Hey guys! I would probabaly like to buy myself for my birthday this Ray Charles autograph..is it genuine in your eyes?Cheers, Christian:)

Because Innuendo on this website said that his Freddie Mercury signature was fake...so I am curious..

Tags: Charles, Ray

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Yup. Sorry Donna.

I agree that the most recently posted Charles is stamped.

What I am wondering is why such a stamp was created in the first place, I can't see that it was absolutely necessary to be able to satisfy fans' requests for autographs, given that everyone knew Ray was blind.

I firmly believe that Charles did sign a few autographs in-person, with or without assistance (see my example in the link on page 6 of this thread). The form of the stamped signature, being close to the "believed real" examples, would seem to bear this out. Quite why the maker of the stamp felt the need to get close to the understandably crude real signature is a bit of a mystery to me. I wouldn't have thought the average fan would have had a clue as to what Charles' signature really looked like.

Hi all - I'm new here, having just found this fascinating Ray Charles thread.

Personally, I can't believe there was any further discussion after Eric posted the overlaid  postcards... and I do believe you should be $1000 richer Eric!

It's a matter of great chagrin to me that when I realised those PC's looked familiar and so dug out mine - only to discover that I too have a stamped PC. Strange that more have not surfaced though. I'll try to post a scan of mine at the end of this. (I don't know how so I hope the source can be on my computer?)

I bought mine at a 1995 auction as part of a large collection and was able to contact the lady who personally collected all of them during her lunch hours in Melbourne, Australia over several years in the late '60s to early '70s. She was able to tell me in great detail how most were obtained and where. It's interesting that one or two of them (Judy Garland for one) which she told me about were described as though they were in-person but when questioned closely, they were actually obtained inside the celebrity's room and returned by an assistant, so not in sight of the collector. Yep - several times I've had people swear they were "face-to-face" but really weren't.

However, she was very specific that in the case of Ray, where she waited in the lobby of Melbourne's Southern Cross Hotel (now demolished), she was invited to accompany Ray and his assistant up to his suite where she waited outside and the assistant brought out the PC which she fully believed had just been signed by Ray. This would have been either the 1964 or 1967 tour.

I have been at this for 30 years and have some knowledge and authentication ability but I'm no expert - however, I was convinced with a magnifying glass that this was a felt-tip pen. I've never blown up the scan until now - and inconsistencies appear. However, I am amazed at times how vintage felt-tip, vintage stamps and vintage fountain pen ink can have some similar features. I once had a valuable signature that I thought was a stamp, examined by a forensic laboratory that specialised in written stuff... it was fountain pen ink which had mellowed and was featureless.

Anyhow, my PC only varies in that the PC is upside-down and there is no "Musically Yours" which was obviously part of the stamps we've seen so far - as it never reproduced well in the examples so far seen, maybe Ray's people simply cut that bit off by the 1964 or 1967 tour! 

From what I can see, nobody definitively knows what a Ray Charles genuine signature looks like... all of the accepted genuine ones have no real provenance, having originated in flea markets, estate sale, etc. Even Miss Cupertino is not 100% reliable and the photos don't actually prove anything. We have no proof that any were actually witnessed being signed by Ray. Plus - they all appear to be in the same hand, including the stamped examples - so could it be that these are all by the same assistant as they all seem to be 1960s-70s?

Is it also possible then, that Paul's NME  example is the real one? Sounds silly, but consider that if Ray was a very proud blind man who did not like his disability displayed, as stated by one who knew him well, then the stamp might have been made by the same assistant to save time with collectors. Ray may never have known what the stamp was like. Conjecture of course.

Paul comes across as totally coherent and forthright and to my mind with every bit as much credibility as the examples believed genuine. He is the closest we have for a witness to a Ray Charles signature!  I don't believe Ray never signed anything but he may well have rarely signed. I also think his writing could well be better than the ones we think are good... Helen Keller could write neatly and fairly well for a def-blind person from the age of 19 months. Paul states he was one of the nicer stars and I can believe he may well have signed for a couple of excited kids. I do have two minor questions for Paul however...

If there were just the four of you present, how did you not notice that your stamped PC wasn't actually signed by Ray, as was your NME paper? Secondly, you state in your post of April 26, 2018,  "...so the item he signed was passed to me directly to Ray and then back again..."   To me, this is quite unclear - the item, (your NME paper) was passed to you before Ray? By who? - or is this a typo?

So it all comes down to what  or who is believable and we may never know. I'm probably opting for Paul's NME - it only looks wrong if you think those that are accepted as genuine, really are - and to me, those don't have any more credibility than Paul's. By the by, was the NME paper sold and for how much? I couldn't find that anywhere.

I'm just sorry that mine is a stamp, darn it! If I get this right, here it is -

Hi Rod, thanks for your very comprehensive and interesting contribution.

I'm not sure Phil or Paul look at AML frequently but I can tell you that the NME went for around £500 at a UK auction. Given the number of signers on it, I doubt that the bidders believed the Charles to be real. The card was sold by the same auction house as a stamped item and made much less than the NME (maybe around £100).

I think you'd have to be very sceptical to doubt the Curpertino item. She doesn't seem to be the type who would feel the need to make anything up and she was selling the item for charity anyway.

As for my signed programme, it is obviously possible that it is a forgery or someone backstage signed for Ray but I don't think the former is likely given the price/seller/story and I think the latter is also unlikely given how similar the autograph is to other "presumed genuine" examples and how shaky it looks. Having forged my wife's signature on countless birthday and Christmas cards I know how hard it is to forge unusual and/or erratic signatures convincingly!.  

Hi "pug" and thanks for your thoughtful response and also the report on the NME auction - obviously buyers were not convinced...

...and that's really my point, ie, it all comes down to belief. I don't believe anyone is necessarily making anything up or is a forger - unless it was an assistant who did all of the "presumed genuine" items - a proposal not beyond belief. And even he would therefore not be forging Ray's actual signature. So forgery may not be involved at all.

I find all of those presumed genuine sigs , as someone earlier stated, likely to impress collectors because that's how we might expect his autograph to look. So maybe Ray's offsider was just giving the collectors what they wanted!

I don't expect that will be a popular belief and most will likely see value in the Cupertino story in particular - but as with others of the same pattern, it really doesn't matter what her motives and values were - we still have no real indication that it was actually face-to-face, in the absence of her spoken story. 

In the meantime, if I were buying one, I would take a chance and buy Paul's - OR one of the others! Nobody can convincingly say one or the other is fake but only one of them is right - and we may never be sure until more info comes to light.

In other words, I wish I had yours and not mine!

Thanks for your thoughts - it is  a matter of great intrigue.

At the risk of going off-topic and getting very philosophical, I guess when we buy autographs we can never be 100% certain that they are genuine. If the signing is officially witnessed, if there are photographs of the signing, or at least photographs of the recipient with the signer, we can probably be more than 95% - 99.9% sure, but even then we have no absolute guarantee.

To illustrate, I have a set of Beatles autographs with seemingly cast-iron supporting documentation - letters to a competition winner, numerous press photos of the competition winner with the Beatles (one with Paul signing her book) and a small magzine article about the meeting - but I still cannot say 100% that the set I bought is the one the competition winner obtained. The term "beyond reasonable doubt" comes to mind here.

The situation is all the more tricky (but also more interesting to discuss) when there are very few "believed  genuine" exemplars around and/or the signer is/was subject to physical challenges (e.g. Ray Charles, Stephen Hawking). In such cases, it really is necessary to weigh up the evidence and make a learned decision, if you get the chance. At a busy flea market with other potential buyers hovering that is unlikely to be the case.

Speaking of rare signatures that look difficult to authenticate, there is a Mao coming up for auction in the UK very soon. Not something you see everyday. I'll post a separate thread in the "Town Square" discussion category. Here's a link:

https://live.autographmagazine.com/forum/topics/mao-tse-tung

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