I had signed and when during my four in person encounters with Mr. Heston over the years.  I don't want that to sound big headed but I have a very good recall for these things and have my own records also.

As I sit here now every photo or signed letter I received through the mail from Mr. Heston's home address in Coldwater Canyon has had the 'dbl L' signature barring two (I'll come to those later).  I am 100% convinced that the 'dbl L' signatures are secreterial - I'm sorry to say as for years I too was sure I was getting handsigned replies from his home address.

I met him again in February 1988 at the Theatre Royal in York when he was in A Man for all Seasons. On the way into the theatre he signed the inside of his autobiography; The Actor's Life.  See next image from 1988...Again, 'Char' and not 'Chall'


He couldn't sign on the way out as his wife Lydia had been taken in with a migraine and he wanted to understandably get back to her.  I did however get a big thank you for coming and a very firm handshake from him as he walked by with a security guard.  You don't forget a handshake like that too quickly!

My next encounter was in 1997 at the Theatre Royal in Lincoln when he appeared in Love Letters with his wife Lydia.  As it happens both York above and Lincoln are only one hours drive from my home, so you can imagine how pleased I was he was appearing so close to where I lived.  On the way in he arrived with Mrs. Heston and I had a few items for signing including my copy of his autobiography In The Arena.  He was happy to sign but keen to get in and rehearse he told me.  I had my own marker pen by then, moving on from a ballpoint pen, but he pulled out his own calligraphy pen and started signing for those waiting.  He signed my autobiography and a Ben Hur lobby card.  Sadly the pen didn't take to the lobby card and it smudged badly and is now consigned to my ' not so good in person' collection.  Here is the book (and smudged lobby) from 1997, though I should also point out that he did appear frail and looked to have an eye infection of sorts, so he was a little shaky when signing... again even though the Heston part is not brilliant, it's 'Char' and not 'Chall'


After the play he did a book signing in the foyer of the theatre but only to sign books and programmes.  I bought  a paperback version of In The Arena (only £7.99!) and waited in line. He signed but did not dedicate and here is the signature I got in my programme and in my book along with a photo I took of him (you can just see what I meant about his sore right eye). All 'Char' again..


Final encounter was in 1999 at the Haymarket Theatre Royal in London when he again performed in Love Letters with his wife Lydia.  I met him going into the theatre with Mrs. Heston.  There were lots of different pens flying about so I got one in blue and the others in black Sharpie.  I got the following signed :  a copy of his book To Be A Man: Letters to My Grandson, a signed Planet of the Apes photo previously signed by Linda Harrison, a signed photo of him as George Taylor in Apes (probably my favourite), another Apes 10x8 and a poster from the play signed by both Mr and Mrs. Heston.  I don't have the poster to hand right now but will post an image of it when I have.  Here are the others...


Apologies for picture quality as this resides on my study wall..

Four quite differing signatures all done within minutes of easch other, but all 'Char'...

Apologies but I'll post this now as I'm in a bit of discomfort following my surgery (I know, what a baby!), but I leave you all to comment and I promise to post more as I want to share the letter I have from Mr. Heston which states he has a legally authorised person who signs for him....also I have some through the mail hand signed photos (though from theatres and not his home address).. Thanks for now - Mike.

This post from Mike was also interesting in contrasting a specific type of Heston In-Person signature;

Reply by Mike Sibley on March 19, 2011 at 11:32am

Just a quick one to add to this.  In my post I mentioned I gave something to my son to get signed when I met him at the Haymarket theatre in London 1999.  I had a lobby card from Will Penny which my son asked Mr. Heston to sign which he graciously did.  I already had another of this lobby in my collection that I had received in the early 80's from his home address after sending it to him.  Top is the secreterial signature, bottom is the in person from 1999.  The 'Chall' is quite clear in the secreterial as is the 'ES' that loops back on itself as it does in all my secreterial signatures.  His in person tends to be more 'jagged' an 'ES' for want of a better word.  I think these two very clearly show the differences between secreterial and in person....Mike.

Permalink Reply by DB 9 hours agoDelete

Mike, with regards to the study - you are absolutely right that too many not only ignore it but also don't agree with it (and a boatload have no idea of it's existence).  These studies are almost as impossible as the journal of medical opinions.

There are other variances going on that have been chatted about behind the scenes and sometimes here that perhaps we have other variations of forgeries going on at this point.  I'm starting to also think there is more than one secretarial variation in play.  they appear to be authentic but they also have some interesting variations and neither have that hook.  I've noticed on the books as well that some have that hook while a number of others don't and I surmise that he wasn't signing these on the run.

With Zippers theory and supporting information along with this post it seems to solitfy the particular type of Heston. 

Reply by Mike Sibley on March 22, 2011 at 5:40am

Good afternoon to you all from a sunny spring day in the UK !

I promised after my last post to show some more of my Charlton Heston signed items and hopefully this will give even more proof to any doubters regarding the TTM Heston signatures being secreterial.

This first set of photos are ones I received from his home address in the 80's and early 90's.  They all clearly show the 'Chall' signature.  I have around twenty in total, so I can appreciate how collectors are feeling right now as up until I realised the difference between secreterial and in person, I too thought all these were signed by Mr. Heston.  I guess, had I been a dishonest individual, I could have made quite some money myself selling these as genuine.  However, this is just simply something I just could never and quite catagorically have never done, or ever will.  This is why I find it so annoying to see them all over the internet as 'genuine hand signed' etc, etc.  Anyway, off my soap box and back to the photos....

The next two photos are signatures that I received through the mail which are genuine hand signed items by Mr. Heston.  The first one was a photo I took of him in 1985 in London and sent it to him to be signed via the theatre.  The second is an 'Apes' photo sent via the Haymarket theatre in 1999, which I later got signed in person by Linda Harrison.  Both clearly show the 'Char' style and the more 'jagged' ES...



The next four photos are genuine Charlton Heston signatures that I have purchased over the years, all which show the 'Char' clearly.  One is on a cheque which is fully handwritten, but I thing the best example is on the baseball which is a wonderfull example of the 'Char' style.


Back in 2001 I was seeing countless of what I was beginning to realise were secreterial Heston signatures, being put up for sale on interenet auction sites and other outlets.  As I had corresponded with Mr. Heston on and off for 25 year or more, I decided to send him some photocopies of some of the samples up for sale and ask him what he thought of this and to ask him quite carefully regarding if he had a secretary signing for him.  I was careful how I worded it as I didn't want to offend him in any way.  This is the letter I recieved and it is one of the top items in my collection.  I loved his honesty in it and I draw your attention to the last line in paragraph two in which he clealry states that  "I have one person who is legally authorized to sign various photos and papers"


You will notice that this has been signed simply 'Ch'.  I have learnt over the years that in a lot of his correspondance, if writing to friends he would sign as 'Chuck'.  When writing a personal letter to fans on a subject that meant a lot to him, he has used 'Ch'.  I'm guessing that he used the 'Ch' on my letter for that reason as opposed to the full signature - I guess I'll never know...


It's been suggested in within these discussions that the person signing for him was his wife Lydia.   Lydia Heston was and I'm sure is a very busy person in her own right and I find it hard to believe she would sit down with her husband signing numerous photos and papers etc.  Mr. Heston in his autobiography talks of his personal assistant Carol Lanning as the person who organises his public life.  Could it have been her?


Finally, the last time I wrote to him was in 2002 asking him a question.  He answered it and the letter also had 'Ch' for his signature.  He also included the following photo which along with my signed in person as George Taylor in Apes, this is my most treasured.  I never expected him to dedicate it, but he did and it is my favourite 'shotgun over the shoulder' photo. A little bit wobbly towards the end of the signature but a lovely example of his signature. This is the only genuine signature I ever received from him via his home address in Coldwater Canyon.

I have added a comparison of the same photo I received TTM which shows the differences between the two signatures once again.


Handsigned TTM signature...

and secreterial TTM...

Please let me know what you think...Many thanks.  Mike.

and then of course picking up at the end of the thread we have a myriad of ones for sale.  Understand these are not being merely posted to spear anyone but rather have something documented of it's existence.   We have found in a few cases collectors have "stumbled" over this AML site and wound up getting refunds as a result. 

Reply by DB 12 hours agoDelete

or barring that we have the following;A Lifetime Money-Back Guarantee of Authenticity is included. I am a longtime collector and only offer autographs I know to be genuine.   All of this is good except how many seem to not know "genuine".   If with the money back, it has to be disovered, the seller has to still be around and the added return costs....    Another cast picture wiped out.


Reply by DB 11 hours agoDelete

and here we have the claim of experts in autographs who further claim 

All items come with a Valuation Certificate and a Certificate of Authentication – Universal Autograph Collectors Club Member (UACC). Authenticated on reverse - Celebrity Signed Covers.

Reply by DB 10 hours agoDelete

Amazing how some just misuse the UACC Logo!  Of course that is an assumtpion;


Zipper - you'd be in the best position to respond to this one;   I've noticed a number of times that some sellers like the 2 above that are either using the UACC logo and or prominently displaying they are a UACC Member.

I actually have a couple from Arsenal Models that in one case I need to have Roger review (long overdue - but not in this thread) that has on their COA Member UACC.

Obviously, since it is listed as a member it is meaningless in terms of authenticity (can say same perhaps for some RD listings) but are there limitations on what one can or can't do with regards to COAs and listing using UACC "trademarks".   

Reply by DB 12 hours agoDelete

and here is a global authentics  GV 524626 one of a classic pose & secretarial but the seller describes it as a GAI in the title so without a COA depicted one can't easily discern if 260972249624 is a GAI or a GA.

Reply by Brick Hunter yesterday

Another one of the terrible "r" Heston forgeries available on eBay:


You'd think given the fact that only two or three authentic Heston's actually show up on eBay weekly, the genuine articles would be a bit more pricey--they're probably suffering because all the secretarials have saturated the market.


brick, it's more than two or three but they are overwhelmed by the non-authentic ones for sure!

It's a never ending battle - no matter how many get removed there are many new listings.  the books & slabs from PSA are getting better (although I'm seeing two distinctive styles which might require a harder look).  Since none of the certs are dated it's impossible to tell if the bogus ones are recent or from yesteryear.  I'd like to believe they got the message but since they are tight lippped it's hard to know.



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