Paul McCartney signed Hofner Guitars w/ JSA & PSA - BUYER BEWARE

Hi everyone - I know that this was a previous topic last week in regards to a Paul McCartney signed Hofner guitar with a JSA cert that was identical to a particular High In the Clouds book signature.

Just wanted to let everyone know that there seems to be a serious scam going on as I have been given a picture to another 'signed' Hofner, equipped with a different High In the Clouds signature. 

My questions for the AML group is:

1. Has anyone noticed any other artists with this copied signature issue on pick guards or any other item?

2. Do you believe this to be live ink? Doesn't look like an autopen to me.

To me, this is a huge issue because (1) the replicas are being certed (2) no one knows where these are coming from and (3) without matches, most would have accepted it as real.

Lets get to the bottom of this. A scam like this can ruin our hobby

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The thinking is the sig is actually the book page/partial page glued down to a guard? This is not what I was getting at at all in my post above. How would one go about matching the surface finish - paper to gloss plastic? And to get certified? This seems nearly incredible, but I do recall a guy toning coins in top tier slabs and those were getting by and around...very disheartening. If the upper layer of these guards is refinished paper is there not a way to easily show the existence of paper? Is this page a hard vellum with smooth finish? These appear three-ply guards - examination of removed screws and good edge exam with a loupe?

PS -   Having just looked at some fuzzy and curvy edges and so on - it seems so. :(

Steve -- how is that done (transferring mirror images to pickguards ) ?

Richard, see the reply with the video below from March 27, 2017, and google "laser transfer paper" for more info.

I can't tell for sure without studying at least one pickguard in person, but after research, this is what I think the forgers are doing:

Laser heat transfer paper came out a few years ago that lets you print B&W and color laser images and heat transfer the image onto plastic, glass, metal, ceramics—any number of things.

You print a mirror image of the object, so when it is transferred to the surface, it's not flipped.

Only the ink transfers; it's not a decal.

High-quality laser printers have amazingly high print resolution these days, and when you're only transferring an autograph, it can look incredibly realistic.

I wasn't going to talk about it yet, because I don't want to give forgers more ideas, but collectors need to know so they can watch out for it.

Here's a video of a kit you can buy on eBay that shows you how it is done. Watch it all the way through:

An professional in-person collector friend said that Beyonce has been refusing to sign in blue because people were making copies of her autograph.

Few believed her! But it sounds like Beyonce was ahead of all of us—except for the forgers.

Thanks for posting that video Steve. Very insightful and quite a new type of animal we are dealing with now.

Is there anything we can tell from looking at heat transfered ink that would indicate being drastically different from a live signature? I would assume that pressure points would be the first thing to come to mind. The process is kind of like getting one of those temporary tattoos as a kid...

When I was a kid, temporary tattoos were drawn on our skin with a ballpoint pen.

I haven't seen one of these pickguards in person yet to be able to answer that, Corey. I agree with you, though, that pressure points wouldn't look natural under magnification. You also shouldn't see natural flow and you'll probably be able to see some kind of at least faint dot pattern under high magnification.

I am going to start to look more into this heat transfer process. Wondering if it works best on the white glossy mediums such as pick guards or could these can look good on anything.

I would think if forgers target these custom pick guards, the value on authentics could drop considerably without substantial proof - regardless of what your opinion is of them.

It's an interesting new method. If anyone finds more examples please post!

Once again thanks to all who have worked to uncover this fraud. Let's find the source

This is the most oddness I can coax out of the Macca "signed" guard in Photoshop, I wish I had a larger example of the matching book signature. There is also a tiny white spot/deficiency in the "P". Click for larger image. Hoping to find characteristics that don't require a second matching example:

And in negative:

And more with some color extraction:


The characteristics your images show that really interest me are the diagonal lines throughout the autographs. They look like printer patters to me. 

I don't have time to look up Laser printer patterns, but that would be the next thing I'd do.

That is what I am seeing Steve.


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