Calling all John F Kennedy Experts - what do you think of this?


OK, I can’t believe I am already doing this all over again, but now instead of John Wayne it is John Kennedy. 

I am hoping for some of the great objective expertise from the John Wayne study I posted a couple weeks ago.  Anyway, here is the JFK case study.  Refer to the letter and close up signature below.



In 1965 Charles Hamilton wrote the most extensive case study ever produced for John Kennedy’s genuine, autopen and secretarial signatures, “The Robot that Helped to Make a President”.  
Now using Hamilton’s analysis and the letters below I have conclude this is a genuine JFK signed letter for the following reasons.

1). Hamilton concluded JFK did not start to depend on secretarials until after 1953.
2). The first known documented secretarial was 1952 (secretary IV page 31 of Hamilton's book). This letter is 1951
3). None of the secretarials on pages 22-31 are a match for this letter signature
4). Robot was first seen in 1958
5). The signature is a match as Authentic  . see pages 45-46
6). Kennedy’s secretaries may appear skilled but they all made glaring mistakes somewhere within their “work”.
 - Note the secretarial “J”’s are over flamboyant with High hoods and crossovers compared to his genuine during this time period (1951)
 - The “ohn” is way out of whack in height and width compared to his genuine where “ohn” is always lower then the “J”.
 -  The “K” often throughout his later life was a circular loop like here, see pages 41, 50,
 - The break after the last “n” is quite consistent during the early 50’s. The secretaries really screwed that up consistently , see page 31.
 - During the early 50’s his genuine examples still displayed a recognizable “e" after the last n.  Then the “d” would look like the first part of the “y” which it actually wasn’t.  The “y” would just drop off very low after the “d”.  See page 46.

  - ** NOTE: Key indicator - watch the Transition from the 1950 genuine example to the 1952 example in the first Hamilton "Genuine" example image below.  Note how the "d" in Kennedy was more pronounced as he came off 1950-51, then began to dissolve into 1952-53.

 There are several other variables, but didn't want to ramble on forever.

What do you guys think?

Views: 8561

Comment by kevin conway on January 11, 2011 at 9:52pm
Re: "Someone admits the person behind the curtain is probably guessing, but is also pro third party, how can that be?"

Quite simple actually.  If the Department of Defense has 100 inept people workng for them, do you dissolve the entire organization?  No, You fix the problem.   The 3rd parties obviously have several areas that need to be improved, re-designed or maybe even a NEW organization with a higher level of consistent competence to get it "More Right".   But, Nuke the whole 3rd party authentication process?   Not a sensible thing to do in my opinion.


And, that's coming from someone who who just got burned (again) for a sizable sum in refunds  from that lack of competent consistency.

Comment by Joseph Perino on January 12, 2011 at 9:57am

As a novice collector of in-person autographs who is not expert in really anything, I have to say I agree with Travis.  In my opinion, the third party authenticators are usually good at eliminating obvious forgeries from the market, that any collector who invests a little time in a purchase could probably determine was fake on his/her own.   What the industry needs are authenticators who are true experts and whose primary interest is in getting the authentication correct.  Maybe these companies already have that to some degree, but the way they operate minimizes their value and leads me to believe otherwise.


Third party authenticators need to prove they are THE experts, and that their opinion is more valuable than mine, by ponying up when they are wrong.  Hiding behind a black curtain and not being open about who is performing an authentication and how a determination is made is indicative of the new capitalism.  The primary interest is in collecting money, and if they do not get the authentication right, well, it is only an opinion anyway.   As such, I will not purchase previously signed items.  I would rather do without it.   The condescending attitude these companies have leads me to believe they would prefer dealing with an uneducated customer that is easily influenced, rather than an informed one.  A bad long-term business model, but one that a monopoly will support anyway.

And it also takes some gall to permanently deface any signed item by affixing a sticker or making an invisible mark.   Just because you can't see the mark in natural light does not mean it will not have some other long-term effect.  Has anyone done a study to see the long-term affects of these practices?

Comment by Steve Cyrkin, Admin on January 12, 2011 at 10:03am
Travis, sorry, but what you're suggesting couldn't be more bizarrely unreasonable. PSA/DNA and JSA have made the market dramatically safer for collectors. Yes, they can use improvement, but what you're suggesting is akin to suggesting that Toyota should go out of business because they had some big recalls.
Comment by kevin conway on January 12, 2011 at 10:26am


You guys have some valid points.  Some of the first new "laws"  and standards of The Future authentication company.
1). Outlaw anonymity of authenticators
2). Outlaw Sport designated experts to be opin on Non-Sports (and vice versa)
3). Establish standards and certifications for authenticators per niche specialty
4). Required COA's to include summary with brief explanation WHY the signature failed.  And not a generic statement on all COAs
5). REQUIRE "unsure" authenticators to OPT OUT, instead of grabbing $100 bills as fast as they can

6). Outlaw On-site (Shows) certifications. Require certification be conducted where ALL equipment, reference material and "higher authority" is available.   (as a newly graduated Engineer I had to consult seasoned engineers countless times to avoid "crashing" major computer systems)
7). Any authenticator who defaults to "fail" or "pass" on an item he/she is UNSURE of, will be required to do 100 hours of hard labor for a selected individual on this forum


Because it is "just" a hobby and not a critical part of human life, the motivation to get away from shoddy standards and processes may never happen.


Good Grief!  I am beginning to sound like a 3rd party basher, but on the contrary.  We just need 3rd Party 2.0.   It is an upgrade that is way over due...


Comment by Joseph Perino on January 12, 2011 at 11:39am

One other thought...

Any expert in authentication, like an expert in any field, will have earned the respect of his/her peers.  It takes strong character traits for someone to not use that reputation as an advantage for ill-gotten gains.   It seems too easy, the way things are done today in a hobby filled with so many questionable characters, for someone, or some company, with a solid reputation as an authenticator to use that leverage by making bad authentications for a quick financial gain or as a favor.   "Oops, made a mistake, nobody's perfect, it was only an opinion based on" ???  Honest mistake.  No, anonymous mistake.

The way third party authentication companies operate now does not foster trust in their opinions.

Comment by Steve Cyrkin, Admin on January 12, 2011 at 12:19pm


I think you're making good points here. Let's not put all authentication companies in the same pile, though. The marketplace shows its trust in an authenticator by the prices autographs certified by them generally bring.

In sports, which has had third party authenticators longer than the rest of the autograph market, PSA/DNA and JSA autographs have generally brought market prices for authentic autographs for years...often the strongest prices, except for licensed signing brands like Steiner and Upper Deck. Autographs certified by some other authenticators that don't have the marketplace's confidence usually bring small percentages of those values, except to the unwary collector. There are exceptions, of course, but I'm speaking generally.

In the rest of the autograph market, PSA and JSA bring similarly strong prices. That means they're well accepted by the market there, too.

There is always room for competition--if it's reputable it raises the bar. And the marketplace can quickly tell whose reputable and whose not; especially when items are auctioned. That's why I love when I heard that Travis was considering opening a boxing authentication service. I think he'll do well, and I like the concept of specialized authenticators.

PSA/DNA and JSA are here to stay. Do I think they need to improve how they handle some things? Yes. And I have no doubt they will, as long as their customers continually tell them—directly, not just in discussion groups and blogs—what they're doing that they like and what they're doing that they don't.

Comment by john reznikoff on January 12, 2011 at 12:47pm
I still contend that the case here is one in 1000. Kevin, I agree strongly that there should be an OPT OUT choice for authenticators. I call this "decline opinion" . I am glad you see that 3rd party has prevented millions of dollars of phoney items from entering the market.

I selflessly provided my expertise here. Your refusal to act in the same way along with your single minded agenda has me scratching my head. Perhaps your propaganda belongs under some of the other blogs offered here and not in Kevins JFK tent? This was an entirely differently toned blog before your machine rolled in. Sorry and not trying to be nasty...just being 100% truthful
Comment by Steve Cyrkin, Admin on January 12, 2011 at 2:46pm

I have to agree with John, Travis. This is an open forum where people can speak there minds, and it's okay to voice your opinions, and often...that's what this site is all about. But if you're setting up a competing authentication service in boxing like it sounds like you are, it's not fair to collectors to not make it clear you are a potential competitor, and therefore may have a conflict of interest.

You go from forum to forum on this site, slamming PSA/DNA pretty much wherever their name is brought up, saying the same things from one to the other to the other. The way you talk about them, there's no difference between them, Christopher Morales, Don Frangipani, STAT and similar authenticators with reputations used by the fraud industry. Is that what you think?

Comment by kevin conway on January 12, 2011 at 3:31pm

I want to respond to the PSA issue, but will take it BACK to the PSA Forum thread where it belongs. Which is what I should have done with the first mention of PSA or 3rdparty.   


BUT, before I do I want to make ONE very important thing clear.  To compare this topic and PSA to some of the “other” infamous authenticators mentioned below is comparing a Mistake to Outright Fraud.   There is NO doubt  PSA does NOT engage in Fraud.

Comment by Rick Badwey on January 12, 2011 at 4:55pm
I posted a blog on Napoleon documents.  When you employ common sense, there is no way Napoleon could have signed the thousands of documents put to him.  Especially when all the variety of signatures are considered.  Rendell points to one example, but there must be more.
Any thoughts on this?   


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