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Pawn Stars: FDR Letter To Clergy, Sept. 23, 1935, Authenticated by Drew Max, Forensic Document Examiner

On Pawn Stars episode 322 (Chumdog Millionaire), Drew Max, Forensic Document Examiner, was once again called upon by the Pawn Stars to examine a high-end signature and this time it was a Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) signed "Letter To Clergy."

The FDR "Letter To Clergy" were all dated September 23, 1935. 

Now some facts about FDR's "Letter To Clergy" dated September 23, 1935.

These were form letters mailed to approximately 121,700 members of the clergy across the United States.  The purpose of the letter was to invite comment on the "New Deal."

Now think about this; 121,700 (one-hundred twenty-one thousand seven-hundred) "Letters To Clergy" were mailed out. 

Does anyone, including Drew Max, really think that President Roosevelt personally signed all 121, 700 "Letters To Clergy?"

The approximately 121,700 "Letters To Clergy" were all reproductions (copies) with a "Franklin D. Roosevelt" facsimile signature.  None of the "signatures" on the "Letter To Clergy' were hand-signed by President Roosevelt.  The addressee on the bottom left of each "Letter To Clergy" were inserted after the reproduction process and then mailed to the approximately 121,700 members of the clergy.

So the owner of the FDR "Letter To Clergy" walks into the pawn shop and states that his grandfather (a reverend) received the letter from FDR.  The pawn shop calls in Mr. Drew Max, FDE and Mr. Max asks Rick "What's your concern on this?"

Mr. Max pulls out his magnifying glass, talks his usual FDE jargon and then proclaims "When you put it all together, there's only one conclusion, this thing is definitely authentic."

Then Mr. Drew Max said "I wouldn't doubt if he signed every single one." 

Every single one?  Really?  All 121,700?  

Mr. Max, as a Forensic Document Examiner, how could you not determine that the FDR signature is a facsimile?  You go on the show and announce that you are a "Forensic Document Examiner" and yet you're unable to detect that the FDR signature is a facsimile?  I am puzzled.


Below is a copy of the "Letter To Clergy."  Notice there is no addressee on the below letter.

Below is another copy with the addressee inserted on the bottom left of the "Letter To Clergy."



Below are closer images of the FDR signature from both of the above letters.




Below are images of the one sold on the Pawn Stars show and examined by Drew Max, Forensic Document Examiner.




Views: 8085

Tags: D., FDR, Franklin, Presidential, Roosevelt

Comment by Steve Cyrkin, Admin on October 7, 2011 at 10:31pm

I hope the customer accepted their offer.

Comment by Steve Zarelli on October 8, 2011 at 4:42am

Is anyone shocked?

Maybe they'd be better off having Chumley toss a coin. Heads it's real, tails it's not.

Comment by CJCollector on October 8, 2011 at 5:12am

The Pawn Shop purchased it for $2,750.00 based on Drew Max proclaiming "This thing is definitely authentic."

Comment by Steve Zarelli on October 8, 2011 at 9:01am

All authenticators make mistakes. You do enough and sooner or later an Autopen, secretarial, preprint or forge is going to sneak by. You can't condemn anyone for a mistake -- or even a handful of mistakes.

What is alarming about Drew Max / AAU is the apparent pattern of mistakes and his COA appearing on many items sold on sites that traffic in high volumes of obviously suspect material.

Comment by Steve Osiadacz on July 2, 2018 at 6:32am

So how much would this FDR Form Letter really be worth now. Being that it was mis authenticated by drew max?

Comment by CJCollector on July 2, 2018 at 2:56pm

Steve, I have no idea what the value of those letters (although I would think they hold some value) would be.


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