The Great American Blues Players Signature Study: Please Add Your Examples

Hello everyone,

I have been wanting to start a thread on this for a long time, and i figure now is as good of a time as any. I collect primary guitar players, and have been selling alot of them off recently, but one thing i continue to collect are the great old blues guitar players. Their is something about the Delta Blues traveling lifestyle that holds alot of wonder for me. These guys laid the foundation of modern music and they inspired many, if not most, of the musicians working today. Most think of Robert Johnson when they think of the great Blues players, but their are so so many others that deserve mention and tons of respect.

As anyone who has ever studied early blues signatures knows, they are incredibly difficult to authenticate or even find at times. You have guys like Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, BB King just to name a few whose signature examples can readily be found. But aside from a few key players, autographs from these guys are very hard to find. And when you find one, often you really have to trust your source or do some serious research. And even then you often cant find examples.

So i thought this would be a good thread that may help future collectors out with examples we think are authentic. Please post examples of blues signatures that you like and want to share. Guys like Buddy Guy and BB King probably dont need to be posted in mass b/c their signatures are so abundant, but dont hesitate if you would like to post some.

I hope this can turn into a good database, and really the only one of its kind on the net. I have many examples from many different sources and if someone doesnt want their picture posted just leave a comment and i will delete it.

I am going to start this off with Albert King. You can find Albert King signatures from time to time, and of the 3 King's, he is the next most available after BB. Alberts signatures are typically sloppy, shaky, and can take on a few forms. Albert often write "Love You" before his signature, and his typical signature takes the form of A. King. I have also seen variations including "A.B. King". King often would not write out King fully and the formation would flow from the K almost into the g. I have seen my fair share of forgeries with Albert, but his signature can be authenticated in most instances in my opinion. Here are some examples with sources:

This is one album i used to own and recently sold on RR Auction. It came from "Mr. Bebop", of Larrys Books and Autographs. He specializes in blues signatures and this was a great example of king.

These next images came from RR Auction

The Ace of Spades album is a nice example, and the rarer A.B. King signature. The middle cut display is more atypical. This one in my eyes can go either way but is probably good. The A looks typical but the King is a little more unusual. But he did do this from time to time in his shorter signature versions. The bottom example is a typical King signature.

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Next i thought we would look at some examples of Big Bill Broonzy. Broonzy was a great guitar player and he has influenced generations. Broonzy's signatures are fairly rare but do come up on ebay from time to time. Normally between ebay UK and USA, a few come up a year. Typical price range tends to be as low as 100 for cut sigs to the 400 dollar range for books and things of that nature. But their are extremes of course.

Here are some examples. I dont remember the source on all of these, but i will try my best to remember.

I believe this one came from ebay, but looks good to me.

Here is a contract, which i am not certain on, but believe it came from ebay as well

I believe this guy came from ebay as well

I believe this is from ebay as well

This guy came from RR auction

This guy came from RR as well.

All in all Big Bill is  a rare and desirable signature. Examples are out their but are by no means abundant.

Hey guys, sorry i havent gotten back to this thread in so long. I have so much more to add, but its going to take time. First i thought i would just add a few updates. Here are some new Big Bill examples that might be of benefit in the future that i believe to have authentic traits.

Note that small signature at the very bottom of the 2nd example on the above update. It appears to begin with a J. My initial thought, is that this could potentially be a very good example of Big Joe Williams (guitarist) autograph. And yes, this would be a good example if it was from him. His signature ranges from a series of 3 X's, to an extremely scratchy Joe. But his graphs are so rare its hard to know. I dont know that this is Big Joe's signature, but its a possibility. Just thought id add that.

Hi Carl,

I have another possibility for the autograph under that Big Bill Broonzy - it could well be that of Blind John Davis.

Blind John Davis toured and played a fair amount with Big Bill (including the early 50's European tours), in fact he played and recorded with many of the great pre and post war Blues artists.  He was not born blind (going blind at the age of 9) which might explain how he was able to give more than an 'X' for a signature.

His signature though not highly desired is ultra-rare.  I have been very lucky to get a signed LP of this superb Blues pianist/songster and the autograph looks quite similar to that one above (mine being signed 2 or 3 decades later).  If we knew the background to the one above (especially what it is signed on) that might give extra credence to this being a Blind John Davis autograph.  Here is my example and below that the 2 autographs side by side:


It's Blind John Davis autograph. My friend Steve, who's almost 90 years old, met all the jazz and bluesmen who came to Belgium. He described me how Big Bill Broonzy had to hold Blind John Davis his hand to be able to put his autograph :-)

Thanks for that Kris.  The autographs are indeed similar, so it's good to hear further clarification (Big Joe Williams also did have a scrawl that is not unlike Blind John Davis's).

I have most of Eugene's jazz books :-) He was a huge collector of jazz and had a lot of autographs. I have most of them. Did you obtain this book ? I know it ended up in an LA recordstore. 

Hi Kris.  I'm not 100% sure, but I believe this was shown as an example and the current owner of the book is not known. 

Congrats on your collection.  You'll have to tell me what autographs you got.

I have as good as everyone from old jazz except for Jelly Roll Morton, Bix Beiderbecke, Bunk Johnson and Jimmy Dodds. But these are almost impossible to find I guess. I'm new here on this forum. I need to find out how you upload photo's etc... :-)

That's great to hear.  Any Blues in the collection (there normally is, as there normally is Jazz in Blues collections)? 

For photo uploads I use the 2nd Icon in that can be found above the typing box, or there is a link to 'Upload Files' under the typing box you can use.  Some systems differ so I apologies if you have neither of these options.

Thanks for that advice Nate. I just uploaded some of my Big Bill autographs. And a Josh White example I have. The grey guy with his moustache you see in the pictures asking for Bill's autograph (and in the front row of the audience with a map on his knees) is Eugene Suykerbuyck, a jazz collector / autograph collector from Antwerp. He passed away 3 years ago at age 93. He had a huge collection of autographs, I have most of them, also in books. 

I'll post some other stuff later on, from a lady who was a journalist here in Belgiumfor a jazz magazine from the late 40's to mid sixties, and who had 2 amazing poetry books that she used to collect autographs (she added drawings). No blues though, only jazz, but an amazing collection. I bought her 2 books some months ago. 



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