The marketing of autographed sports items with ‘forged’ signatures is an unfortunate reality. It is not uncommon for document examiners to receive requests to examine sports memorabilia to determine if an autograph is genuine or not. The methodology for autographs on sports memorabilia, works of art, or other non-traditional writing surfaces is essentially the same as with paper documents.
A qualified examiner retained for the examination of an autographed product should be provided with the original item as well as numerous known signature specimens for the comparison process. The known signature samples would ideally be dated in close proximity to the autograph in question. Other similarly autographed items, i.e., baseball, football, would be of valuable in determining if the surface influenced the quality of the signature by the purported signer.
The examination process is neither simplistic or quick. Beware of anyone that purports to be able to ‘short cut’ the examination of autographs or any other type of signatures examination.