Steve Zarelli's Blog (20)

Jimmy Stewart | Not so wonderful fakes

As a long time Jimmy Stewart collector, I have dozens of authentic autographs in my collection. From checks to photos to a baseball, I treasure them all.

However, one key piece has eluded me - that is a signed photo from It's a Wonderful Life

Jimmy Stewart was a generous signer and there is a good supply of authentically signed Stewart items readily available. As of now, there are approximately 420 James Stewart signed items on eBay from almost every movie he…


Added by Steve Zarelli on December 5, 2023 at 9:21am — 12 Comments

Authenticity opinions received through Facebook groups? Out!

Over the years I have heard many stories of how various Facebook Autograph Groups can be a total circus. Crazy members, fighting, bad opinions, stalking... you name it. In light of this, I have avoided them.

However, recently I broke my own rule and joined the "Out or Safe!?”  baseball Facebook group because I had heard stories of what was going on in there. My curiosity was piqued and I wanted to see for myself. The premise of the group is someone posts a photo of an item, and admins…


Added by Steve Zarelli on July 14, 2021 at 1:30pm — 16 Comments

What are Autopen signatures? How to identify Autopens and myths!

Hey gang... please check out my new video and be sure to subscribe to my channel! :-)

Collectibles Chat Episode 7: Collectibles Chat with Steve Zarelli, Zarelli Space Authentication.

What are Autopen autographs; how to identify Autopen autographs; and Autopen myths.

I close the episode with a collecting tip.…


Added by Steve Zarelli on February 19, 2020 at 5:00am — 9 Comments

Space Shuttle Challenger Autograph Collecting Tips

Today marks the 34th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. 

In this episode of Collectibles Chat -- Honoring the Challenger Shuttle Astronauts and Challenger Autographs Collecting Tips.

Added by Steve Zarelli on January 28, 2020 at 5:27am — 7 Comments

Collectibles Chat Episode 4: Exposing traced autograph scam.

Collectibles Chat Episode 4: Exposing traced autograph scam. What to look for to identify traced over autograph fakes.

Please be sure to "subscribe" to my channel. Thanks!

Added by Steve Zarelli on January 13, 2020 at 6:39am — 5 Comments

Collectibles Chat: A Soviet-era postcard book with cosmonaut autographs

Episode 2: Collectibles Chat with Steve Zarelli

In this episode I examine and discuss a vintage Soviet-era postcard book with numerous cosmonaut autographs.

Added by Steve Zarelli on December 24, 2019 at 5:30am — 6 Comments

Collectibles Chat: Liberating a Mickey Mantle signed photo

I have been blogging and writing magazine articles about autograph collecting in general since the mid-90s. I can't believe it's been almost 25 years!

My latest adventure is trying my hand at videos. While I am a professional authenticator specializing in astronaut autographs, my videos will be a mix of space-related and more general for a wider range of interests.

With that, I invite you to check out the first episode of "Collectibles Chat," which focuses on removing a Mickey…


Added by Steve Zarelli on December 1, 2019 at 1:10pm — 9 Comments

Yuri Gagarin, 1st in space, Autograph Study by Steve Zarelli

On April 12, 1961, Soviet Air Force pilot Yuri Gagarin was the first human in space. Launched aboard his Vostok spacecraft, Gagarin orbited the Earth and beat American Alan Shepard into space by 23 days. 

On March 27, 1968, Yuri Gagarin was killed in a training flight crash at the age of 34.

Despite not being as much of a "household name" as Alan Shepard, John Glenn or Neil Armstrong, Gagarin is a tremendous historical figure and there is strong demand for his…


Added by Steve Zarelli on March 4, 2017 at 6:44am — 6 Comments

When the “proof picture” proves it's a fake!

Astute collectors know that crooked sellers use phony proof pictures to sell their fakes all the time. They steal images from other signings, pluck a photo from an internet search, and so on.

These so-called proof pictures rarely prove anything, but in this case, it proves the item is a fake, or at least, it is not the same photo that is being offered!

Here is a photo supposedly signed by Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford, Billy Martin and Mickey Mantle.…


Added by Steve Zarelli on August 1, 2016 at 10:00am — 13 Comments

Top 5 Risky Space Autographs by Zarelli Space Authentication

What are the top five most dangerous space autographs? What space autograph is fake 75% of the time in my opinion? You may be surprised at some of the names.

I wrote the attached article for the Fall 2014 edition of the UACC magazine, Pen & Quill. I am pleased to share it here for your reading…


Added by Steve Zarelli on October 8, 2015 at 7:00am — 5 Comments

James "Jimmy" Stewart: Autopen Signature Study

This article originally appeared in my blog, Steve Zarelli presents: The Collecting Obsession.

James Stewart was a willing through-the-mail signer for many years. However, after suffering medical problems in the 1990s, his office fulfilled mail requests with secretarial signatures and an Autopen machine.

The proxy signatures -- typically signed "James…


Added by Steve Zarelli on March 29, 2015 at 12:25pm — 3 Comments

Zarelli Space Authentication: Gus Grissom Autograph Study

Steve Zarelli Space Authentication is pleased to present an online signature study on NASA astronaut, Virgil "Gus" Grissom. The full study can be found on my website by clicking here.

I have included a number of verified signature exemplars that span the short period Gus Grissom was signing autographs, as well as Autopens, secretarials, pre-prints and…


Added by Steve Zarelli on October 22, 2014 at 6:51am — 8 Comments

X-15 Rocket Plane: Is this the best signed photo in existence?

Even though I review hundreds of space and aviation autographs every month for clients including RR Auction, JSA, SGC, PSA and others, I always enjoy looking at cool items. Every once-in-a-while something comes along that really knocks me out of my chair... and this X-15 multi-signed photo is one of them.

The X-15 set altitude and…


Added by Steve Zarelli on July 8, 2014 at 5:54am — 14 Comments

The most valuable astronaut signed photo?

At Steve Zarelli Space Authentication, I review thousands of autographed astronaut photos every year. Also, as a collector for over 15 years, I have seen many, many more.

So what is the most valuable and desirable single signed astronaut photo? Most people would probably assume it is a photo signed by Neil Armstrong. Armstrong unpersonalized white space suit portrait photos with a strong signature can fetch $5,000+. In a RR Auction Space Auction last fall, this…


Added by Steve Zarelli on November 16, 2013 at 5:30pm — 4 Comments

Neil Armstrong Autograph Study from Zarelli Space Authentication

As some of you know, my name is Steve Zarelli and I am an astronaut , cosmonaut and aviation autograph authenticator for RR Auction, JSA, SGC as well as dealers and collectors worldwide. I have been studying Neil Armstrong autographs for over…


Added by Steve Zarelli on October 20, 2013 at 5:00pm — 19 Comments

James Stewart - suspected forgery style alert

Over the past few months I have noted an explosion of this James Stewart signature style on eBay. It seems as if some sellers have an endless supply of these signatures and they all have the same unusual characteristics.

  • A sharp, "jerky" appearance
  • Letters smashed together with poor letter definition
  • Odd spacing between letters
  • Never personalized
  • Many of them do not appear to be on glossy photos... they are on cardstock prints



Added by Steve Zarelli on July 14, 2012 at 4:11pm — 2 Comments

Operation Bullpen and the Marino Family Forgery Ring: Has anything changed?

Over the past few days I have been re-reading Operation Bullpen, the story of the Marino Family Forgery Ring and how the FBI took them down. The last time I read it was several years ago.

Something that really struck me this time around was how self-conscious the ring was about their product being “high quality” and how nervous they got when “someone…


Added by Steve Zarelli on June 26, 2012 at 8:30am — 22 Comments

UACC - Special offer for new members and renewals


Some exciting news from the UACC ... there are a number of new board members including Tricia Eaton, John Reznikoff and myself (Steve Zarelli). We are looking at new and exciting ways to grow the UACC with a focus on online initiatives, publications, signature…


Added by Steve Zarelli on March 12, 2012 at 2:10pm — 14 Comments

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