Please consider these two Madonna autographs (for educational purposes)

Both of these Madonna signed children’s books are authentic Madonna autographs signed just two months apart, the first one in September 2003, and the second one in November 2003.  For those people not real familiar with Madonna autographs, both of these examples say, “Love Madonna”.  But note certain significant differences in parts of the autographs.  In one, the “v” is much more closed, while in the other it is much more opened.  

In the first example, the letter that looks like an “F” (but is actually part of the “M” of Madonna) barely rises above the end of “love”, while in the second example, it rises far above the end of “love”.  In the second example, the letter that looks like an “F” has a much bigger loop at the top...AND it loops at the bottom too, while in the first example, the “F” looking letter comes straight down like a line with no loop at the bottom at all. 

In the first example, there is a short line that shoots out from the “F” at about a 45 degree angle.  In the second autograph, that small line does not exist.

Also, the humps in the n”s of the first autograph are are not quite as sharp as in the second autograph.

To some people not very well-versed in Madonna autographs, they might think the differences are significant enough that these two autographs couldn’t have been signed by the same individual, even though there are clearly similarities.  

But when the autographs are viewed in their totality, when one looks at the big picture, so to speak, I think the likelihood that these were signed by the same person, in this case Madonna, becomes more apparent.

So I guess my point here is that I think that there are times when we as experienced autograph collectors can get too caught up in the minutiae of an autograph’s very fine details that we can miss the “big picture” sometimes, and we forget the fact that every autographs varies, and sometimes even real ones can vary somewhat significantly from other real examples.

Any thoughts on this subject?

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Great post, James. These are both clearly genuine to me. I agree that stepping back to look at the entire autograph as a unit is very important. Not just to give a real one a chance to shine through, but just as important, to call out a forgery that is good at the details.

Regarding details, characteristic ones are more important than atypical details to me. 

Thank you, Steve.  While it is true that some significant differences may appear among autographs signed by the same person, it is also true that signers have important characteristics that show up in most of their autographs.

I also want to make it clear that I know I’m not the “Great Oz” of autograph collecting, although I do know him being that I’m from Kansas.  ;0)

In terms of autograph expertise, I may be slightly better than the layman, but on AML, I am but a humble student who ranks low on the totem pole.  The knowledge on this site blows me away every day.

What AML shows most of all is the power of multiple and experienced sets of eyes. If TPAs had 2 or more authenticators looking at each autograph their accuracy would greatly increase.





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