signature analysis

Signature Analysis & Comparisons


A signature analysis is the most common document examination request for a document examiner to receive. It is understandable, considering the numerous contractual agreements, wills, checks, and other documents signed on a daily basis. Out of the millions of signatures in existence, those written recently as well as those written many years ago, many have their authenticity come into question.

If you have a court case, a workplace issue or a personal reason to have a signature verification, I would welcome your call to discuss the matter. The procedure is consistent for a document examiner, regardless of the document type or assets at issue. Original documents are preferable to work with, particularly the one(s) at issue. If it is not available, the best copy should be submitted.

As you suspect, several known signatures are needed for the signature analysis process. Consider your own signatures; they vary in their appearance from one signature to another. Some writers have a narrow range of variation with their signatures appearing very similar from one to another. Other writers have a wide degree of variation and the rest of us fall somewhere in the middle. Having several signature samples helps the document examiner determine the range of variation for a writer and if the questioned signature falls within that range.

I also request the comparison samples be dated close to the time period of the signature in question. Finding specimens for a signature analysis can be challenging in some cases. You are welcome to contact me for a list of potential sources. Examples include tax returns, checks, insurance forms, medical records, documents from a court case, etc.

As a side note, a recent caller asked whether it could be determined if a signature was written a few seconds or a few minutes after the preceding text was written on a document. A document examiner will normally refer ink dating cases to an ink chemist. They have the training and instrumentation to answer dating issues based upon the components of a pen’s ink chemistry. However, the state-of-the-art in ink dating analysis does not allow for such precision timing that would have benefited the caller’s case.


James A. Green,
Forensic Document Examiner

PO Box 5379
Eugene, OR 97405

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