Stephen Koschal ~ Autograph Services
Serving Collectors, Libraries, Institutions, Autograph Galleries and Dealers Since 1967

7155 Sand Crest View, Colorado Springs, CO 80923 USA ~ Phone (561) 315-3622 ~

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Autograph Authenticating

A Sad State of Affairs

If you just purchased an autograph and it was not from a dealer member of PADAH, then you probably want to consider using one of those companies who claim to authenticate autographs.

Most likely that will be two bad decisions you have made.

The following educational course should teach you to avoid those companies.  Autograph authentication has been a plague that has been a disaster to autograph collecting. Many collectors have left this hobby when they found out how many autographs, they had in their collection that had COAs and found out the items were not genuine, is common practice.

Continue with this course. We have chosen the name of Elon Musk as an example to make a point.  A genuine example of Elon Musk is quite scarce. Yet his autograph can be found on everything from dollar bills, to baseballs, to helmets and almost everything in between.  Another reason for choosing Elon Musk is the price for his autograph.

A youngster could imitate a genuine signature of Elon Musk, yet the so-called professionals have made a mess of guessing whether his signature is genuine or not.  Their mistakes authenticating signatures of Elon Musk is a tragedy that can cost a collector up to $20,000 or more.

Put on your set belt and hold on to the disaster you are about to witness.

The following examples are all taken from eBay.

PSA/DNA claims that the following signature on the helmet was signed by Elon Musk.

Above illustration #1 PSA/DNA

If they believe that the signature on the helmet is genuine, then how can their experts issue a COA stating this signature is genuine, on the photograph below.

Above illustration #2 PSA/DNA

Can you agree that the signatures of 1 and 2 are not even close, yet PSA/DNA says both are genuine?  Take another look at the following “signed” photo. Compare this signature with those on illustrations number 1 and 2.

Above illustration #3

Compare illustration #1 and 2 with signature #3 above. Are you convinced that all 3 signatures illustrated above have been signed by three different people?

PSA/DNA got paid and their experts feel Elon Musk signed all three items. It almost seems the rule of this company is the bottom line.  Does it not appear since all three are so different, what have they turned down?

Let’s give PSA/DNA one more chance to get it right.  See below illustration #4.

Above illustration #4

After examining all four signatures above, which one if any do you believe is a genuine signature of Elon Musk?  I don’t know but looks like four different hands are involved on the signatures displayed.  Most important is that the “experts” at PSA/DNA believe all four examples are genuine. As difficult to find a genuine signature of Elon Musk, supposedly some collector was very fortunate to get an oversized 12”x18” photograph signed. Photo in mint condition with not even a crease. Dealers are asking $49,500 for these “opinions” from someone at the authenticating company who they will never be able to find out their name.  If a collector purchased one of the above items, what chance do you think they have getting their money back from the seller. Most often the seller will state, I didn’t say it was genuine, the authenticating company said it was.

Let’s take a look at another high profile company who claims they can authenticate autographs.  JSA issued a COA believing the following signed photograph is genuine.

Above illustration #5 JSA

Does this signature on #5 compare with any of those authenticated by PSA/DNA.  The following is one more example that JSA believes is genuine.

How could #5 be genuine, if they believe #6 below is genuine?

Above illustration #6 JSA

Moving along, if #5 and #6 are genuine, how can the “experts” at JSA believe #7 illustrated below can possibly be considered genuine?

Above illustration #7 JSA

Have you determined that the signatures on illustrations #5, 6, and 7 are signed by different persons?  At this point in the course are you convinced that you are a better authenticator that the so-called “experts.”  Trying to be open minded, let’s give JSA two more chances to get it right.  Illustration #8 below, JSA has determined that the signature on the perfect oversized 12”x18” photo is genuine. Which of the signatures on illustrations # 5, #6, and #7 match or even comes close to #8 illustrated below.

Above illustration #8 JSA

Let’s take a closer look at illustration #8.  JSA issued a COA stating the signature of Elon Musk is genuine. What was that decision based on?  It certainly can’t be it’s a close resemblance to #5, #6 and #7 all illustrated above.  By now you must be seeing the incompetence involved when authenticating autographs by self-proclaimed “experts.”  Be aware that JSA charges $100 to evaluate these scrawls and issue a full what they call LOA.  That’s $400 charged for the mess you are studying.  Besides there are many more Elon Musk signatures being offered on eBay “authenticated” by JSA.

For five years in a row, JSA has been invited to attend a seminar to discuss JSA’s practices when authenticating autographs. It’s no wonder a representative from the company refuses to even respond to the requests.

Here’s another crack at JSA’s expertise in authenticating autographs. Illustration #9 can be viewed below.

Above illustration #9 JSA

It just doesn’t make sense. JSA wants you to believe that illustration #5, #6, #7, #8 and #9 are all done by the same hand.  It’s quite obvious someone does not know what they are doing.  From a mere $5,624.99 to $11,999.95 which Elon Musk do you feel comfortable adding to your collection???????

Confused? We’ll try a third high profile company who claims to authenticate autographs. This one is known as Beckett, headed by the infamous Steve Grad.  His expertise is that he handled millions of dollars of autographs at an auction company in Chicago.  No lie, he did, he worked in the mail room packaging the autographs that were sold at the auction. Talk about a stretch.  A person by the name of Steve Grad was removed from the Chicago Sports Convention for selling forged autographs.  Later in court he was asked under oath if he was the Steve Grad who was removed from the convention by security.  His response was “I don’t recall.”

Illustration #10, Elon Musk signature authenticated as genuine.

Above illustration #10 Beckett

For sure, by now, you must see a pattern by the experts. Not one can agree what a genuine Elon Musk signature appears to look like. All signatures illustrated thus far are all over the place. Illustration #10 can be purchased for a mere $7,500.  An absolute bargain if you’re considering purchasing illustration #11. The experts at Beckett  want you to believe that #10 and #11 are signed by the same hand.

Above illustration #11 Beckett

At this point of mere incompetence, you must be convinced that purchasing an Elon Musk signature is out of the question. You might want to step back and reconsider purchasing some of that human hair that comes with COA’s. Those COA’s at least come with a “leap of faith.”  At least you may have some chance.

We should not cut Beckett short with just two examples so we will move on with two more. 

Above illustration #12 Beckett

This is all starting to make sense as it is obvious that Musk surely signed Illustrations #11 and also #12. Dead on!  What say you!

To convince you more, take a look at illustrations #12 and #13.  Now that your training is nearly complete, go with the #13 for a mere $29,999,99.  You’ll sleep well with a Beckett COA.

Above illustration #13

Did you ever hear of a company who claims to authenticate autographs by the name of ACOC?”  Neither have we but they have a lucky submitter that gets Elon Musk to sign 11”x14” photos and 16”x20” photos. We won’t waste much time with these, but the following are 5 examples they believe are all signed by the same hand. Oh, by the way, we have just discovered the lead authenticator of ACOC goes by the name of Justin Steffman. Can you find his name listed anywhere in the autograph community? See below illustrations # 14, #15, #16, #17 and #18.

Seems like everyone wants to get into the act of authenticating. Here’s two “guesses” on the same Elon Musk signed photo.  Just the fact that it is supposedly signed on a 11”x14” photo should be enough to raise an eyebrow. This gem is authenticated by ACOC and a Steve Zarelli. Take a peak at illustration # 19.  Could someone have used illustration #3 and 11 as an exemplar?  What did these two use as an exemplar to determine #19 is authentically signed by Elon Musk?  We know it’s hard to find a genuine example but would authenticators know one if they saw one?

Above illustration #19 ACOC & Zarelli

Here comes the bargains, how can anyone go wrong with these prices? Signed microphone by Elon Musk. Comes with a COA from someone. Was $650.00, reduced to $380.00 and will even take a best offer. How about $5.00 just to get it out of the market. See illustration #20 below.

Above illustration 20 Red Carpet Authentics

THE FINALE.  An 8”x10” color or B&W who knows poorly described. Starting price a mere $400.  When this low price can be started, first thing that comes to mind is this seller could have an unlimited supply.  Take a good look at the signature. From the 20 illustrations above this signature looks well drawn, no flaws, perfectly written by a sober person. See illustration #21 below.

Above illustration #21 Piece of the Past

This beauty comes with two COA’s. One from PSA/DNA and you can see the fine job they did with illustrations #1 thru #4. How can they possibly believe this example is authentic? Looks like they did unless the sticker was taken off something else and placed on this photo. It’s possible, however we are captivated by the fact it also comes with a COA from Piece of the Past.  Checking the files on Piece of the Past in the COA Reference Library (open to all) Piece of the Past has the largest file of the actual items they sold all with Piece of the Past COA’s. Every item has been deemed to be not genuine by several experts.  Piece of the Past was interested in purchasing this vast file to remove it from the autograph community.

The hope is that many of you who took this course is now convinced how little value if any can be placed on a COA from outfits who clam to authenticate autographs.  For quite a few years many believe tat the business of authenticating autographs should be regulated.  Even a barber who gives a $15.00 haircut has a license.

The lawlessness in authenticating autographs needs legitimacy.

It’s very difficult for most seasoned professional dealers to authenticate items signed with only what appears to be initials.  If it wasn’t for making the big bucks, the admirable thing to do is simply pass on making a guess on an item and refuse to do an authentication. For making a guess like those above could cost a collector many thousands of dollars.

Where is law enforcement on this highly lucrative business  It certainly appears that ANYONE only needs a piece of paper, a pen, and a guess and they are an opinionator/autograph authenticator.


MELINA TRUMP - A New Autopen Discovery

Koschal Spreads Good Words About Autographs in Jordan

On a recent trip to Israel and Jordan, it was nothing like I expected. In advance I had collected the names and addresses of shops in Israel that I had planned to visit and talk about and hopefully purchase some hidden treasures.  That never happened.  Anyone who has ever visited Israel knows there is little time for yourself.  There is so much to see. Even though Israel is a small country, just about every turn of a corner is mind blowing. Visiting Tel Aviv, to Jerusalem to Bethlehem alone took precedence over visiting book and stamp stores. Not to mention traveling up to the Golan Heights and seeing the military bases, bunkers and being very close and looking at Syria. This alone was a day that will be remembered forever.  A day that needed to be ended at an Israeli winery.  Other places visited were Caesarea, Tiberias, Katzrin, Beit She’an, a fabulous visit by cable car up to Masada, Safed and a very interesting visit to a kibbutz where lunch was served.  Seeing the eleven caves near Khirbet Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947 and in 1956 was fascinating. At the Shrine of the Book is where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed, I spent quite a bit of time studying the original scrolls.

Sample of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Unforgettable was a nice dip into the Dead Sea, the village of Bethany, actual site where Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River and later climbing up to Mount Herzl Cemetery.  The Sea of Galilee was a pleasant stop as well as the stop at the house of Saint Peter.

Easily a few weeks could be spent visiting the Old City of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.  Unfortunately this was  done in a few days. So much to see walking down the old streets of Via Dolorosa, travelling along the 14 Stations of the Cross, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Stone of Anointing, the site of Jesus’s crucifixion, the tomb of Jesus. There is still so much more to do such as spending some time at the Western Wall, the room of the Last Supper and the Tomb of King David.  In Palestine, climbing down the ancient steps below the Church of the Nativity and actually touch the very spot where Jesus was born, the turn around and look into the manger.

This is just some of what was visited, yet not a stop at a book store.

On to Jordan which has been on our bucket list for decades.  Little Petra and Petra are archaeological sites of temples, tombs and cisterns carved out of rock in a mountain range. The illustration below should speak for itself.

A Fabulous Treasury Building Carved out of a Mountain

In lovely Madaba, I purchased a beautiful, colorful mosaic portrait of Jesus and finally found time to visit a few book stores and talk autographs.

Two Book Stores in Jordan

Next stop was Mount Nebo where Moses lived and saw the Promised Land.   In the city of Amman we saw the fabulous ruins including Hercules Temple and the Amman Citadel, and the wonderful Roman Amphitheater, the largest in the Middle East.

I can easily go on and on of what was seen on this trip, but I look forward to going back to Israel and accomplishing what I originally set out to do on this trip.  Visit some bookstores and talk about autographs.

RR Auction : Dwight D. Eisenhower Signatures
What a Mess

By Stephen Koschal

Common sense should tell you that getting started in the hobby of collecting autographs should start with obtaining as many reference books as possible.  It just makes sense to read what the seniors in the hobby have to say about this subject. Those who purchase autographs without studying the subject are doomed to disaster.  Many professional dealers who sell autographs usually brag in their profile how large is their autograph reference library. Many of the best books could be found under $30.00.  This $30 can save you thousands of dollars in the future.

The following story is proof of these comments.

Early in 2020, a new autograph reference book was published.  Dwight D. Eisenhower, New Discoveries of His Signature. Forty-four pages in length, heavily illustrated, it goes in detail about new findings about Eisenhower’s signature.  A few years of research was done before publishing this volume, right down to interviewing for hours one of Eisenhower’s secretaries. She explained what The White House rules were for signing letters for the president. The secretaries were able to sign letters for him but only by using his initials. This according to Mary Jane McAfree was done on letters when Ike was unable or unavailable to sign correspondence. This practice included letters to friends and even family members. On a sheet of paper, she remembered how she signed letters for the president which showed me examples of her style.

The Eisenhower signature study, in a limited signed edition sells for only $12.00 and to have a copy will avoid costly and embarrassing mistakes like the following.

Since 2019, RR Auction has been flooding the market with letters that bear Eisenhower’s initialed signature.  More than 70 of these signatures were sold and illustrated below are just some of the Eisenhower letters that were signed by secretaries, yet sold as genuine.

Unfortunately, the signatures illustrated sold for almost $9,000 and will most likely end up being sold as genuine, some even slabbed ending up in private collections.

For collectors and dealers, not having a decent reference library will eventually do quite a bit of damage to this hobby. The following 24 illustrations are taken from RR Auctions catalogs.

In the above illustration, take note of the signature “grand dad Ike.”

Study the handwriting and compare it to other similar signatures.

Compare this “grand dad” signature/hand writing to the one on illustration #9

Compare this “grand dad” signature and handwriting to the others on illustration #9 & #12

Of the three, only one is genuine. Can you identify the one that is genuine?

Answer at the end of this story.

I hope by now that readers of this story have figured out why all the D.E. signatures are signed by secretaries.  With this knowledge, go through all the “Ike E” signatures and discover the ones that are genuine and which were signed by secretaries.

As for the three “grand dad” signatures, only the one on illustration #9 is genuine.

Who is Pat Claren?

Over the years, when calling me, many of you have had Pat Claren answer the phone.  Finally let me tell you a little about Pat.

Pat graduated from William Paterson College and for a shot time taught Special Education. She went on to nursing school and has been a Registered Nurse since 1980, working in Emergency Departments for the last 30 years. She developed an interest in death investigations while working in the Emergency Department of Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, New Jersey.

Along with her mentor, Virginia Lynch, the First President of the International Association of Forensic Nurses, Pat was a pioneer in the field of forensic nursing.  Ms. Claren became the First Nurse Investigator for the county of Essex and the State of New Jersey under the supervision of Dr. Robert Goode.

After moving to Miami, Florida she became a Certified Forensic Nurse and had the opportunity to work with the legendary Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Joseph H. Davis and Dr. Bruce Hyma at the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiners Department. She also befriended her colleague Dr. Joshua Perper, pathologist on the Anna Nicole Smith case.

Pat was very interested in autograph collecting, becoming a dealer in 1985 and issuing her first catalog shortly thereafter.

Retirement from the hospital setting has given her the favorable time to travel extensively throughout the United States and around the world with a focus on visiting well known cities and celebrity graves.  Her book, In Death We Did Part, has been a favorite among collectors. It is heavily filled with illustrations of celebrity signatures and many of the numerous graves she has visited throughout the world.

Pat has been working as my partner for decades, handling much of the historical research and spending much time on autograph authentication.

Below is a photograph of Pat on one of our many visits to Tom Ferebee’s home

Only White Player to Play in Two Negro League Teams

O’NEAL, Dick Lefty.  (1949-    ) American white baseball player who started in the mid 60’s as an American Legion pitcher going 32-2 over 3 years with 10 shutouts and 6 no-hitters. He crossed the color line in baseball with the Negro Leagues.  When Jackie Robinson integrated Major League Baseball a number of the Negro League owners decided they were going to try and sign a white baseball player. O’Neal said, "once I got on the team, I’ve got 16 bodyguards."  He played for 2 Negro League teams, The Gulf Coast League with the Biloxi Dodgers and the South Texas League with the San Antonio Black Sox.  Later he became a scout for Major League Baseball.   His book: "Dreaming Of The Majors, Living In The Bush, A Life’s Journey through the Negro League with His Guardian Angels." Pleasant Word, 2009, is a very interesting read.  Anything signed by O’Neal is very desirable and signed baseball cards are rather scarce.

Buying AUTOGRAPHS on eBay
A continuing disaster

eBay is the place only a seasoned autograph collector should even attempt to purchase an autographed item. Collectors should never be fooled that an item that comes with a “COA” will be genuine.  Many COA’s (Certificates of Authentication) are as fake as the autograph that comes with it.  THIS ALSO GOES FOR ALL THOSE ABC TYPE COMPANIES WHO CLAIM THEY AUTHENTICATE AUTOGRAPHS. How many collectors that got fooled with the “COA” scam no longer collect?  When the collector attempts to sell the autograph at a later date, discovered the autograph was fake.  They gave up collecting.  This is just one reason that the PADAH (Professional Autograph Dealers and Auction Houses) was created.  Since the time PADAH was created, not a single complaint was filed against one of their members.
The following is just one sad reason to avoid eBay.

First week of 2003, one seller has a photo of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa, signed by Mother Teresa for a mere $69.00.  100% Positive Feedbacks.  During the same week, a different seller has the same, identical photograph for $4,999.99 and they have 100% Positive Feedbacks.  See below:

One can bet, if even noticed the $69.00 photo is a steal.  Steal might be the right word being used and that’s what happens when the collector buys the $69.00 photo.  Their money was stolen.  See the close up of the sentiment and signature of Mother Teresa.

Any member of PADAH can tell you the writing is a terrible forgery!

Barack Obama Signatures. Beware
Now and in the Future

Collecting autographs is getting more complicated as the years pass.  Technology is something collectors and dealers must become aware of.  On eBay, one seller is offering many photographs of Barack Obama, signed. The seller asking price is only a dozen dollars for each.  See just a handful of what is being offered.

Obviously, these signatures are identical and signed by machine.  It gets more complicated when they start showing up inscribed and signed.

How long will it take before some unscrupulous person starts to purchase many of these, waits a few years and starts selling them as genuine.  One can almost image an uneducated seller asking anywhere from $599.00  up to $1,200  for one of these machine signed signatures.

You can be assured not a single dealer member of “PADAH” will be offering one of these “signed” photographs in the future.

United States Running Out of Paper

By Stephen Koschal

ISAIAH DECK, Junior (1819-1862) Chemist, archaeologist, and explorer. In 1843 his father opened a chemist shop which was run by his son, Deck Junior.

Business card of Isaiah Deck, Junior

Junior closed the shop in in 1848 and went to Egypt to search for Cleopatra’s lost emerald mines. While searching untraveled paths by tourists he discovered large amounts of mummies and body parts that turned up in burial sites after storms.  Digging around and seeing what was already exposed, he estimated that there was approximately 30 pounds of linen wrappings on each mummy.  One princess had 42 yards of fine linen wrapped around her. Deck estimated there were about 500 million mummies to be found.
Deck estimated there was enough linen her to supply America for 14 years.
It was during the late 1840’s that America was having a desperate shortage of rags for papermaking.  In Britain it was not uncommon for criminals to dig up the recently deceased and sell the bodies for medical dissection. Then they would sell the clothing as rags for paper making in America. However, this would not satisfy the needs of American paper manufacturing companies. During this time the bones of animals and believed humans were being used to create charcoal for Egyptian sugar refineries.
Isaiah Deck Junior conceived an incredible plan to satisfy America’s desperate shortage of rags by shipping tons of Egyptian mummies and a vast amount of fine linen found in the ancient tombs that was to be used for embalming mummies.

In 1855 Deck published a paper On A Supply of Paper Material from the Mummy Pits of Egypt. It is believed that enough linen was now available to produce paper for many purposes including letters, broadsides. It is believed by many that even envelopes and postage stamps may contain traces of mummy paper well into the U.S. Civil War.

In the illustration below for a Bi-Centennial Celebration held in Connecticut in 1859 the Chelsea Manufacturing Company, the largest paper manufacturing in the world clearly states at the bottom that this broadside is made from material from the ancient tombs of Egypt where it had been used in embalming mummies. 

Broadside printed in Connecticut made from mummy linen

Signatures of Isaiah Deck, Junior is extremely rare. Below is his signature from a two-page
autograph letter signed, in French

Koschal Holy Bible - New Addition

The world famous "Koschal Holy Bible" has a new addition. This Holy Bible is internationally well known having been signed by many Presidents of the United States, starting with Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman. Included are many Vice-Presidents and First Ladies who have also personally signed this Bible.

Exceptions from the above are the signatures of the Dalai Lama and Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York. Dolan not only signed this Holy Bible but blessed it as well.
Dolan was on the short list for Pope. As for the Dalai Lama, he was not happy to see the Holy Bible put in front of him for his autograph and he initially turned down the request.
When he was shown who signed this Holy Bible, the Dalai Lama changed his mind saying that this is the only Holy Bible he has ever signed.
After many years of searching, I finally found a cut signature of King James the First. He ordered 47 scholars who took seven years to write the first English translation of the Holy Bible. The King James version was published in 1611.


Promoting the Hobby of Autographs

By Stephen Koschal

It is up to all serious collectors to help promote the hobby of autographs. With all the bad news of the last three decades from corrupt clubs, forgers and the damage done by uneducated authenticators and worse the high amount of non-genuine items being sold on the internet it is time to get the good word about our hobby to the international autograph community.

For three decades and more I have travelled to all eight continents promoting the hobby of autographs.

In some places like England, at a large major autograph show just about every professional dealer talked to me about how corrupt were the managers of the show. One dealer was not allowed to return and work her both the next day. One of the managers followed me around the show watching t see who was talking to me.

Astounding was the American dealers participating. Many of them would never be able to book a booth at a show being held in the United States. Non-genuine autographs appeared for ale by an American seller from Florida who had the first booth entering the sales room.

Above I mentioned 8 continents. Many are not aware that Zelandia is the eight continent with a population of over 5 million people.

My latest trip promoting our hobby was to Alaska. Cities visited were Ketchikan, kagway and Juneau. The best shops I found were in Juneau. I spent over an hour talking autographs with John DelGado of Urban Eskimo a antique and collectibles shop. John shared his collection of autographs and was quite informed on the subject.

Steve Koschal and John DelGado

Another shop I enjoyed visiting was Rainy Retreat Books. They had a nice selection of shelves of scarce and signed books

Steve Koschal at Rainy Retreat New Used and Rare Books

It’s up to all of us to continue to promote the hobby of autographs. This is a guarantee to make new friends.


Which of the more modern-day Presidents of the United States signatures is the most understood by sellers of autographs and those who claim to authenticate autographs? Hint: It is not John F. Kennedy.  Kennedy’s signature has been thoroughly covered by at least three signature studies.

It was discovered long ago by Stephen Koschal there is another president who has a very high volume of autograph letters that were signed by a secretary.  The letters can be found being offered on eBay, in auction houses and sold by names recognizable in the hobby of autographs.  In addition, many of the secretarial letters can be easily found “authenticated” by the three high profile companies that claim to authenticate autographs.   

There is no reason for mistakes being made on items selling from a few hundred dollars and up to several thousand dollars.  A major reference book has been published about these letters, 43 pages, heavily illustrated describing in detail how to differentiate the difference between a genuine signature verses a secretarial signature. The importance of an autograph seller having properly collected autograph reference library is a necessity. 

Not a single one of the authenticators have ordered a copy of the reference book. The following illustrations is just a sample of sellers not keeping reference books up to date.

The answer to the quiz: the prolific number of letters being sold signed with initials by Dwight D. Eisenhower.

To understand how to tell genuine signatures of Eisenhower verses secretarial signatures, the answers can be found on this web site by clicking on the Home Page, left side near bottom click on “Reference Books.” 

Of the several letters illustrated below, not a single one is hand signed by Eisenhower. They are all secretarial signed.

The Koschal Holy Bible, Update

Many collectors over the years have been following the updates to the Koschal Holy Bible.  This Holy Bible has been signed by many Presidents, Vice Presidents and First Ladies of the United States.  The first presidents to sign were Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman.

The 14th Dalai Lama, the highest spiritual leader, former Head of State of Tibet and 1989 Nobel Peace Prize recipient when signing this Holy Bible stated it is the only Holy Bible that he has ever signed. At first, he refused to autograph the Holy Bible but after being shown who previously sign it, he changed his mind saying, “I want my name to be included with all these famous people.”

The latest signature to be added to this Holy Bible is that of former Vice President Mike Pence. A bit more on this later.

The signature of Mike Pence is a gift to the forgers in the hobby of autographs. Those who claim to authenticate autographs are having a field day raking in the dollars on this at the peril of uneducated collectors.

Is the following wording intentional and very few have picked up on it?

Read the wording on the COA , carefully...

The COA mentions nothing about the autograph. “The item is genuine.”  Are they talking about the hat?  Now examine the autograph, would you want this in your collection?

The following ten examples of what is claimed to be signed by Mike Pence are illustrated below. Most have been authenticated by the companies who claim to authenticate autographs.  Which one would you be comfortable having in your collection?  What do you think the authenticating companies charged for these COA’s?   How many different handwriting can you find in these ten examples?

Ten examples of Mike Pence signatures is what authenticating companies
want you to believe are genuine!

The following are two baseballs said to be signed by Mike Pence. They are authenticated by the same company.  How is this possible?  Do you believe that both might not even be by the same hand?  Any similarities to each other?  What exemplars did the authenticating company use to convince anyone that these are genuinely signed by Mike Pence?

Two baseballs where the same authenticating company says are signed by Mike Pence

Carefully examine the five items below, all authenticated, as genuine, by the same outfit who claims to authenticate autographs.  The company wants you to believe these signatures are all by the hand of Mike Pence. 

After this short study, and many others that are in print, you may now understand why over 75 professional autograph dealers and  members of “PADAH” do not have to give refunds based on “guesses” from the companies who claim to authenticate autographs.

The Koschal Holy Bible has just been signed by former Vice President Mike Pence.

The following page is signed with a genuine signature of Mike Pence.  It is on the page to the left of the one signed by Donald J. Trump and Melania Trump.

Donald Trump Autographs the World Famous Koschal Holy Bible

The Koschal Holy Bible of Colorado Springs, Colorado has dedicated followers from around the world. It is not only interesting to those who collect autographs but to those who have been following the history of this Holy Bible published in 1914. The first Presidents of the United States to autograph this Holy Bible are Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman.  Since then, many presidents, vice-presidents and first ladies have signed as well.

This Holy Bible has been signed and blessed by Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, who was on the short list to be Pope.

In addition, this is (according to the Dalai Lama) the only Holy Bible that he ever signed.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the Spiritual Leader of Tibet and the patron saint of Tibet. The day he signed this Holy Bible he knew in advance he was to be signing a book. However, when he saw the gold cross on the cover, he knew it was a Holy Bible and said “…I only sign books that I have authored.”  When shown all the signatures of the Presidents of the United States that have already signed, he changed his mind and said, “I want my name with all those famous people.”

The Dali Lama not only signed the Holy Bible but added a two-word sentiment (with prayers) in his Tibetan language and the date as well.

The latest United States President to sign his name in this Holy Bible is Donald J. Trump. During the last decade if you were lucky to have Trump to sign any book he would do so writing only his last name.  He not only signed this Holy Bible with his full signature but added “God Bless You All!”

Autograph Authentication Scam,  How It Really Works

Are you one of those fairly new to the hobby, and just paid $350 to have a treasured autograph authenticated by a company who tells you how wonderful they are

In just a few more lines, what will be published are an email exchange between   Steve Cyrkin ( documented anti-semite) and disgraced long time publisher of Autograph Collector magazine and a person who for some time claims to be an autograph authenticator for musical autographs.  These emails were used in court.
 original Message----- '·j 9 l "-. > From:   review@rrau.ction.   > To: Roger E)?p.erson > Subject: RR Auction Review:      March 343 >  Hi Roger, > > Ringo SP > > - Grateful Dead SP > > - Allman Brothers SP > > > Thanks, > > Tricia
Above is a well-known New England auction house asking Roger Epperson for his opinion on 4 musical autographs.
Obviously, Epperson has not seen the original 4 high end items to review but asks the auction house……
  12:06 PM., "Roger Epperson" <rogerssd@ix.netcol!).com>wrote: > Are these all from the same source? A good source? > Roger > >
Apparently he doesn’t know if the items are real or not but asks the auction house who is the source?
[mailto:r¢]  . To_:_ Roger Epper.son . __ Subject: Re: RRAuction  Ringo8x10.jpg1  Gratefu1Dead .jpg   Hi Roger, Yes, these are all for the same good source. Thanks, Tricia
From: Roger Epperson <>
To: , ' <review@rrauction·.com>
Conversation: RRAuction Review:  Ringo8x10.jpg,
 2Gratefu1Dead11x14. .jpg for March  
Ok then

This is by no means an isolated incident!

From: Elizebeth Otto []
To: Roger Epperson
Subject: R&R Review:  Pink Fioydgtr for JAN 317
Hi Roger,
Please review and let me know your findings on this Pink Floyd signed guitar. The consignor offered the
.... obtained the rushed Gilmour signature on this guitar myself in person directly from him (no middle mah)
Thank you,
Elizebeth Otto
Consignment Manager
R&REhterprisas Monthly Autograph AUctions
(603) 732-4280 ext 118

Qate: Tuesday, November 21, 
From: Roger Epperson <> Q
To: 'Eiizebeth Otto.' <> ££ ·-.:: . Conversation: R&R Review:  PinkFioydgtr for JAN  
That is one rushed glimcur, if it's a good con signer than yes if it's just a11ybody 1 would say

Again, if the consignor is good then the item is good. If you’re not happy with the consignor then the item is not genuine.

In the end, if the item got a bid, then a COA was issued.


               For many years,   CYRKIN HAS ENDORSED THIS KIND OF AUTHENTICITY.   
 Let’s continue with one more toward your   education on authenticating autographs.

>> From: OFR <review@rrauction.corn>
 >> To; Roger EpperJ:ion <>
>> Subject:  Review: RECream for January 317
>> Hi Roger,
>> - Cream LP
>> I was just resending this since I sti11 not have received any
>> Th.:mks,
 , ""
> it looks odd, any history----
-Original Message-----
From: OFR (mat: Monday,  
To: Roger Epperson
Subject: Re: R&R Review.: REO Cream for Janua,ry 317
Hi Roger,
The Cream LP was obtained by Gary Parmett and he has also had other
(ie Rolling Stones} that you have authenticated and they were authentic.
If you need any more information just let me kpow •
 Subject: R&R Review: REO Cream for January 317
 From: Roger Epperson <>
To: 'OFR' <>
Then it's OK, I know him
Just one more reason,  COA’s from these wannabee authenticators do not have to be accepted for a refund  by the 75 professional members of PADAH.
Note; In the emails posted above, there is some editing of numbers, symbols from the computer. They were eliminated to make it easier to read the emails.

Press Release

Stephen Koschal Historical Autographs Receives 2021 Miami Award
Miami Award Program Honors the Achievement

MIAMI April 24, 2021 -- Stephen Koschal Historical Autographs has been selected for the 2021 Miami Award in the Autograph Dealers category by the Miami Award Program.
Each year, the Miami Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Miami area a great place to live, work and play.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2021 Miami Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Miami Award Program and data provided by third parties.
About Miami Award Program
The Miami Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Miami area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The Miami Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

John Wayne Gacy  (1942-May 10, 1994)
A Quick Look at his Signature
by Stephen Koschal

Collecting murderabilia has become a fast-growing industry. Those who are unfamiliar with this subject would be shocked to know who the household names are that collect these types of items.
As for autographs John Wayne Gacy is one of the top name’s collectors seek.  His signature is somewhat plentiful but because of high prices collectors must be aware that forgeries do exist in abundance.  The following study should give most a general idea of what to look for in John Wayne Gacy’s signature.
The popularity of collecting the signature of Gacy began when he was found to have killed a minimum of 33 boys. He was sentenced to death on March 13,1980 and sent to death row at Menard Correctional Center in Illinois.  At Menard, Gacy took up painting and spent much of his time studying legal books, making appeals and answering some correspondence.
Most of his letters to collectors are simply signed “John. “His paintings were signed “J.W. Gacy” on the front but later I convinced him to write a short message, signed on the back which he ended up doing so for each painting.  On the back of the paintings he would signed his name in the area of Artist as John W. Gacy.  Therefore, in his later paintings each one was signed three times.

Short notes from Gacy could be signed simply as “JW” or “John.” 

Somewhat uncommon are items signed as “John Gacy.”

Almost all of Gacy’s paintings are signed on the front bottom corner as “J.W. Gacy.”

A favorite signature among collectors is when he signs his name as “John W. Gacy.”  Take notice in the formation of his “G” in Gacy below. Both signatures are genuine.

Here are two other chances to see a John W. Gacy signature along with a few lines of his handwriting.

Believe it or not, in person, Ernie Banks (Mr. Cub) was thrilled to sign this book

It is believed that several years before John Wayne Gacy was executed, he  made approximately 250 bookmarks. He used his famous quotation from his best letterhead “Execute Justice...Not People!”  Printed was a black line above his printed “John W. Gacy” name. This space was too little for his normal signature size. It is believed he signed all 250 bookmarks at the same time. Each signature looks to be a bit rushed and cramped. In addition, going below the line or running into his printed name troubled him.

See Illutrations below

The ultimate signature of John Wayne Gacy is him signing his name in full. Illustrated below are two signatures signed during the time he was not in a rush only having to sign one or two items at a time.

Take a close look at the two signatures above. .ne thing many forgers of John Wayne Gacy’s signatures miss is the fact when Gacy signs, he most often drops the “ne” in Wayne a bit lower than the rest of his middle name.

Variant Signatures of John Wayne Gacy when rushed

During the last few days of his life, and even during the day of his execution, Gacy gave away most of his personal items to family and friends he accumulated through correspondence.
Gacy kept meticulous records. He saved most everything from the newspapers that mentioned his name as well as correspondence sent to him and letters and appeals from his attorney’s. Many were kept in a very thick file which appeared to be 5-6 inches thick. This file, in a home-made binder could be seen on television during his only interview in 1992. The five-hour interview was run on Peacock. The title of the program was “Devil in Disguise.” Gacy’s files were broken up to be given away and he attempted to autograph many of the pages he felt important. He signed the pages with his full signature. During the signing and being distracted many times, his hand got tired and his signature became rushed and started to get sloppy. He began having trouble especially with the “G” in Gacy. John Wayne Gacy stopped signing after 102 pages. The following are just how his full signature started to deteriorate.

Most important still notice how he continues to lower the “ne” in Wayne.

Forgeries of John Wayne Gacy’s Signature

The autograph market is flooded with forgeries of items advertised to be signed by John Wayne Gacy. Everything is available, from 3”x5” cards to pencil and ink sketches of celebrities and even counterfeit paintings. These items are being offered by unscrupulous sellers of autographs and even seen in legitimate auction houses. Many of the sketches are attributed to a South Florida  individual who attempts to authenticate autographs. Below are several examples of Gacy items with forged signatures, Take notice many are all signed by the same hand.

Take notice of the 3”x5” card above, slow and steady did NOT win this race

As I discussed with our readers many times, before purchasing any autograph double check the dealer is a member of the or PADAH (Professional Autograph Dealers and Auction Houses. These professionals are well versed in autographs and will be eager to steer you in the right direction and avoid you making a mistake.

Possible Postage Stamp To Be Issued Commemorating Autograph Collecting

 Stephen Koschal has submitted a request to the United States Postal Service, Citizen&apos;s  Stamp Advisory Committee a request for the issuance of a commemorative postage stamp for autograph collecting.

Response from the Committee was that they are pleased to inform me that my proposal will be submitted for review and consideration at their next meeting.  This committee will review my proposal and make a recommendation to the Postmaster General.

The Committee meets quarterly, however the entire process can take three or more years.

Let us all keep our fingers crossed for some good news for this hobby!

IMPEACHMENT - History of and Autograph Collecting

by Stephen Koschal

When most autograph collectors think of impeachment, Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and now Donald Trump usually comes to mind.
Most collectors are not aware that in our United States, there has been 20 persons impeached in 21 impeachments.
In my inventory I recently found a signature of U.S. Grant’s Secretary of War.  To my surprise I discovered he was impeached in 1876.  I decided to investigate this a bit more and see who the others are that have also been impeached.

1. William Blount.  U.S. Senator from Tennessee.  Impeached in 1797 for assisting Great Britain’s attempt to seize Spanish controlled territories in modern day Florida and Louisiana.  His charges were dismissed because he was expelled from the Senate before his trial.

Signature of William Blount

2. John Pickering. Judge, District of New Hampshire. Impeached in 1803. Charges of intoxication on the bench. Found guilty, removed from office.
3.  Samuel Chase. Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Impeached in 1804.  Charges of arbitrary and oppressive conduct of trials.  Acquitted.
4. James H. Peck. Judge, Western district of Tennessee. Impeached 1830. Charges of abuse of the contempt power. Acquitted.
5. West H. Humphreys. Judge, Western district of Tennessee. Impeached 1862. Refusing to hold court, waging war against the U.S. Government, Guilty, removed from office and disqualified from future office.
6. Andrew Johnson. President of the United States. Impeached 1868. Charges of violating the Tenure of Office Act by removing Secretary of war, Edwin Stanton from office.
7. Mark H. Delahay. Judge in Kansas.  Impeached 1873. Charges of intoxication on the bench.  Resigned prior to trial. 8. William W. Belknap. U.S. Secretary of War. Impeached 1876. Charges for accepting payments in exchange for making official appointments. Acquitted.   Beltnap was a soldier in the Union Army. While Secretary of War, he was investigated by Congress and found he was directly involved in the sale of arms and munitions to France. This Trader Post Scandal at FT. Sill led to Beltnap’s resignation and impeachment by the Democratic controlled house.

Signature of William W. Beltnap

9. Charles Swayne. Judge, northern district of Florida. Impeached 1904. Charges of abuse of contempt power and other misuses of office. Acquitted.
10. Robert W. Archbald. Associate judge, U.S. Commerce Court. Impeached 1912. Charges of improper business relationship with litigants. Guilty, removed from office and disqualified from future office.
11. George W. English.  Judge, Eastern District of Illinois. Impeached 1926. Charges of abuse of power. Resigned, proceedings dismissed.
12. Harold Louderback. Judge, Northern district of California. Impeached 1933. Charges of favoritism in the appointment of bankruptcy receivers. Acquitted.
13. Halsted L. Ritter. Judge, Southern district of Florida. Impeached 1936. Charges of favoritism in the appointment of bankruptcy receivers and practicing law as a sitting judge. Guilty, removed from office.
14. Harry E. Claiborne. Judge in Nevada. Impeached 1986. Charges of income tax evasion and remaining on the bench following criminal conviction. Guilty, removed from office.
15. Alcee L. Hastings. Judge, Southern district of Florida, Impeached 1988. Charges of perjury and conspiring to solicit a bribe. Guilty, removed from office.
16. Walter L. Nixon. Judge Southern district of Mississippi. Impeached 1989. Charges of perjury before a federal grand jury. Guilty, removed from office.
17. William J. Clinton. President of the United States. Impeached 1998. Charges of lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstruction of justice. Acquitted.
18. Samuel B. Kent. Judge, Southern district of Texas. Impeached 2009. Charges of sexual assault, obstructing and impeding an official proceeding, and making false statements. Resigned before completion of trial.
19. G. Thomas Porteous, Jr. Judge, Southern district of Louisiana. Impeached 2010. Charges of accepting bribes and making false statements.  Guilty, removed from office and disqualified from holding future office. 
20. Donald J. Trump. President of the United States. Impeached in 2019. Charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Acquitted.
21. Donald J. Trump. President of the United States. Impeached January 13, 2021. Charge of incitement of insurrection.  Result to be announced.

OBSERVATIONS: All those found guilty were removed from office.
Of the 20 individuals impeached, 15 were judges.
Three Presidents of the United States were impeached. All three were acquitted.
Of all the impeachments, charges were dismissed on four because they were no longer in office.
Of the 20 persons impeached, eight were acquitted.
I am not aware of any collector who has tried or is trying to obtain signatures of the 20 men impeached.  It would be a most interesting collection

Stephen Koschal is one who has been picked as a winner of a 2020 Award from the, the International Autograph Club.  This club is the most active autograph club which was established in 1986.  This Award was for writing many interesting articles for the club's quarterly magazines during 2020.
Articles were:
Bess Truman, Autograph Controversy
Margaret Mitchell 1900-1948
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
Joe Biden
Bette Davis clears up age old controversy
Autographs and Aliens

Stephen Koschal, The Most Trusted Autograph Authenticator

When it comes to choosing a real person to authenticate your collectible autograph who do you think the others who claim to authenticate call on when they have doubts? More on this later.
What makes Stephen Koschal’s autograph authentication different than the others:
His “5 Star” service is second to none. Trusted, Honesty and Accuracy.  Koschal is best known for getting it right the first time.
Koschal has built and maintains the largest autograph reference library in the hobby. A representative from PSA/DNA once offered to purchase it.
Items received for authentication usually are returned in 24 hours.
Most important Koschal does not get involved in the scam of pricing for authentication.
Many quasi authenticators try to get away with pricing depending upon the value of the item to be authenticated.  Guess who determines the value.  Value of an item has nothing to do with authenticating. Actually, some signatures valued at $25,000 are easier and take less time to authenticate than a $250 item.  Stephen Koschal autograph authentication charges $50 for a Certificate of Examination, no matter what the value.
TRUSTED:  a recent well known serious collector trusted Stephen Koschal to authenticate an original painting executed and signed by Claude Monet.  Value approximately $500,000.

Steve Koschal outside his office door with an original Claude Monet painting

HONESTY: never has there been a case when a customer was told their item never arrived. This is somewhat common with other authenticators.

ACCURACY: Koschal is best known internationally for getting the authentication right the first time.  Koschal’s Certificates are accepted by all legitimate autograph collectors, dealers and auction houses.

The following are emails to Stephen Koschal from the other authenticators/companies -
".Steve, thanks so much for your opinion....there are few people in this industry I have trust in their judgment like you" .....................................................................Jimmy Spence

"...Jimmy (James Spence) and I needed a second opinion on this Nixon piece, and we would like your thoughts..." ..............................................Steve Grad, California, Authenticator PSA/DNA

"...your work may have helped change the certs which now clearly say that only one or more have looked at the item. Thus, in some regard you have been part of the solution... hope your voice changes other policy... in fact when people ask me about you and your expertise I always give you glowing reports in fact I say that you are among the few left who really knows what he&apos;s doing..." ..............John Reznikoff, Connecticut, PSA and JSA Authenticator

"...I love you and admire your energy... I have always looked at you as an honest man and true friend .....................................................................................Roger Epperson, Texas, JSA Authenticator

"...Bob (Eaton) asked if I could ask you for a favor... would it be possible for you to type up a general endorsement of our company on your letterhead... as far as we are concerned, you are one of, if not the most respected autograph authorities we know, and it we think it would be quite impressive to have a good word from you about us...".............................Ron Lavallee, New Hampshire, RR Auction - PSA/DNA Authentication

" a matter of public record, Collectors Universe paid over $300,000 in the twelve months ended June 30, 2004 for errors....we continually seek the advice and council of competent individuals outside our organization in the collectibles market-dealers, auctioneers, collectors-such as you..." ......Michael Haynes, California, Chief Executive Officer, PSA/DNA

"I, Michael Frost President and lead authenticator of P.A.A.S. Professional Autograph Authentication Services have known Stephen Koschal for over 20 years. I am proud to have worked with Stephen Koschal for many of those years on autograph studies and autograph authentication. I would consider him as the top autograph expert in the world today. Stephen Koschal&apos;s library of autograph exemplars is second to none and I have had the pleasure of using and viewing his autograph exemplar library. Stephen Koschal has written many books and 100&apos;s of articles on autograph collecting and autograph reviews and authentication. Stephen Koschal is one of my teachers and mentors when it comes to autograph studies and authentication. I have spent 100&apos;s of hours working with Stephen Koschal as well as reviewing his authentication work. I have always found him to be very professional and one of the most honest people I ever met within the autograph industry. In all the years I have known Stephen Koschal and worked with him I cannot recall a single item ever being returned or questioned on the basis of authentication."..........................................................................................................Mike Frost, Florida

"...on behalf of the FBI, I thank you for your assistance in the investigation and prosecution of forger Steve Lyons, one of the convicted subjects in the FBI&apos;s Operation Bullpen case. The hours you spent working with Special Agent Timothy Fitzsimmons and assistant United States Attorney Melanie Pierson were very helpful in the government&apos;s case. Your knowledge and professionalism resulted in Judge Jeffrey T. Miller accepting your trial testimony, after qualifying you as an expert witness in this matter, You should know that in the recent sentencing of Steve Lyons, Judge Miller singled out your expert testimony as very illuminating... Judge Miller ultimately sentenced Lyons to 36 months in federal prison. I also want to thank you for your continuing assistance to law enforcement in combating memorabilia fraud... I encourage you to continue in this worthwhile endeaver.....Kenneth W. Boschen, California, Supervisory Special Agent, FBI

CHALLENGE:  With all the other authenticating companies, just try to find out who authenticated your item.  Impossible!   Companies with initials as names like ABC Authentication do not authenticate autographs, people do!  So common as you obtained your autograph in person and ABC or DEF Authentication failed your item.  Good luck trying to get someone on the phone unless you are an exceptionally large submitter of autographs for authentication.  Then it is fairly easy to get them to reverse their guess.  They never want to lose a good customer.

You are invited to try Stephen Koschal’s Autograph Authentication.
Get him directly on the phone at 561-315-3622 or email him at Log onto for additional information

TUNG Chee-hwa First Chief Executive of Hong Kong upon transfer of sovereignty

by Stephen Koschal

The last time I spent with Mr. Tung, we had lunch at the top of the World Trade Center in New York City. It was at the "Windows on the World" 107th floor of Tower Number 1, New York's most famous restaurant. During lunch we looked out the window and saw a plane flying several stories below us. It was the first time in my life I looked down at a plane in the air.

Mr. Tung Chee-hwa is best known for being the First Chief Executive of Hong Kong. He took this position upon the transfer of sovereignty on July 1, 1997. He held this position until March 12, 2005. In the field of world leader autographs he is well known for not signing autographs as he is a very private man. Recently I was invited to visit him in Hong Kong and will do so as soon as we rid of this covid-19 virus.
Dear Mr Koschal

"......Mr Tung asked me to thank you for writing. If you have opportunity to visit Hong Kong, please let us know. He will be happy to find time to meet with old friends......"

With kind regards Vivien Tam Senior Personal Assistant to C H Tung
Office of Former Chief Executives of HKSAR
28 Kennedy Road
Hong Kong

Joe Biden - An Early Guide on His Signature

Joe Robinette Biden, Jr. (1942- )  American politician. A Democrat who served as the 47th Vice-President of the United Stated from 2009 to 2017.

Biden’s autograph is by no means scarce, yet one must be careful of the scammers out there and also of forgeries.
A very desirable but uncommon signed item is his book “Joe Biden Promises To Keep.”

Published during 2007, signed First Edition are quite collectible.

The following four-page pamphlet is a biography of Joe Biden as a United States Senator from Delaware. Study this early signature.

Through the years, Joe Biden’s signature has been consistent. The following signature was signed during the latter part of his years as Vice-President.

The following letter signed in 1973 has extraordinary content.

For an example of Joe Biden’s handwriting the following is an Autograph letter signed and dated July 31, 2017. It is to Patricia Claren an autograph associate of Stephen Koschal. The content is excellent!

Collectors and dealers must be incredibly careful of the scammers in this hobby. The following is a signature being offered on eBay for $65.00.

What this individual has done was taken an envelope and admitting it was to him, so he had to do the unconscionable. He cut the printed free franking signature from the envelope and is selling it as genuine. Next, see another copy of a Joe Biden free frank, matching exactly as the above.

Joe Biden’s signature is easily forged, and they can be found everywhere including non-members of PADAH and especially on eBay.

If your reference library contains a copy of “Donald J. Trump, A Signature Study and Autopen Guide” by Stephen Koschal and Patricia Claren, on pages 82 and 83 you will read about a new technology of photographs. Anyone can order a photograph with a personalized inscription signed by Donald J. Trump.

One was ordered with a personalize inscription to Charles Manson with a sentiment “Keep America Great!” Signed by Donald J. Trump.

The same company is repeating the sale of these type inscribed and signed photograph by Joe Biden. The signature will always be the same on these type photographs. Use the following signature as an exemplar

As always, study every signature you are adding to your collection or inventory. Be cautious when choosing a dealer and strongly suggest your choice comes from the list of “PADAH” members that can be found updated monthly on

Important Content Letter

DAVIS, Bette (1908-1989).  American actress of the film and TV.  Multi Oscar winner.  Uncommon T.L.S. on her name imprinted letterhead, April 11th 1939. To: “Dear Vernon Hansen: Davis writes in part: “…I do want to point out to you that your statement regarding receiving a picture of me from the Studio with a printed signature, is quite incorrect! I have never sent out photographs with a ‘printed signature’ – all my pictures are sent out with my personal signature, and do not come from my STUDIO. They have never attended to my fan mail! Cordially Bette Davis.”  Apparently, this letter was also typed by Bette Davis as she has made five corrections by her hand. In fine condition. $175.00

Bess Truman, Autograph Controversy

by Stephen Koschal

Elizabeth Virginia “Bess” Truman
(1885-1982). Bess was the wife of  Harry S. Truman. She was First Lady of the United States (1945-1953 and Second Lady in 1945 for three months. For several decades there has been a controversy over the signatures of Bess Truman.  Through the years, I have had several discussions with prominent dealers in autographs over questioning the authenticity of some signatures of Bess Truman.

Some dealers believed that she had a secretary sign her name, while others without knowing for sure, being that she was a simple person and supposedly like her husband would not have someone sign her name.

In fact Harry Truman did have a secretary for awhile.  The person who was a secretary for Harry Truman (Harry H. Vaughan) has said he could sign Truman’s name as well as Truman did.

The following 3 signatures of  Bess W. Truman are what most collectors are used to seeing. The “W.” is separated from the first and last name. Also the capital “T” in Truman appears to look like a number “9”.

The next four signatures are genuine.  Bess now attaches the last “s” in Bess to the capital “W” which is  her middle initial.  Notice the “T” in Truman still appears to look like a number “9”.

Four signatures of Bess Truman, Bess attached to her middle initial

The following four signatures of Bess Truman have been controversial through the years. Some have the “s” attached to the “W” and others don’t.  The major difference in these signatures is the “T” in Truman. They appear to look more like a capital “J.”  In two cases somewhat unusual is the signature ends abruptly downward.

Four signature of Bess Truman, Capital “T” appears to look like a capital “J”

After years of research both in my office and at the Harry Truman Library, it is my belief that the above four signatures of  Bess Truman are genuine

Stephen Koschal’s ID card for the Truman Library.

As Bess Truman  aged, her signature became a bit smaller. The scarce hand addressed envelope with her hand signed free franking signature was written post First Lady.

Genuine hand addressed envelope with free franking signature

In the last years of her life she responded to collectors with a request for autograph card.

Old age signature of Bess Truman

Collectors must always beware of pre-printed free franking signatures of Bess Truman. See two examples below.

Preprinted free franking signatures of Bess Truman

What I find interesting are examples where both Harry and Bess signed for each other.
Below is a rare example of Bess Truman signing her husband’s name on a bank check

Bess signs Harry Truman’s name on a bank check

Also remarkable is where Harry Truman signs Bess Truman’s name on  The White House card.

Harry Truman signs Bess Truman’s name

Those who collect signatures of the Truman’s usually include a signature of their daughter Margaret Truman. Beware of forgeries certified as genuine by some autograph authenticators.
Below are two examples of genuine signatures of Margaret Truman.

Genuine signatures of Margaret Truman

Forgery of Margaret Truman certified genuine

As always, when purchasing any autograph, it is wise to rely on the professional autograph dealer members of the


January 2020

Preferred Autograph Dealers & Auction Houses

PADAH is now one year old. It’s success has thus far been overwhelming. Not surprisingly, there has not been a single complaint from anyone in the International Autograph Community against any dealer in the PADAH family.

In addition, emails and phone calls come in on a regular basis regarding is it safe to purchase an autograph from a specific seller who is NOT on the membership list? In all fairness to our professional members, even if there is a good feeling amongst a non member we cannot and have not recommended anyone who is not a member.  As far as PADAH is concerned, dealing with any non member leaves the collector on their own and PADAH cannot help them in any circumstances to retrieve a refund from buying a non genuine signature or for a dozen other reasons a buyer could be unhappy with a purchase or with another transaction.

These are just some of the parts of emails we have received:

Collectors are not to worry. The UACC (if still in operation) does not remove names from their membership list. If a dealer’s name is listed on the PADAH membership list, you can be assured they are not members of the UACC.

Just this morning we found a note on the site of a seller of autographs:
A little bit about who you are buying from...
Every autograph we offer comes with a COA and provides you with a
Why you should buy from us? peace of mind that you are dealing with a reputable ebay dealer (on ebay since 1998). Our guarantee meets the of UACC and other autograph dealer association requirements but we left the UACC due to their lack of customer support and many complaints concerning their operation.

January 2002 * Proud Members of the PADAH Family

In the international world of collecting autographs, PADAH is unique. Its goal is to ensure collectors of autographs and signed books have a place to go to acquire genuine autographs. The members of PADAH are the true professionals in the business. It would be a very rare experience that any collector would have an unpleasant situation dealing with one of its members. PADAH is free of corruption and politics! There is no money involved in PADAH, no collection of membership dues and no hiding of yearly accounting reports. PADAH is operated by a handful of volunteers. Membership is FREE.
Should a collector have an unpleasant encounter with a seller outside of the PADAH family, we cannot help you get a refund. However, we may be able to give you guidance through our COA Reference Library where records are maintained of those who sell forgeries on a regular basis and listings of the many sellers who have been removed from other autograph organizations.
Most importantly, many collectors and most dealers are aware of the thousands of serious mistakes made by those companies who claim they can authenticate autographs. Should any collector purchase an autographed item from a member of PADAH and is ignorant enough to waste money on having the item authenticated by the ABC type authenticating companies, PADAH professionals are NOT required to issue a refund. A guess or an opinion from one of those companies is basically useless. In almost all cases the collector will not know who examined their autograph and will be unable to find out who did so when contacting the company. In most cases it really doesn’t matter. The bill of sale from a PADAH member is a collectors only legal document!
When purchasing an autograph look at the updated monthly list of PADAH members or just look for the PADAH logo on their web site.

The following list, very carefully put together, is of those autograph dealers and auction houses that pass muster in the COA Reference Library. The list consists of those who have clean records with regard to their associations in the industry, lack of ethics complaints, not associated with issuing “useless COA’s” and have had a sterling reputation over several years or more. These are autograph professionals who research their items and will honor their guarantee of authenticity.

The following professional autograph dealers do their diligence authenticating the autographs they sell.

 There are dealers who may have been inadvertently left off the list. May we hear from you for possible submission?

Abraham Lincoln Bookshop – Dan Weinberg, Chicago, IL
Adam Andrusier - UK
Alexander Historical Auctions - MD
Andreas Wiemer Historical Autographs - Germany
Antiquar & Auktionator - Holland
Archives Historical Autographs – VA Germany, originally Space Flori
Bauman Rare Books - PA
Brian & Maria Green, NC
Bruce Gimelson, N.Y.
Burkhard Schubert – Germany
Charles “Chuck” Bird - CA
Cowan’s Auctions - OH
Custodians of History - MA
Deco Memorabilia - CA
Diana J. Rendell, Inc. - MA
Erasmushaus Ltd. – Switzerland
Gerard A.J. Stodolski, Inc. - NH
Greg Nazareth - FL
Greg Tucker Autographs - NV
Harlan J. Berk, Ltd. – IL
Historama – Jerusalem, Israel
Historic Autographs - FL
History Makers Autographs- Steve Nowlin, Nokomis, FL
Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles - CA
Jack Bacon & Co. - NV
J.A. Stargard - Germany
JG Autographs - MA
Jim Stinson Sports - UT
John K. King Books - MI
JR’s Autogramme - Germany
Julian Browning - UK
Kenneth W, Rendell, Inc. - MA
Kotte Autographs - Germany
LeLands Auctions - NY
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers - IL
Librairie Signatures - France
Lim Antigua – Italy
Markus Brandes Autographs - Switzerland
Neale Lanigan - AL
One of a Kind Auctions - FL
Pat Claren - CO
Profiles in History – CA
Renato Saggiori – Switzerland
Rick Badwey, Museum Framing, Alexandria, VA
R.J.M. Autographs & Antiques - MA
Rolf Ramseier Autographs - Switzerland
Ron Gordon - NM
Ron Keurajian – MI
Ron Meininger - Antebellum Covers, MD.
Schubertide Music & Arts - MA
Scripta Historica - Germany
Scripta Scientism - Germany
Schulson Autographs - NY
Seaport Autographs - CT
Second Story Books - DC
Seth Kaller, Inc. – NY
Skip Hensel - LA
Sophie Duprie Autographs - UK
Star Shots - FL
Stephen Koschal - CO
Tamino Autographs, N.Y.
The Raab Collection - PA
The Written Word - NH
Thomas A. Goldwasser Rare Books - CA
Todd Mueller Autograph Auctions – CO
Tom Lingenfelter - Heritage Collector’s Society, PA.
Treasures in Writing – FL
Vintagememorabilia - WA
Walls of Fame – FL

We are working on this list to add more information to each member.

Herman Darvick - Marc Chagall - Beware Signed Prints

Herman Darvick, where autographs are born!

by Stephen Koschal

“Through the years, I have examined well over 100 items with a signature of Marc Chagall either sold or authenticated by Herman Darvick. I have yet to find one that I would consider having a genuine signature of Marc Chagall.” Stephen Koschal, Master Autograph Authenticator
Cole, William

Bookshop: William Cole ,Publisher: New York, 2007 Cole states:

“selection of reproductions, and doesn't let you know which is which (although their distinction between "hand-signed" and "hand-signed with a guaranteed signature" is interesting). And of course, any work of art with a certificate of authenticity from Herman Darvick or Daniel Hersh is pretty much guaranteed to be fake.”


The International Autograph Community is well aware of two major autograph forgers of the 20th century. One is Herman Darvick,admittedforger of autographs and ex-President of the Universal Autograph Collectors Club. He was expelled from the club for major ethics violations. The other is Mark W. Hofmann, autograph forger who was charged with two bombing murders. A separate story on Hofmann will be published later.

Since the day Darvick finally admitted he forged autograph, some of the items he has sold or authenticated have come under scrutiny. Major high end questionable items he has sold, such as the extremely rare signatures of Joe Jackson have been settled elsewhere in the watch dog web

One of the most prolific items found to be handled by Darvick through a few decades are prints mostly ripped out of books signed by Marc Chagall and Salvador Dali. This story will deal with Marc Chagall. As with any autograph one will find variances. What originally caught our attention was the high volume of prints that were being offered in the New York, Connecticut area signed by a handful of well known major artists. These prints were being sold at very low prices. Prices were so low that many collectors were buying them in multiples. One dealer in the same area was offering Marc Chagall signed prints in lots of one hundred. Red flags went up and shortly thereafter as many of these signed prints were being authenticated by Herman Darvick. Decades later and up to today, you will find these Chagall prints being offered on eBay.

It is my opinion, the signatures on these prints are signed by the same person. However, they are not by the hand of the artist Marc Chagall.

The following is a quote from Charles Hamilton’s fine book Collecting Autographs and Manuscripts. “Forgeries of Dali, Chagall and Miro on inexpensive, colored reproduction of their work are so plentiful that one may view them daily in the windows of Madison Avenue art galleries.” I took a walk with Hamilton and showed him these forgeries as well as ones being sold in Times Square. Days before, I took the same walk with my friend Salvador Dali. He was furious that some of his forged signatures were not even on his works but on similar looking items. Some of the prints he though may have been by students imitating his works. Hamilton continues: “Tens of thousands of Chagall fakes are on the market, often sold by the dozens at auction. The wise collector will abstain from buying Dali or Chagall prints without first consulting an expert.”

Hamilton lists two genuine signatures of Marc Chagall in one of his books. Another genuine signature in a different one of his books. I agree with him that the three illustrations are genuine. See signatures below:

Genuine Signatures of Marc Chagall

For research purposes, I have included 5 more Marc Chagall signatures that I believe are genuine.

Hamilton continues with just some of the reasons of how to detect a fake from a genuine signature of Marc Chagall. I have added a few comments.

1) In genuine signatures of Marc Chagall, the second peak of the capital M is often lower than the first.
2) In most of the second a in Chagall, the end of the a usually has a vertical stroke that sticks up above the rest of the letter.
3) In almost all cases the second l in Chagall is lower than the one before it.
4) In most cases on prints Chagall chooses to sign his name on one line. The exception usually is in signed books.

Illustrated below are pages from two books signed by Marc Chagall. In books it appears Chagall prefers to sign his signature on two lines. Notice how these genuine signatures still fit the pattern of genuine signatures of Chagall illustrated above.

The following illustration is what Charles Hamilton states is a forgery of Marc Chagall’s signature. I totally agree with him.

Notice on the forgery above, the second peak of the capital M is above the first peak. The second l in Chagall is above the first. There are other differences in a genuine verses a forged signature of Chagall but this alone is enough to follow forged signatures that Herman Darvick is flooding the hobby.

The following illustrations are just a few of those Chagall prints authenticated by Herman Darvick

The seller forgot to mention the fact that Herman Davick was expelled from the Universal Autograph Collectors Club for very serious ethics violations.

Interesting in the above illustration the seller admits his item comes with a COA from Herman Darvick but steers clear of his decision by stating; “The COA is the professional opinion of the issuer only.” Seems like the seller knows there is a problem with this item but is still asking $850.00 for it.


In the above apocryphal signature authenticated as genuine by Darvick, the forger at least signed the signature on one line. An exception most likely because of the lack of room. The tops of both lines of the M are equal. The first a in Chagall looks like the forger may have sneezed while signing. The second a has no high peak at the top end andthesecond l in Chagall is higher thanthe first l. Poor job Mr. Forger.

Back to the usual signature of Chagall on two lines which is the most common form of the Darvick authentications. The top of the second line of the M is slightly higher than the first line of the M. The second a in Chagall has no extension at the end of the a and the second l is much higher than the first l. A MAJOR pattern is beginning to form with regard to genuine signatures of Marc Chagall verses all those sold and or authenticated by Herman Darvick.

The following is just one more sad example of a forgery of Marc Chagall’s signature authenticated by Herman Darvick

As usual all the forgeries of Marc Chagall’s signature illustrated thus far, in my opinion, are signed by the same hand and all authenticated by Darvick. Above, by now you have determined the second line of the capital M ishigher that the top of the first line of the M. The second a in Chagall does not have the lift at the top end of the a. The second l in Chagall takes off and is much above the first l.


Without looking above, take a look at the illustration below. From what you have absorbed from this story can you tell if the signature of Marc Chagall is genuine or a Herman Darvick style.CORRECT ANSWER BELOW*

One thing is for sure, Herman Darvick is incapable of authenticating signatures of Marc Chagall. If the signatures illustrated in this article are not by the hand of Marc Chagall, then who signed them? These were all handled by Herman Darvick! There are possibly hundreds or more of similar signed prints that have been sold and authenticated by Herman Darvick.

Darvick needs to answer the following questions:

1) Did the illustrations come to you one at a time through the years or at times did they come to you in bulk?

2) Did most of the prints come to you from a single source?

3) If they came to you from different sources how can you explain the signatures of Marc Chagall are all by the same hand? All with the same mistakes? All on prints ripped from books?

4) You claim you are an autograph authenticator, with the knowledge of Chagall’s autograph in print in different publications that are easily accessible, what made you believe all the signatures you have authenticated of Chagall, are in your opinion, genuine?

*The correct answer is that the Marc Chagall signature is a Herman Darvick style

Mother Teresa - Study of Her Signature - Be Educated

by Stephen Koschal

Collecting autographs of Mother Teresa is very popular. Yet many collectors and even sellers of autographs are not familiar with her genuine signature.  The following is just a short version of my article on Mother Teresa’s signature which was published in the fine autograph magazine Autographen-sammler  August 2016 issue.

Mother Teresa was the recipient of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. Most items in the collections of autograph collectors are found dated after 1979. Anything genuinely signed by her before that date can be considered scarce.

For years Mother Teresa was one of ten women around the world that Americansmost admired.
Collectors and even sellers of autographs must be extremely cautious when purchasing something described to be signed by Mother Teresa.  Her mail was voluminous and depending on her day a rubber stamp signature of hers was used to answer letters.  See illustration below.

Rubber Stamp Signature of Mother Teresa

Study carefully the following four illustrations of genuine signatures of Mother Teresa

As a start, pay attention to the capitol “M” in Mother and the second “e” in Teresa. There are other things you may notice but let’s start here to keep it simple. Take notice that in a genuine signature of Mother Teresa, the “M” starts at the bottom, way to the left. There are variations in the “M” depending on her feelings and stress of the day, but still all similar.  The second “e” in Teresa is mostly a match as to the first “e” in Teresa.

After much research I discovered Mother Teresa had a secretary sign her name. The secretary did try to imitate a genuine signature and writing of Mother Teresa. She obviously was somewhat successful as the secreatry fooled a few sellers of autographs. I discovered a receipt for $15.00 from 1980 where the Treasurer of Missionaries of Charity signed her name. See illustration below.

Receipt Signed by the Treasurer Dated January 4, 1980

This receipt came with the T.L.S dated January 8, 1980. See illustrated below.

T.L.S. dated January 8, 1980

Take notice both the receipt and T.L.S. are made out to Mr. B.I. Koziej.

In addition as early as 1965 another Mother Teresa T.L.S surfaces. The signature on the 1965 and 1980 T.L.S.’s are signed by the same person, but not Mother Teresa. T.L.S. dated 1965 with secretarial signature illustrated below.

You did your own research on the four genuine Mother Teresa letters illustrated at the beginning of this study. I hope you noticed as I did that in the Capitol “M” of Mother starts to the left on the bottom line.

In the 1965 and 1980 letters the “M” starts at the top, just exactly like the secretarial “M" in the receipt. Back to the “e” in Teresa. In genuine examples both “e’s” are written basically the same way. In the secretary’s signature of Mother Teresa the second “e” is quite different that the first “e”. If you look closely you will also see other differences between a genuine Mother Teresa signature and that of the secretary.

Moving along take notice of the difference in the “G” in God in both the genuine and secretarial signatures. Go further and notice the differences in the second “s” in bless and the “y” in you.

After this discovery, we notified the seller of the 1980 letter that it was signed by a secretary. Their answer is just another illustration of a useless C.O.A. and being impressed with themselves. Their reply: “Thank you for contacting us, this specific document has been authenticated multiple times (once most likely by Herman Darvick who worked for them). Please note that _____ ____ _____ is a leader in the autograph & manuscript field with an inventory that exceeds 236,000 documents. We have been in business since 1981, are a long-standing UACC Registered Dealer #_____ and a member of the Manuscript Society. In addition our Certificate of Authenticity, “COA”, is recognized by every major insurance company........” Best regards ____ _____.

So much for useless COA's and so much for being a braggadocio about your credentials, especially when proven wrong.

The successor of Mother Teresa is M. Nirmala and she seems to be autograph friendly.

Patricia Nixon - Common Autopen example sold as Genuine
The following three signatures of Patricia Nixon are Autopen examples.  They are found on three different "The White House" cards.  One is being offered on eBay for $149.99 + $6 shipping. It comes complete with a COA.
The top card bears a genuine signature of Richard Nixon.

Go to to check out our featured story!

Matters of Signature Authentication

by Craig Stark

28 May 2019

A Review of Stephen Koschal's Certificates of Authenticity for Sale

Printer Friendly Version

The topic of signature authentication comes up perennially, and two questions in particular repeat themselves:

1. How do I know if my signature is genuine?

2. Do I need a Certificate of Authenticity?

Though we have covered this ground more than once at BookThink, I think it's a good idea to answer these questions again, at least briefly, in order to provide a context for reviewing autograph dealer Stephen Koschal's recent book, Certificates of Authenticity for Sale, Exposing the Incompetence in Autography Authentication, the Importance of Choosing the Right Autograph Dealer.

The answer to the first question is, ultimately, you never really know if what you have is authentic. Too many plausible things over the years have been exposed to be forgeries, and some of these are frighteningly competent - some so competent that their perpetrators have become collectible in their own right. And, what's worse, many forgeries likely persist in the marketplace, either undetected, or forgotten to be forgeries and recycled or re-fed through the system with spanking new COA that contradicts what had been established earlier. But the question needs to be asked anyway if for no other reason than a dealer can provide at least some assurance of authenticity, hopefully enough to persuade a collector to pull the trigger. It isn't the purpose of this article to explain how to go about this, but obviously comparing "known" exemplars to the signature in question and investigating provenance, if ny exists, should be high on any dealer's to-do list, that is, the dealer should be satisfied first before offering anything asserted to be genuine.

The answer to the second question isn't a slam dunk either. There are collectors who insist on getting a COA with anything and everything they buy. The trouble with this is that many dealers who issue them aren't themselves especially qualified to evaluate handwriting, and mistakes are made. Sometimes even so-called experts make mistakes - or, more cynically, commit fraud. Pawn Stars own Steve Grad, the dude with the tablet and magnifier who has authenticated who knows how many items on the show, has at best a questionable past, doubly troubling because he is PSA's principle authenticator, and everybody trusts PSA, right? Right? If you have a few minutes to blow, take a look here.

The takeaway lesson is not to put blind faith in anybody - and this is the basic lesson in Stephen Koschal's book. What I like about Steve's books are their specific focus, and in this one he zeroes in on Angelina Joli, offering numerous examples of signed eBay items presented as authentic when they are obviously not, including forgeries, secretarial's, autopen signatures and more, many of them with "comforting" COA's from so-called legitimate authenticating services. You may ask, is eBay a reliable venue for purchasing autographed items? The short answer is no, of course not, which isn't to say that genuine things can't be had if one follows a common-sense protocol. More about this some other time.

Meanwhile, know that there is so, so much questionable material circulating in the general marketplace that it could - and often does - paralyze buyers from purchasing anything. What are we to do? Steve's answer to this is to maintain a list, updated monthly, of "Preferred Autograph Dealers." Or PADAH. His criteria for inclusion: "Each and every dealer on this list has been hand selected, is totally professional, has many years of experience and will treat you the way you want to be treated." As of February, 2019, there are 58 dealers on the list, which, by the way, appears toward the end of his book and may also be accessed here.

Along with this list and the numerous eBay examples is much food for thought here that can help protect you in transactions involving collectible autographs. Unfortunately, we now live in an environment that assaults us from every direction with highly questionable and/or manipulative crap, fraudulent activity and outright scams. If you're not continuously vigilant, it's only a matter of time before you'll get dinged. My favorite is an Empire Today TV commercial offering free flooring for additional rooms for only $50 each. Well, read the fine print at the bottom of the screen and you'll see this: "This offer does not include materials or installation." Anyway, Steve maintains an exceptionally informative resource here., and go here for a list of his additional publications.

If you are not a member of the most active autograph club in the world, you should be.

The is based in Germany, this club is a first class operation.  It holds a yearly meeting each year in a historic city with an occasional meeting in Switzerland.

The meeting last sometimes two days with visits to a historical building. All meetings have dealers set up with items for sale. The last few meetings had celebrity guests which were very happy to sign autographs free of charge.  Celebrities such as world leaders, cosmonauts and even a  Nobel Prize recipient  have recently been guests.

The club magazine is full page size, published quarterly and runs between 76 to 92 pages. Each magazine runs free want and for sale ads.

I have been writing stories for each magazine for over 5 years. Over the last two years these are some of the stories I have written.

Tony Galento-Heavyweight Champion who also ran for President of the United States.
Herman Goering-Newly discovered printed signatures.
Evangelist Billy Graham.
Donald trump-An American Phenomenon.
Bill Clinton-Beware of signed books.
Autograph Brain Teaser- Part One
Autograph Brain Teaser-Part  Two.
Chester Nez-The man who broke “The Curse of the Bambino.”
Alfred Aloysius-Trader Horn.
“Dear Friend”-Isn’t So Friendly.
Mother Teresa- A Saint, Her signatures.
Charles Schulz-Beware of printed sketches.
Collecting Historical Autographs.
Horatio Nelson-His variant signatures.
Eva Braun- Hitler’s mistress and wife.

In an upcoming issue will be an article: The Assassination of Jesse James.  It will contain illustrations of Robert and Charles Ford.  Members of the James Gang. Robert Ford shot and killed Jesse James. Possibly the only known signatures.

For more information about the please go to their web site.
If the page comes up in German click on the box upper right corner for translation.  Hope to see some of you at one of the meetings.
Steve Koschal

The “Preferred Autograph Dealers” is a group of international professional autograph dealers.

The list of members is quite impressive.  Known as “PADAH” it is a division of the Certificate of Authentication Library. The library contains a massive collection of peddlers of autographs who issue worthless COA’s.

It is recommended to only support members of “PADAH.”

Members of “PADAH” do not have to issue a refund based on the incompetent guesses of  high profile companies who claim they can authenticate autographs.

Should collectors choose to deal with those outside this list, which is updated regularly, “PADAH” will not be able to help you should you have a problem with what could be a rogue seller of autographs.

Professional dealers who may not be listed as members of “PADAH” please email:

 of Preferred Autograph Dealers and Auction Houses


February 2019
The following list, very carefully put together, is of those autograph dealers and auction houses that pass muster in the COA Reference Library.  The list consists of those who have clean records with regard to their associations in the industry, lack of ethics complaints, not associated with issuing “useless COA’s” and have had a sterling reputation over several years or more.  These are autograph professionals who research their items and will honor their guarantee of authenticity.

Abraham Lincoln Bookshop - IL
Adam Andrusier - UK
Alexander Historical Auctions - MD
Andreas Wiemer Historical Autographs - Germany
Antiquar & Auktionator - Holland
Archives Historical Autographs - VA
Bauman Rare Books - PA
Brian & Maria Green, NC
Bruce Gimelson, N.Y.
Burkhard Schubert - Germany
Cowan’s Auctions - OH
Custodians of History - MA
Deco Memorabilia - CA
Diana J. Rendell, Inc. - MA
Erasmushaus Ltd. - Switzerland
Gerard A.J. Stodolski, Inc. - NH
Greg Nazareth - FL
Greg Tucker Autographs - NV
Harlan J. Berk, Ltd. - IL
Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles - CA
Jack Bacon & Co. - NV
J.A. Stargard - Germany
JG Autographs - MA
Jim Stinson Sports - UT
John K. King Books - MI
JR’s Autogramme - Germany
Julian Browning - UK
Kenneth W, Rendell, Inc. - MA
Kotte Autographs - Germany
LeLands Auctions - NY
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers - IL
Librairie Signatures - France
Lim Antigua - Italy
Neale Lanigan - AL
One of a Kind Auctions - FL
Pat Claren - CO
Profiles in History - CA
Renato Saggiori - Switzerland
Ron Gordon - NM
Ron Keurajian - MI
Schubertide Music & Arts - MA
Scripta Historica - Germany
Scripta Scientism - Germany
Schulson Autographs - NY
Seaport Autographs - CT
Second Story Books - DC
Seth Kaller, Inc. - NY
Sophie Duprie Autographs - UK
Space Flori - Germany
Star Shots - FL
Stephen Koschal - CO
Tamino Autographs, N.Y.
The Raab Collection - PA
The Written Word - NH
Thomas A. Goldwasser Rare Books - CA
Todd Mueller Autograph Auctions - CO
Treasures in Writing - FL
Walls of Fame - FL
Please take notice: 
 There are rumors that some undesirable sellers of autographs may try to reproduce this list and add their name to it.

Should you desire to purchase an autograph from a seller of autographs that is not on this “List” the COA Library will not be able to assist you with regard to returning a questionable item and requesting a refund.

January 2019

Stephen Koschal Promotes Autograph Collecting in Southeastern Asia

Steve Koschal has travelled around the worlds in the last few decades promoting the hobby of autograph. He is an award winning author of thirteen autograph reference books and has written over 300 articles on autograph collecting that have been published.

He has been called "The International Ambassador of Autographs and "The father of Modern Day Autograph Collecting."  He has travelled to every continent promoting the hobby.

His recent adventure has been promoting autograph collecting in the Far East. Stating in the fabulous city of Singapore he has visited a handful of bookstores promoting autographs. See one illustration below.

While in Singapore he befriended Mrs. Tee Teow Lee, Tracy, Senior Manager of the president's Office of Singapore.

Steve Koschal and Pat Claren with Mrs. Tee Teow Lee.

Steve Koschal and Pat Claren, a room in the Presidential Palace.

From beautiful Singapore we were able to visit small used book shops in Bali, Indonesia, beautiful Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Phuket, Thailand.

Very interesting used and rare bookstore in Phuket, Thailand.

There was so much to see and do in Singapore we stayed there 6 days.  Below is our visit to Interpool.

There is no question in our travels around the world that most used bookstores are not aware of the importance and value of signed books and documents. Yet, they are all interested in learning about the subject of autographs

January 2019

20 + Years of Experience - What Does That Mean?

Offered on eBay 1/1/2019 Angelina Joli signed photograph condition 9 out of 10, Authenticated by a high profile company who claims to authenticate autographs.  Impressive?  Buy it now for $95.00. Seller has 14,175 Positive feedbacks. Still impressed? See illustration below.

Curious we went into the Certificate of Authenticty Reference Library Autopen Files and discovered the same item.

Identical Match, Both signed by the Autopen machine

What is the use of spending money for an autograph authentication when after more than 20 years of so-called experience one can't tell the difference between a machine signed signature and something signed by hand?

November 2018

Dear Friends and Autograph Enthusiasts,

We are very excited to be listed as a "Preferred Dealer of Autographs" in PADAH (Preferred Autograph Dealers and Auction Houses). For more information and to see the list of Preferred dealers, go to

We purchase individual quality autographs and collections.

We maintain a large inventory of autographs and signed books not listed on this web site. Should there be an item that you have been looking for, give us a call at 561-315-3622 or email us at

After many years we have decided to dispose of part of the John Wayne Gacy personal files. These were copies of his letters sent to others and copies/original  legal documents sent to him. Each item was hand signed by Gacy to indicate ownership. These items were filed and stored in his cell on death row.  We start by listing several of these type items this month.

You are invited to see all the items on our web site including new additions at

Since then the following have signed this Holy Bible:
Hillary Rodham Clinton adding the date as well
Laura Bush
Barbara Bush
Joe Biden

Spreading the Good Word About Autographs in Italy

Both Pat Claren and I had a fabulous trip spending a full month based in Torre del Greco, Italy.

We had an apartment in a 300 year old church/fortress complete with kitchen.  From this base we travelled several times by train to Napoli visiting about 17 shops that sold vintage books. At each shop we talked about autographs and signed books.

Other towns we visited looking for old book shops was the fabulous towns of Pompei and Sorrento.

We made and survived the bus ride through the Amalfi Coast to the town of Amalfi.  Anyone who has taken the bus from Sorrento to Amalfi knows what I mean.  The guide said “to not worry when the passengers start screaming, it’s when the driver screams there’s cause for alarm”.

Another fabulous and classy town looking for old bookstores was Salerno.

A few photos are illustrated below of different bookshops. My favorite was in Napoli. The Librerie Colonnese  was two rooms chock full of rare books. The owners were friendly and very helpful.

They are located just a few blocks from Napoli’s most famous pizzeria.  Two hours wait to get in at all times of the day and night.


Donald J. Trump A Signature Study & Autopen Guide NOW AVAILABLE

June 4, 2018 was Donald J. Trump's 500th day in office

On this day, Donald J. Trump A Signature Study & Autopen Guide  became available for sale.

Award winning author Stephen Koschal along with Patricia Claren have put together a treasure trove of information regarding the signature of Donald J. Trump.  This First Edition is limited to only 100 numbered copies with the first 25 signed by both authors.

Ninety pages in length, one hundred and seventy illustrations and the covers are in color. Size is 9"x11".  Up until now,  everything one needs to know before purchasing anything signed by Donald J. Trump. This book will save you hundreds to thousands of dollars from purchasing something claimed to be signed by Donald J. Trump. This includes the thousands of items that come with a Certificates of Authenticity.

Illustrated are many of those items being sold as genuine yet bear a signature signed by the Autopen machine.  In addition, are items bearing forged signatures that come with COA's from those ABC type companies that claim they can authenticate an autograph.

Covered is understanding the signature of Donald J. Trump. Also a long list of recommended dealers, sections on What to Collect, signed books, signed hats, signed golf related items, signed photographs, signed bookplates, signed currency, signed DVD's and more.

Most interesting, yet shocking, are items that appear to be signed and inscribed by Donald J. Trump using an amazing new process.

Available for $17.50 + $2.50 shipping to all US addresses. Shipping outside the USA is $11.00.  Payable by check, money order, cash and Euros.  Payable through Pay Pal. PayPal address is:

Stephen Koschal
7155 Sand Crest View
Colorado Springs, CO 80923

Donald J. Trump Autopen Guide

By Stephen Koschal
9 March 2018

This important Trump Autopen guide is the beginning of what should be useful to all autograph enthusiasts.

As of the writing of this guide an example of Autograph #3 is listed on ebay. It is a typed letter with 33 bids and presently at $518.00. Hopefully in the future we will be able to add more exemplars of Trumps Autopen signatures

Autopen #1

Autopen #2

Autopen #3

Our thanks to the hard word and research of Tim Hartis.

Beware - Preprinted Sketch Signed By Charles Schulz

By Stephen Koschal
26 August 2017

There’s no question that original sketches of any of the characters of the Peanuts gang by Charles Schulz are extremely desirable. Genuine examples do exist in some quantity however starting back in the 1990’s a Chicago based so called autograph dealer did flood the market with fairly good forgeries.

For years, I dealt directly with Charles Schulz and received many original sketches. We became somewhat of a trading partner.  When he told me he admired the WWII cartoonist Bill Mauldin it was my mission to find copies of Mauldin’s books signed with sketches.  I would send the book to Schulz and request a sketch of a Peanuts character. One time I received a fabulous sketch of Snoop is several different colors.

Many fake sketches of Snoopy characters can always be found on eBay.  Jean Schulz, wife of Charles Schulz would follow the items on eBay and when one was thought to be a forgery, she would have it removed.

In the book “The Art of Charles M. Schulz” with an introduction by Jean Schulz contains a most interesting item that I just can’t understand.

Cover of “The Art of Charles M. Schulz”

On the inside front cover is a blue ink signature (vintage style) Charles M. Schulz along with a sketch (possibly a self portrait) of a man lying in bed, his head on a pillow reading a book.

I have seen these books being sold by dealers (several hundred dollars and more) stating the signature and artwork are original. It is that good!   Worse, is that unethical dealers who realize this book was published after the passing of Mr. Schulz, have soaked the front cover in water, cut out the signature and sketch and had them framed or encapsulated and authenticated.  See illustration below.

Facsimile vintage Charles M. Schulz signature with sketch

There are thousands of this sketch in the public arena, all are facsimile’s. There is only one original and it is not for sale.  It is my recommendation to avoid purchasing one of these sketches and to avoid the person selling it.

Why, with Mrs. Schulz being so concerned about forgeries of her husband’s works help the immoral in the hobby of autographs by supplying them with something that can fool the uneducated?

Ernest Hemingway - A New Rash of Forgeries

By Stephen Koschal
2 September 2017

Recently in the last two-three months, I have received several items for authentication thought by the submitters to be items signed by Ernest Hemingway.

Nothing can be further than the truth! My opinion is that the items bearing signatures of Ernest Hemingway were some of the worst forgeries of his signature I have seen in 50 years.

There are quite a few example but I will illustrate two very poorly executed signatures of Ernest Hemingway with one bearing a forged signature of Fidel Castro as well.

The first, illustrated below, is a book To Have And Have Not.  It bears a horrible forgery of the signature of Ernest Hemingway dated 1937, New York on the half title page.

The second is much more interesting as this forgery has passed through the hands of more than one dealer/auction house who submitted this item to me for authentication.  In my opinion, the signatures of both Hemingway and Fidel Castro are both forgeries.  See below.

Most interesting is that the owner of this forgery submitted this item to be placed in an auction. The auction house sent this item to me for authentication. They were issued a Certificate of examination stating both signatures in my opinion are forgeries.  The item was returned to the owner.  A month an d  half later, this same item was sent to me for authentication by a different auction house.  Bear in mind the owner was already told the signatures were not genuine and he is still trying to pass this off.  The second auction house got the same response, NOT GENUINE.

There are many items like this all coming out from a person in Bonsall, California who has a very shady and documented presence dealing with autographs in the past.  This same individual purchased an old baseball mitt for $750. on ebay in January 2012. miraculously a Babe Ruth signature later appeared on the mitt and this individual sold the mitt for $200,000.


California Auction Houses and Autograph Dealers
Experiencing an Active Boycott

By Stephen Koschal
26 August 2017

It’s very sad to see what’s going on in the autograph industry in California. It’s become very complicated with a new law.  Most dealers in that state interpret the law differently and handle sales differently.  It can become very complicated, filling out forms and more.

We are now starting to see dealers out side the State of California who sell autographs posting similar messages on their web sites like the following.

“As of January 1, 2017 we will not ship any autographed books, manuscripts or documents to California due to AB 1570.”

The following is why!

Mickey Mantle At Auction
Who Can You Believe?

By Stephen Koschal
7 August 2017

Mickey Mantle is a magical name in the history of baseball. Many collectors believe he is the second most popular player in the sports hobby when it comes to collecting his memorabilia.

The amount of forged signatures that have sold in the hobby are enormous. Many of these forgeries come with Certificates of Authenticity from most all the companies who claim they can authenticate autographs.

Here seems to be no end to what forgers will attempt to fool uneducated collectors.  At times it get to be a point of being ridiculous.  For example not long ago, at auction a baseball was offered said to be signed by Bill Wight.  His signature on the ball was authenticated by PSA/DNA.  Under the described signature of Bill Wight, apparently by the same hand was written: “Mickey Mantle’s 1st Hit. 4/17/51.”  See illustration below.

PSA/DNA’s authenticated Bill Wight, Mantle’s 1st Hit Baseball

Close-up of the Mantle 1st Hit Baseball

Less than a year later, on eBay another Bill Wight, Mickey Mantle’s 1st Hit 4/17/51 baseball is offered by a seller in the Bronx, New York. This seller looks legit…because he has 2,152 feedbacks and 100% of them are positive.  See illustration below.

Another 1st Hit Mickey Mantle baseball

During this sale a third Mickey Mantle 1st Hit Baseball is offered on eBay. Someone must have complained because the item was quickly removed from the auction.

See illustration below.

A third "1st Hit" Mickey Mantle baseball.

One can almost bet that there are more of these baseballs out there. Who can anyone believe?

Do your own homework before making any purchase and make that purchase from a reputable dealer.  A list of reputable dealers can be found on

Ethel Waters Autograph
Don’t Be Deceived

By Stephen Koschal
28 July 2017

ETHEL WATERS  (1896-1977). American blues, jazz and gospel vocalist. Actress. She was the first singer to perform W.C. Handy’s  “St Louis Blues” in public.  Waters sang her famous hymn “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” at numerous Billy Graham crusades.  She has documented many of her encounters with most of the black greats during her time including Jim Crow.

Ethel Waters acted and sang in vaudeville, movies and on many television shows.  She became the first African American star of a national radio show.  She was the second African American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Jan White, an award winning columnist wrote a story in the Andalusia Star News on January 23, 2016 about an Ethel Waters book.  She wrote: “One reason I ordered “To Me It’s Wonderful” is because the author had autographed the title page. The cursive letter reads: “In his precious love, Ethel Waters.”  Actually some dealers read this ad describe the sentiment and signature as “I’m his precious soul, Ethel Waters.”  See below, you decide!

Sentiment and signature, Ethel Waters

What I have decided is that this sentiment and signature in the book is not personally written  by Ethel Waters but it is printed on the title page in every single copy published.

In checking with just one rare book sight on the Internet I found 37 book dealers selling this as a signed copy.  Eleven dealers had a hard cover copy and 26 book dealers were selling the soft cover edition.  Even though the sentiment and signature is a printed example, the dealers were about split in half about how they read the sentiment.

Signatures of Ethel Waters are desirable amongst collectors and a nice genuine example should be worth in the area of seventy-five dollars.

Newly Discovered Jacqueline Kennedy “Autopen” Signature

By Stephen Koschal
7 July 2017

It’s amazing in this hobby of autographs how something can go undetected for several decades.  Letters signed by Jacqueline Kennedy can sell for hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the content and condition of the letter.  Signatures of Jacqueline Kennedy on letters, photographs, The White House cards, engravings and more should always be examined with suspect.   Mrs. Kennedy did use the “Autopen” and at least two secretary’s that have been identified who signed her name.

Recently discovered is an example of a Jacqueline Kennedy “Autopen” signature that is confirmed. It took over fifty years to identify and document this signature as a machine example;  See the two illustrations below from the year 1964.

Signed by  the “Autopen” machine, April 28, 1964

Signed by the “Autopen” machine, May 8, 1964.

My thanks to Mr. Erhard Betz, President of the International Autograph Collectors Club ( home based in Germany for his help in discovering one of these examples.

Todd Mueller Autographs Purchases
General George A. Custer’s Personal Effects

By Stephen Koschal
29 June 2017

When someone visits my office it usually means something exciting is about to happen.  I don’t get too excited after 50 years being in the autograph and collectible visit.  But yesterday Todd Mueller came to my office on his way back from what he felt was a major find. Before looking at his latest purchase he wanted to sit down and go over the provenance.  The provenance was very good traceable back over 100 years.

The items in this collection was sitting in our own backyard here in the Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs area (Indian Country).   An elderly woman has these items in her possession for over 100 years and was given to her by a notable person who was friendly with Elizabeth B. Custer and many Indians.

The first item I examined was a wonderful handwritten letter by Elizabeth B. Custer mentioning Indians.  The collection once included General George A. Custer’s uniform and quite about a paper related items and letters but they were donated to the Custer Museum near Little Big Horn.

Held onto were other Custer related personal items.  Included in the sale to Todd Mueller was Custer’s personal shaving kit and his binoculars.  Highlight’s of the sale is a bugle made by the Wurlitzer Company and Custer’s Springfield rifle.

Steve Koschal holding General Custer’s Bugle and Rifle

These items and more will be consigned to an auction of Mueller’s choice before years end.

International Autograph Collector’s Club - The Hobby's Club
Headquartered in Germany

By Stephen Koschal

Have you noticed more and more collectors have been joining the International Autograph Collectors Club (  Not to mention professional autograph dealers from around the world are displaying the club logo.  The club quarterly magazine has become a collectors item, 80 pages in length with articles written in English. The support from collectors is outstanding.  The club has more articles lined up to fill the magazine for two years.

Not surprisingly, according to the treasurer, this club seems to be unique as they have money in the bank.

Membership comes from around the world with collectors from all over Europe, Russia, United Arab Emirates and an increasing number of collectors and dealers from around the United States and more.

One goal of the club’s Board is to build an Autograph Museum in Switzerland.  The building has been chosen and the club needs approximately 150,000 Euros to get it going. This, if it happens, will benefit the entire International Autograph Community.

The club just had their yearly meeting in beautiful Konstanz, Germany. The Board of Directors, club members and autograph dealers and special autograph guests met in the Hotel Graf Zeppelin.

Hotel Graf Zeppelin

The meeting opened with the members of the Board and some close friends to discuss the direction of the club, finances and were open to suggestions.

Members of the Board during the club meeting

Markus Brandes had an unbelievable display of items pertaining to the Zeppelins with many documents signed by Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin and other notables.  The large, impressive collection filled an entire wall of the main room.

Dealer tables were set up and selling was very brisk.  Prices were very reasonable and it wouldn’t take long to purchase enough quality items to pay for your trip.

Very popular were the celebrity guests. Each guest signed whatever was put in front of them. Two of my favorites were Russian Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka who holds the worlds record for time in space, 879 days.

Steve Koschal with Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka

We can thank Florain Noller for the Cosmonauts appearance.  As many known, Florian is the leading world’s expert on signatures relating to the space program.  He is the final word on authenticating these types of autographs.

Another favorite and extremely popular celebrity guest was  Nobel Laureate Richard Ernst (Chemistry in 1991).  A very good friend to autograph collectors Mr. Ernst even brought to the show his original Certificate for his Nobel Prize.

Pat Claren with Richard Ernst

Both the Cosmonaut and Nobel Prize winner spoke and took many questions from the room.

German hippie writer and filmmaker Rainer Langhans was also on hand speaking and signing autographs.

The lines were long while collectors and dealers waited for autographs from the celebrities.

Former President of the club Ralf Hahn looks on as Richard Ernst
signs for those in attendance.

Introduced at this show is the new club brochure and membership application.

Also attending the show it was a privilege to meet Sabine In gold who wrote the recently published 32 page booklet on John F. Kennedy and those associated with his assassination.

Amazingly, in this day and age, there was no charge for autographs.

After the show we all went to dinner at a wonderful restaurant right on Lake Constance named  Brigantinus.  The food, drinks and service was outstanding.

Our hats off to Markus Brandes who did an outstanding job running the show from beginning to end.

Autograph Authentication - A Most Fascinating Item

By Stephen Koschal

Never a week goes by without being asked what was the most unusual item I have authenticated.

Since I have been authenticating autographs since 1967 many strange items have come my way.  Some of the items came my way through some of the high profile companies who claim they can authenticate autographs but were unable to do so and wanted my opinion.

If I have to come up with just one item I would say it was authenticating signatures on a piano.

The piano comes from the popular western TV series Bonanza. It ran on NBC TV from 1959-1973. It lasted 14 seasons with 431 episodes.
orphine for  the rest of his life.  At the

It has markings “Bonanza Studio 6” and also “United Artists Studios, Hollywood Calif. 1962.”

Emerson Piano Co. Est. 1849, New Scale, Circa early 1900’s

United Artist Studio marking

When the top is opened, the long golden board on the right side contains a dozen signatures, some associated with the Bonanza TV series. Signing are Lorne Green, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon adding “Little Joe” after his signature.

Michael Landon signature

The piano is in very nice condition and weighs 900 pounds.  A fabulous collectible for any fan of the Bonanza TV series

Herman Goering  Newly Discovered Printed Signature,
Part 2: How Autograph Dealer’s Are Different,
Part 3: Charles Hamilton, Autograph God
No Soup For You!

By Stephen Koschal

  (Jan. 12, 1893 October 15, 1946).  German WW1 fighter pilot and Ace credited with 22 victories.  Goering joined with Adolf Hitler in 1922 and was at his side during the failed Munich Hall Putsch.  Goring was badly wounded and became addicted to morphine for  the rest of his life.  At the outbreak of WWII Goering was named Supreme Commander of the German Air Force.  Hitler lost faith in Goering and thought he may have been a traitor. Hitler ordered Goering’s arrest and execution.  Goering avoided arrest but was captured by U.S. forces on 9 May 1945. At the Nurnberg trials Goering was found guilty and was sentenced to death. He committed suicide in his jail cell behind the courthouse on October 15, 1946.  He did this two hours before he was sentenced to hang.  Jailers still took his body and hung it.

The autograph of Herman Goering is highly desirable by collectors.  They are available in most forms such as documents signed and signed photographs are especially desirable.

The problem is there are many signatures of Herman Goering that are forged.  In addition signatures that were thought to be genuine are printed signatures.

In Charles Hamilton’s book, “Leaders and Personalities of the Third Reich” published in 1984, at the bottom of the page Hamilton reproduces a signature of Herman Goering that he states is from a Citation For Contribution to Aviation, April 1937.  Evidently Hamilton was not able to detect that this signature was not hand signed but was a printed signature.

Goering Signature from Charles Hamilton’s book

Published in 1996 a very popular reference book “Signatures of the Third Rich” by Emile Caldwell Stewart illustrates on page 76 a signature of Herman Goering.  It is not known if she twelve years later copied the signature from Hamilton’s book?  This is not know but both signatures are identical!

Goering’s Signature from Stewart’s Book

Recently, I have discovered two photographs believed to be genuine and offered for sale by collectors to Todd Mueller.   They ended up in Todd Mueller’s garbage can but was salvaged by me for this article.  See illustrations below.

Blue ink Signature of Herman Goering on a Photograph

Black ink Signature of Herman Goering on a Photograph

It is quite evident that all four signatures illustrated above are pre-prints.  Since autographs of Herman Goering are relatively expensive having this info can save a dealer or collector a handsome amount of money.

Part 2:   I remember well back in the late 1970’s ordering what was described in a catalog as a handwritten letter by Salvador Dali.  I knew Dali quite well and have been in his company more times than I can remember. We would walk the streets of New York with him pointing out all the fabricated limited edition prints that look like his artwork and with signatures that could pass a novice in the hobby.  He signed hundreds of items for me through the years but I never had an A.L.S.  This item was in the catalog of the great Paul C. Richards.  Upon receiving the item it was obvious to me that the handwriting was not by the hand of Dali but by the hand of his wife Gala.  Dali did sign the letter.

I returned the letter to Paul Richards with a short note about what I felt about the letter.  Somewhere I still have the letter in my files but I’ll write what I can remember. Paul wrote his hand written response in red ink! He said, “Steve, my face is as red as the ink I use to write this letter of apology.  Many thanks for bringing this information to my attention.  My refund check is enclosed.”

Now, that’s class!  I sure miss talking to Paul  at the shows and in his office.

Part 3:  Charles Hamilton.  I knew Charles for almost 30 years. He passed away in December 1996.  We had for many years an off and on relationship.  During the 1960’s and early 1970’s I was basically a customer bidding at his auctions.  During the mid-seventies I discovered he had boxes of autographs that he could care less about. Everything in the first box was $5.00.  You could take 2 hours to go through that box.  Charles was a great talker. It was hard to get a word in. However, in my opinion the real autograph expert in that office was a fellow who spent much time in the back room doing the research.  His name was Keith Thompson.  I got to know Keith well, he would purchase items from my catalogs, we would meet in Pennsylvania to attend the regular fabulous Gimelson Auctions.  Keith even sent me his obituary to publish upon his passing. Quite a guy with a wonderful sense of humor!

At the Hamilton Auctions, for newcomers, Charles Hamilton was treated almost like a God.  Even many of the seasoned collectors and dealers approached him like a celebrity.

Charles and I fought many times over autographs.  Some that I remember was a fight over the authenticity of some documents said to be signed by Napoleon.  There was a major battle that went on for quite some time about the old age signatures of Harry Truman.  Charles finally agreed with me when I showed him an “in person” signature of the former President that I obtained in Truman’s front garden in Independence, Missouri. See illustration below.

In Person Harry Truman

The very worst fight with Hamilton was when I ordered a signed photograph of Herman Goering from one of his catalogs back in 1994.  This was the first time in almost 30 years that I had to return something to Charles Hamilton.  Knowing Hamilton and his ego, I knew this probably wouldn’t go well.  See illustration below.

Letter from Stephen Koschal Returning a Goering Signed photograph

Hamilton’s response was so shocking that I will only illustrate the closing portion of his letter.  It should be clear from what you just read that you will have an opinion of his personality.

Letter from Charles Hamilton responding to a request for a return

The response to an item being returned to a dealer can be handled by them quite differently. You read about the classy letter written in red ink by Paul Richards and you see the difference in the response from Charles Hamilton.

I wonder now if back then I knew the Goering signature illustrated in his book was a printed signature would I have mentioned it throwing more fuel on the fire.

Hamilton’s response was similar to the classic Seinfeld show about the soup Nazi.  “No soup for you!”

Hamilton’s tirade didn’t last too long and just months later he wrote me and asked me to help him with some Nazi forgeries coming out of New Jersey and about forgeries of his certificates of authenticity.

Richard Albersheim, Bill Corcoran,Kevin Keating, Zack Rullo of PSA Cannot Authenticate a Babe Ruth Signature Posted by stephen koschal on March 8, 2017 at 4:36pm

Richard Albersheim, Bill Corcoran, Kevin Keating and Zack Rullo

all of PSA Cannot Authenticate a Babe Ruth Signature

What’s wrong with this group? Could it be they are all so-called autograph experts who happen to be on the PSADNA team. PSA claims to have on hand the world’s leading autograph experts who they say can use state of the art technology and they have a four level authentication system. Founded in 1998 with 19 years experience and they issue unbiased opinions.

The so-called experts at PSA made autograph history on hundreds maybe thousands of blunders in authenticating on places like the TV show Pawn Stars and mis-authentications on eBay, etc. Stories all over the Internet including www.haulsofshame expose the atrocities made by PSA.

One major outstanding blunder made by the so-called experts at PSA was illustrating a forged Babe Ruth signed baseball on their homepage and on their financial report as being genuine.

Still years later four boys who claim they are experts in the field of sports cannot authenticate a signature of Babe Ruth.

What’s frightening is something signed by Babe Ruth is one of the most common items submitted to any authenticator.

Yesterday on March 7, a collector from the state of Washington found a signed Babe Ruth item on eBay. The Ruth signature is a “10”. Nice and dark, black ink signature with no faults. The collector is a newcomer to eBay with only 9 feedbacks and with little history in the business thought PSA Quick opinion was the way to go.

With the four so called experts on sports autographs listed above in the title, PSA came back with “unable to render an opinion”.

The first thought was for the thousands of Babe Ruth signatures they have made opinions on in the past, shouldn’t all those people get their money back for the boys at PSA just admitted they can’t even render an opinion on a graded “10” Babe Ruth signature.

Signature the 4 Boys at PSA Can’t Authenticate

The item is listed on eBay and comes with something else that is a gift but not mentioned in the items description. The reason this item has such provenance and not mentioned is the fact of the BS at PSA stating they issue unbiased opinions. It is believed that if this Babe Ruth item ever made it’s way to PSA based on the seller, it would not pass inspection.

This item was purchased from the family of Lester Eggers. Lester Eggers obtained the Babe Ruth signature “in person”. What accompanies the Ruth signed portrait is a 8”x10” photo of the East In All American Game lineup at the Polo Grounds that will meet Ty Cobb’s westerners. Standing in the rear, left to right, the third player is Lester Eggers. Babe Ruth is the third player to his right. A post note on the photo is by a family member who sold these items: “This is my stepfather Lester Eggers”.

This story is posted simply to help educate the 4 boys who claim to authenticate sports autographs at PSADNA. In addition, to help educate the collectors in the hobby about the so called expertise at PSA.

Lyndon B. Johnson
A Short Signature Study

by Stephen Koschal

There are a few modern presidents of the United States that some sellers of autographs and most of those who claim they can authenticate autographs have much difficulty determining whether LBJ’s signature is signed by the Autopen, a secretary, or genuine.  The three that seem to be most often mis-authenticated are Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

It seems like almost every week someone contacts me regarding the authenticity of one of theses three presidents.  While I take on this project, a well know collector asked me to look at what he thought might be a questionable signature of Lyndon B. Johnson in a high profile California autograph auction house catalog.
embers of Cong

Being offered for sale was the popular book “The Professional Lyndon B. Johnson” by William S. White.  See illustration below.

The Professional LBJ by William S. White.

This book was published in 1964 and I would bet that I have seen well over 150 copies of this book inscribed and signed.  Problem is of that 150 copies, less that a half dozen contained a genuine inscription or signature of Lyndon B. Johnson.
g to hit the mar

The illustration above was signed for Johnson by one of his secretaries.  It sold for $375.00.

For the purpose of this study, illustrated below are five more of the same books inscribed and signed by Johnson’s secretary.

Illustration # 2 sold for $475.00 on eBay

Illustration #3 sold for $450.00 on eBay

Illustration #4 sold for $300 on eBay

Illustration #5 sold for $450 on eBay

Illustration #6 sold for $450.00 on eBay

There is more than one way to judge whether the inscription is written and signed “Lyndon B. Johnson” by his secretary.  The first is to look at the word “To.”  In many cases but not all does President  Johnson write the word “To” much differently than his secretary.
See two illustrations below.

Illustration #7  Genuine "To" by LBJ

But not always.

Illustration #8 Genuine but variant “To” by LBJ

On occasion President Johnson would inscribe books starting with the word “For.” See three genuine inscriptions below.

Illustration #9 - “For” written by Lyndon B. Johnson

In my opinion, dealing with hundreds of Lyndon B. Johnson signatures over the years, my little secret and a good way to determine whether the Lyndon B. Johnson signature you have is genuine or not is to examine the "o" in Johnson.    As Johnson’s signature became quite collectible, I have not found a single case where Johnson signed his name shaping the “o” in Johnson as a circular letter.  Go back to the six illustrations above and see how the secretary wrote the letter "o".

In every genuine example of Johnson’s signature I have examined, the "o" in his last name is simply a line up and then a short line down. 

Now for the myth that has been floating around since the 1940’s. That is if Johnson did not dot the “B’ in his signature then you can be sure he did not sign that signature.  In most cases under the “B” in his signature he did place a dot. Most times before the “J’ in Johnson, sometimes in the middle loop of the “J” and sometimes even after the “J” and under the “o” in Johnson.

Illustration #10 - No dot under signature but signature is genuine

One last comment and still somewhat controversial started by the late Charles Hamilton is that all those “LBJ” bookplates found in his book "The Vantage Point" are signed by a secretary.  NOT TRUE.  Every single one of them has been personally signed by Lyndon B. Johnson.

I hope this short study helps simplify those who are in the market for a genuine item signed by Lyndon B. Johnson.

Should readers, collectors, dealers and authenticators have any comments or questions please email me at

The Truth About The Richard Nixon’s Reponse to Congressman
Who Urged Him Not to Resign

by Stephen Koschal

Letters written by Richard Nixon to Members of Congress that refer to him not resigning the presidency are beginning to hit the market.  The letters are being supposedly sold for a wide range of prices.  With all the shill bidding going on in a few auction houses, it’s near impossible to determine if the posted selling price is accurate or even if the item sold.

One such letter, apparently but we’ll never know for sure, sold for $4, a 2015 auction. The identical letter is being sold by someone who sells autographs and the asking price is $14,000.

A similar letter written to a different Congressman sold at a New England auction house for what they claim was $2,500.

Not long ago, another one of these letters sold in 2010 at Bonham’s Auction for a much more realistic price of $800.

Many believe that the “RN” signatures on these letters may be signed by the Autopen.  Results of our research, as of today, reveals President Nixon took the time to personally sign each and every letter.  However that’s the good news. The bad news is the letter is nothing more than a form letter.

The original letter to Richard Nixon was circulated by Congressman Paul Findley (R-Illinois) on January 24, 1974.  The jointly signed letter received by President Nixon was signed by 101 Member of Congress.  The majority of Congressman signed copies of the letter but a handful of Congressman signed individual letters that were sent along with the jointly signed letter.

Congressman Findley issued a press release on February 8, 1974 and mailed the various signed letters to President Nixon.

A copy of one of Nixon’s responses is illustrated below.

The above letter sold at Bonhams auction for a realistic $800.

My sincere thanks to Evan Holzwasser, collector and Carla Braswell, Archivist, Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum for their help with this educational article.

Promoting The Hobby of Autographs

During May, 2016, Steve Koschal and Pat Claren traveled to Europe promoting the hobby of autographs. We met a collector in Cork, Ireland, talked autographs and visited Blarney castle to kiss the stone.

We met a very interesting collector in Blankenberge, Belgium who collected autographs of noted artists.  Our meeting lasted one and a half hours as we walked along the narrow waterways that run through the city.  The meeting was very informative and this collectors passion for the hobby was outstanding.

The last meeting we had was within walking distance of the famous Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. We met with Jan Derksen owner of the King of Siam Restaurant.  Jan's collection is remarkable and he published some of his collection in a book. We had a fabulous conversation over a beer in a location second to none.

In an effort to continue spreading the good word about the autograph hobby we will be traveling to Abu Dhabi and will be there for several days. We would like to meet any autograph collectors on the following dates, November 26-Nov. 28 and Dec.10 to the 12th.
We will be in Dubai on the 29th and 30th of November as well.  Being so close to one of our favorite countries we plan on being in Mumbai (Bombay, India) on December 6.  Any of our Indian friends who live in the south of India and can make it for a visit we welcome them all. Should you have an interest in a get together please email Steve Koschal  at

Steve Koschal with Jan Derksen in Amsterdam

The first issue of  Autographensammler  for the year 2016 is published.  It is the club journal for the International Autograph Club based in Germany. The journal is published 4 times a year. This issue is 80 pages in length and has articles covering all subjects of collecting. In this issue are three articles written by Stephen Koschal. The first is about Bill Clinton and how forgers are deceiving collectors when it comes to signed copies of his books. A second article is on the autographs of Reverend Billy Graham. The third article is about Donald Trump which is reproduced below.
You may have noticed quite a few United States autograph dealers and auction houses that are displaying the club logo. Web site for the club is They are presently working on upgrading the web site in English.

Steve Koschal Promotes Autograph Collecting
In The Mediterranean

During the month of October in 2015, Steve Koschal and Patricia Claren traveled the Mediterranean meeting with autograph collectors and visiting book stores that handled old books some autographed.

Overall, it seems that book stores that handle signed books usually don’t have a section for this subject. The plus side for this is that sleepers may be on the shelves overlooked by collectors.  The down side is that it can take hours to scan the shelves looking for a hidden treasure.

Our trip started in Barcleona, Spain where we met two collectors that have been on our mailing list for several years. With the rise of the Internet it’s always wonderful to meet prior customers in person and build on the relationship.

Next stop was two book stores in Marseille, France.

Steve Koschal at a Marseille, France bookshop

We had a meeting with one collector in Genoa, Italy.  We have good memories of dealing with Italian collectors as this is where, years ago, we purchased hundreds of those military appointments signed by King Emanuele III and Benito Mussolini.

Steve Koschal at a bookstore in Genoa, Italy

In every city we took some time to visit historical attractions.  See below.

Pat Claren & Steve Koschal at the birthplace of Christopher Columbus in Genoa

From Genoa we traveled south to the fabulous city of Naples, Italy.  Here we met with a long time collector of historical autographs. We visited three bookstores and discussed collecting autographs.

Steve Koschal visiting a bookstore in Naples, Italy

After Naples we went south to Messina, Sicily for one day.  Sicily is the home of the cannula or cannolo.  Many know this pastry by its Italian name cannoli. It would be embarrassing to tell you how many we ate in one day.  The little shops make them from scratch in front of you.  Chocolate chips and cinnamon are added to leave an unforgettable taste.  Look at the size of the canola below.

Patricia Claren holding her prize cannoli with two hands,
the shop owner proudly looks on

We visited one bookstore discussing autograph collecting before traveling to one of our favorite countries, Malta.  Malta was the most bombed country during WWII. The large city of Valetta is a walled city and one needs to take an elevator up to the city.

Meeting with autograph collectors around the world is always a success.  There are very few successful organizations in this hobby. Only two hold events for collectors to meet others and share information and make friendships.  The main event, worldwide is an International Autograph Club,, based in Germany.  Their next meeting will be in Remscheid, Germany in 2016. Remscheid founded in the 12th century is conveniently located near Dusseldorf.  The 2017 meeting will be held in Kesswil, Switzerland.  These club meeting are very informative, extremely friendly and highly recommended.

Holy Bible Update

A Holy Bible has been signed by many Presidents, Vice-Presidents and First Ladies of the United States and is  known worldwide as the “Koschal Presidential Bible.”

The earliest Presidents to have signed the “Bible” are Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman.

The “Holy Bible” was chosen for the Presidents and Vice-Presidents to sign because Bible’s are chosen for these persons to take their Oaths of Office.

Unique is the fact that this is the only “Holy Bible” in the world to have been signed by the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama knew in advance that he was to sign a book for Steve Koschal, however, when the “Holy Bible” was placed before him he politely stated, “I do not sign books I did not author.”  When he was shown all the President’s signatures, he changed his mind and said: “I want to add my name to these important people.”

In advance of the 2016 Presidential Elections and in an exclusive discussion with Steve Koschal in Coral Gables, Florida, Senator Marco Rubio (R. FL.) is the first person running for the office of President of the United States for the G.O.P. that has agreed to sign the “Holy Bible” should he be elected President of the United States.

Senator Marco Rubio and Steve Koschal

From the Democratic side of the election, the “Holy Bible” has already been signed by Hillary Clinton.

Signature of Hillary Clinton in the “Holy Bible”

Both Marco Rubio and Donald Trump have publicly stated that the “Holy Bible” is their favorite book.

Hillary Clinton -  Deception In The Autograph Hobby!

Many of you most likely are sick and tired about hearing the news of Hillary Clinton’s emails, Benghazi and so much more. Just maybe, when it affects the autograph hobby, it may spark your attention.

It appears that although her use of the Autopen or preprinted signatures is fairly common many people including some autograph dealers are not familiar with these signatures.  Even trolling through eBay today, one can find many items up for auction that bare an Autopen or preprinted signature of Hillary Clinton and are being sold as genuine.  Some even come with letters of authentication issued by the ABC type authenticating companies.

In many cases  the official letters that come with a spurious signature are somewhat convincing.  Note the line: “…I am including with this letter a signed bookplate, which was purchased with non-federal funds…”  The letter on Hillary Rodham Clinton Senate stationery,  dated July 9, 2001, is signed by her Director of Correspondence. This leads many to believe they were sent a genuine signature.
operly mail an autograph or a signed book.

Letter from Clinton's Director of Correspondence

Illustrated below is the actual bookplate that was affixed to the collector’s book  It Takes A Village.  The book was published in 1996 and six years later they were using this bookplate.

Bookplate in It Takes A Village

To know for sure a signature was signed by the Autopen machine or is a preprint one must have  another copy of the same signature. 

Published in 2000 is a wonderful coffee table book,  An Invitation to the White House, At Home With History  by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

An Invitation to the White House

Affixed to the front free endpaper is a Hillary Rodham Clinton bookplate containing the same identical signature.

Bookplate affixed to An Invitation to the White House

These bookplates which contain a facsimile signature of Hillary Rodham Clinton have been fooling many for two decades.  The letter sent by Clinton’s secretary sending a “signed bookplate” is deceptive.  Collectors and autograph dealers be aware!

Be Cautious When Mailing Autographs

I have learned the hard way, decades ago, about how to properly mail an autograph or a signed book.

This applies especially to dealers in autographs or those collectors who are shipping an item to a dealer with the hopes of a sale.

If you are mailing an autograph or signed book don’t put a spotlight on your package!   You should not have a label that states “John Doe Autographs” or “John Doe Autographs & Rare Books”.

If you are mailing an autograph or signed book don’t put a spotlight on your package!   You should not have a label that states “John Doe Autographs” or “John Doe Autographs & Rare Books”.

This tells everyone that handles the envelope or package from your post office to destination that something could be very valuable in that package.

Why bring attention to that envelope or package?

I’ve written about this many years ago in one of our trade magazines and it seems not everyone has either read the article or has forgotten what they read.

Unfortunately, disappearing envelopes/packages still happen. Don’t fall prey to someone handling that package who may feel the need to hit the lottery with a package you hoped would reach destination.

What’s New?
Steve Koschal Assists the Famous Barry John

I finally got used to speaking and being comfortable in front of a few dozen people at autograph events and giving a course on autographs at a school or college.  However, I have learned that  being on stage and helping an amazing talented person in front of several hundred in the audience is a unique experience. 

Barry John is an international celebrity and has been a juggler, comedian and magician for almost two decades.   His career began at the age of 12 when he juggled 3 baseballs. As a teen he did hundreds of shows.

Since then, he has traveled to over 90 countries including Egypt, Australia, Kenya, Russia, Japan and Argentina. His world class amazing skills appeals to audiences of all ages.  Barry has been an opening act for many major celebrities and he has rubbed elbows with Evander Holyfield, Carol Channing, Jack Parr, Marvin Hamlish and others.

Illustrated below is Steve Koschal with Barry John after our performance.

Illustrated below Mr. John writes:  “To Steve K. To my helper,
Best wishes, Barry John, 2014.”

What I have learned  after performing on stage in front of hundreds of people and having all of them applause is a feeling I wish everyone could experience just once in their lifetime.

Collecting “The White House Cards”
Latest Discovery

There’s little doubt about the popularity of collecting “Executive Mansion” cards, “White House” cards and “The White House” cards signed by the presidents of the United States. They are becoming much more difficult to find than they were 20 years ago.

Even with the heavy demand for these cards, little was known about the history and scarcity of these cards.  Matter of fact, as late as the early 1980’s every major dealer specializing in items signed by the presidents would describe in their catalogs that Rutherford B. Hayes introduced these cards and was the first to sign them.

Many collectors and dealers realize the scarcity of “Executive Mansion” cards signed by James A. Garfield but don’t realize that these same cards signed by Benjamin Harrison and Theodore Roosevelt are much scarcer.

To play safe, I always suggest that to ensure a collector has a good solid collection of these cards it may be best to stop with a “The White House” card signed by Harry S. Truman.

The only book published on these cards is “The History of Collecting Executive Mansion, White House and The White House cards Signed by the Presidents and Their First Ladies”  by Lynne E. Keyes and Stephen Koschal is very popular and is now in its third printing.  One hundred forty pages, heavily illustrated, covers these cards of our presidents from Ulysses S. Grant through George W. Bush.

Although there are some genuine signed “The White House” cards signed by Dwight D. Eisenhower, one must be very cautious when attempting to add one of these cards to your collection.

A word of caution, a newly discovered “The White House” card by Dwight D. Eisenhower was signed by the Autopen machine.

It is strongly suggested if you have a “The White House” cards with an Eisenhower signature that matches the one illustrated here that it be returned to the seller.  In addition, Eisenhower did have secretaries that also signed these cards and cards with a facsimile three word sentiment along with a signature are plentiful.

Happy Collecting!
Stephen Koschal

Promoting the Hobby of Autographs

My recent efforts to promote the hobby of autographs on an International level was not only exciting but very successful.  Recently I visited Portugal (met a very interesting collector from Canada), English Gibraltar, Majorca and several cities in Spain.  Spain was very important to me as within the last year I’ve had many good sales go to this country and found the collectors to be extremely friendly.  After spending two days in Barcelona we rented a car and spent a week in the south of France.

We have one good collector/friend in Malaga who we try to see every few years. One of our favorite places to visit in Malaga is the ancient fine wine bar “Casa de Guardia” where Picasso drank.  The wines are poured directly from the ancient wood barrels. It is within walking distance of his home.  I feel close to Picasso as I wrote him many times during the early 70’s and he always signed all the portraits I would send him.

We try to visit as many used/rare book stores as possible to talk about autographs and the hobby.

There is no question that one of the fabulous places to go on vacation is to visit the Rock of Gibraltar.  Most believe it is a rock in the water at the entrance to the Mediterranean. Actually it is not a rock island.  You can walk to it from Spain however you must run across an active runway to get to town.  This huge rock is hollow with many miles of roads inside as well as a fortress. It has a system of underground tunnels and the rock contains about 100 caves.  St. Michael’s cave has interested tourists since the days of the Romans. During WWII it was prepared as an emergency hospital however today it is now a unique auditorium used for concerts and ballet. It is also used as a theatre with a capacity of 400. A cable car ride or taxi to the top to visit the wild monkeys is not to be forgotten as well as the cemetery, the castle and the tropical gardens.

Barcelona is also a fun place to visit and living there are a few active collectors.  Our timing could not be better as we were there while the world famous Basilica de la Sagrada Familia was holding service for the victims of the plane crash that took off from Barcelona destined for Dusseldorf.

We saw King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain as well as the Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy Brey.  Inside the Cathedral they shook hands with every family member and offered their condolences.

It’s most interesting as no matter where in the world we travel collectors and proprietors of rare book stores basically ask the same  questions. The two most popular are:

1) What is a good organization to join?   Or which should I avoid?

2) What’s up with those COA’s that are being printed by most everyone selling autographs.

The first question takes under a minute to answer.

The second question, I could give an educational course taking an hour or two.

Overall the trip was highly successful, made some interesting purchases, met some wonderful collectors and hope to see some of them again at the next German Autograph Club meeting in 2016.

Until next time, happy collecting!

El Fraley (1934- July 31, 2014)

It saddens me to say that El Fraley has passed away peacefully on July 31, 2014 at his home in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.  El has been hospitalized a few times during the last year yet he always had a positive attitude. He has called me many times from his hospital bed and I knew things were not going well when he recently started to talk about closing down his long time business “The History Buff.”  El opened this first class autograph gallery back in 1966 in West Palm Beach, Florida. He maintained the highest of standards and the educational information posted on his companies web site was second to none.   

I have no doubt that anyone who knew El Fraley will miss him dearly.  The photo attached I took of El shortly after he opened his autograph gallery. I consider him a dear friend.

Steve Koschal

The Koschal Historical Holy Bible
An Update

By Stephen Koschal
Julu 15th, 2014

Because of the many requests from our readers to keep them abreast of the progress in obtaining additional signatures in our Holy Bible, the following is an update.   

The first signatures to be placed in this historical Bible were the signatures of Herbert Hoover and Harry S. Truman.  Since then many signatures of U.S. Presidents, Vice Presidents and First Ladies have been added.

The most recent addition to the Bible is the signature of former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Mrs. Clinton is capable of signing her name in several ways depending on the circumstances.  On personal letters and occasionally in books, especially if Bill Clinton has already signed, she may simply sign her name as “Hillary.”

During book signings, where she may have to sign a thousand books or more you will most likely get an abbreviated version of her signature as “Hillary R. Cl.”

Recently, I was invited to attend a private function sponsored by General Electric at the Boca Raton Resort in South Florida.  I had the honor of meeting and spending a little time with Hillary Clinton. Our meeting was pre-arranged several months before and I was assured that Hillary Clinton would sign the Holy Bible.  When Mrs. Clinton signs legal documents and items she feels important, the item will be signed with her best signature. That was the case with the Holy Bible.

Since President Clinton personally inscribed and signed the Holy Bible to me on my birthday, while he was President, I requested that Hillary Clinton sign and date her signature above her husbands where there was ample room.  Former First Lady Clinton chose to ignore my request and went to the bottom of the page preferring to sign and date her name under the signature of the Dalai Lama.

The Holy Bible Signed and Dated By Hillary Clinton

I have been in the presence of many Presidents and world leaders but never have I witnessed the security surrounding Hillary Clinton.  Upon arriving at the Boca Raton Resort it was clearly noticeable the trucks of the bomb squad.  As I entered the door  Secret Service agents were everywhere. I asked directions to the room where Hillary Clinton was to be and they acted as though they did not even know she was in the building.

In seconds, I was escorted to a corner and it was explained that I need to meet a certain individual on the Hillary Clinton advance team.  The meeting was arranged for the Holy Bible to be signed which was hours before the dinner party.  After the book was signed, unbeknownst to most of the 900 persons attending the affair, a special room was put aside for previously selected people to have a private meeting with Mrs. Clinton. The room was set up as a photography studio and each of us had our photograph taken with Mrs. Clinton by a professional photographer.  Security was everywhere. Upon entering the room, women were not even allowed to bring their pocket books. They were checked at the door.  Special arrangements were made with Hillary Clinton and her advance team and the Secret Service to allow me to hold the Holy Bible while our picture was taken.

Stephen Koschal with Hillary Clinton

During our handshake, I had a few moments to talk to her privately about the Holy Bible and about the Bible she may eventually use if she is sworn in as the next President of the United States.  She never denied that she may run for the office.

Obtaining the signature of Hillary Clinton will certainly be a challenge for collectors during the next few years as the Secret Service constantly surrounds her. It may be best to secure one now from a reputable dealer as the demand grows and prices are sure to increase as 2016 comes closer.

Autograph Hobby - In Need of a Facelift

By Stephen Koschal
June 9, 2014

The autograph hobby in the United States has deteriorated to a point it is almost unrecognizable.  Unscrupulous sellers have introduced and sold millions of dollars of forgeries in the last two decades.  These sellers came from other hobbies such as the coin and stamp business and the sports industry.   Inept authenticators have basically frightened new blood from entering the hobby and in addition have chased the novice away as well.  

A rare promising new collector came to me to sell a signature of a 19th century president. He told me the autograph was slabbed and already authenticated by a high profile company.  He wanted to sell this signature and upgrade that president to a signed document.  When I told him he wasted $100.00 on one of the authenticating company scams because the signature was not genuine, he being very upset stated: “I’m out of this hobby”.

At one time autograph organizations in America was something every collector and dealer wanted to be part of.  It was excellent to be part of an organized group. It was a way to educate yourself and share your ideas with others. Just as important, autograph shows were a place that collectors could meet other collectors and dealers from around the world and build lasting relationships.

AToday, there is basically only one active club left in the United States for collectors and they do little to help educate the novice.  The others have been reduced to a website and their focus seems to be on just collecting dues. Memberships have dropped more than 50% on one and 90% on the other.  At this time, there is only one organized autograph association that is focused on educating both the beginning and  seasoned collector. It is the International Autograph Club based in Germany. The club is presently working on updating their English version of their web site. Known as the " " and their web site is

Club Logo of the ADA

Their club magazine is 72 pages and contains many articles covering all fields. Four or five writers are committed to publishing stories in English for every issue. The recent issue of the club magazine has seven educational articles written in English. Among the articles are: “Royal Family of Lesotho“, “What Do You Recommend I Collect?”, “Historical Day in Ukraine”, “Several Signatures On A Single Photo”, “Stealing Pictures From Web Sites”, “John Glenn An American Hero” and “Leaders of Hungary”.

There are many things that can be done to help promote our hobby.  We need to reach out  to others who have autographs but are unaware of any semblance of an organized hobby.

This is not just something one person can do to make change, it is something that each and every one of us must participate.

For decades, I have been an advocate of promoting the hobby of autographs. I have helped create 14 different educational courses that were taught by leading experts in our field. I was the instructor for four of them.  I have traveled the world speaking to collectors, dealers and at autograph organizations. 

I have found in every corner of the world places that sell autographs yet they have no idea there is an autograph organization they can join. Nor do they have an idea that an autograph price guide exists.  For this reason many autographs being sold overseas are either under priced or overpriced.  Bargains are to be found.

On this “News” section, several stories back,  I wrote about my successful trip promoting the hobby of autographs in Australia and New Zealand.  Just weeks ago I traveled to the Azores, England and several Baltic countries ending in Russia.  I found antique stores, stamp and coin stores and rare book stores all who handled autographs.  Not one store knew that there was a very professional autograph organization that was International but based in Germany. The “” group is growing more and more active in the United States. This is more evident as more dealers are displaying the club logo.  Sales by many of these dealers has grown because of this. Another reason is that autographs in the United States are less expensive than similar items sold by European dealers. Very recently I’ve been told by one dealer and an auction house that their sales to European collectors and dealers have skyrocketed

I’ll proceed to mention only a few of the places I visited only because they had a nice selection of signed items.

“Hooked on Books” in Dover , England had a wonderful selection of signed book. They were not set aside but filed throughout the shelves.

Steve Koschal at Hooked On Books, Dover, England

Another interesting shop is located in Rostock, Germany. The owner Susanne Thorentz, of “Norddeutsches Antiquariat” is very helpful finding signed books on her shelves and she came up with some interesting items.  This dealer had no idea there is an organized autograph collecting club she can join.

Norddeutsches Antiquariat Rare Book Shop in Rostock, Germany

One of the largest stocks of autographs I found was at a fabulous shop in Copenhagen Denmark. A collector can spend a whole day here on different floors and in the rare book room. From the front desk you must walk through a door that takes you through winding passageways of books. Seems like the room you are heading to is quite a distance away. In the rare book room are albums of autograph in all fields. Kings, Queens, historical and literary figures of all types can be found. We specifically asked for items signed by Neils Bohr. Not a problem, they produced multiple items including items inscribed to his wife. Next on our list of wants was a book signed by Hans Christian Anderson. Instantly the shop keeper produced one of Anderson’s books inscribed and signed.  Anyone traveling to Copenhagen in the future?  This is a must stop.

Vangsgaards Antikvariat, Copenhagen, Denmark

A very attractive shop is “Raamatukoi” in Tallin, Estonia. They have no special place for autographs so one must go through the shop. The main store gives you the impression it is a museum with all the show cases, however, everything is for sale. Most interesting is there other shop down the street where autographed items such as signed photo’s of celebrities and historical persons can be found while looking through some of their many bins. They have a large selection of signed art as well.

Raamatukoi Bokshop, Tallin, Estonia

Another favorite shop in Estonia was the “Shifara Art & Antique Gallery” who had a large selection of coins, stamps and autographs.  They had a nice selection of autograph photos and portraits and a favorite was a signed postcard portrait of “Two Boys Fishing On A Fence” by the noted Russian painter Nikolay Bogdanov Belski (1868-1945).  He was a portrait and landscape painter. He graduated from St. Petersburg Academy of Art and his paintings are exhibited in museums throughout Russia. He died in Berlin in 1945. The portrait being sold is well known of his and it is signed,  selling for $170.00 US.

On your next vacation, find a shop that sell autographs and promote the hobby by spreading goodwill. If more collectors/dealers became an Ambassador of Autographs, the healthier and stronger our hobby will become.

$1 Million For A Space Alien Autograph!?

By Stephen Koschal
April 29, 2014

Sixteen years later, that silly offer is still popular. 

There are people from around the world that are still fascinated about this offer. Many new to the hobby want to know the details about this offer as they have only heard bits and pieces of the story, some comments not so nice from jealous competitors.

A well known newspaper writer and celebrity himself came to me and requested I write some ridiculous story about autograph collecting for The Weekly World News.  The paper was a largely fictional news tabloid published in the United States from 1979 to 2007. It was sold in most every supermarket in America.

During the 80’s and 90’s there were many stories published about American’s being abducted and held by aliens from other planets. There were stories that “chips” were placed in them before they were released back on earth.  The idea for the story came to me. Since so many people said they had been abducted by Aliens, why not ask one for an autograph?  Pure science fiction, so I thought!

I thought offering 1 million dollars for the first autograph was funny and something I would never have to make good on.  Word got out.  Even before the August 11, 1998 publication, one very prominent American autograph dealer told me he would back up the check should this ever come true. 

Article in the Weekly World News

I had no idea what would happen after that story hit the stands. Huge canvas bags of mail started arriving at my office.  Many letters were from people who just loved the article. Some sent in cards they claimed were signed by an Alien but all were done in jest.  Many who read the article now knew where to go to sell autograph items they had in their homes. 

Tom & Cordelia Platt, UACC Director, trying to collect the $1 Million dollars 

I thought that the mail coming in was out-of-control until the story got picked up by the Russian newspapers.  An unbelievable amount of mail came in from Russia. Many letters were from Russian women, unmarried with children, sending photos of themselves looking to get married to an American who they thought had a million dollars.  Photo’s of all kinds arrived at my door, some very candid shots that cannot be described here.

Article published in Russian newspapers

I was representing the F.B.I. in Federal Court in San Diego as an expert witness against a forger of autographs. This was part of “Operation Bullpen”.  A jealous competitor from an insignificant autograph club tried to use the article in The Weekly World News  against me.  Approved by the club president, the club stooped very low when they used photoshop to publish on their website a picture of me with an Alien. The attorney representing the forger was fed  information about the article to make it appear I was crazy. When the attorney asked me if I was the one who offered $1 million dollars for an Alien autograph, the alleged forger broke into laughter. The attorney for the F.B.I. cross examined me. When the questioning revealed that I was paid to write an article for the newspaper on a subject that would attract readers, no one laughed. Based on my testimony for over an hour, the jury found the forger guilty.  Upon hearing the verdict from the jury, the forger who once laughed was now crying.  He went to prison for two years.

One would think an autograph club would do everything possible to promote the hobby and not try to help a forger go unpunished. This may be just one reason why their membership has dropped more than 50% in the last dozen years.

Today, I still get mail from those interested in the story. One recent letter states in part: “I work at a high school and one of the science teachers is very mush interested in UFOology.  Years back, you had your picture on a newspaper cover with an offer to buy an Alien autograph. I do not recall if you ever got one... I would consider it a great favor, if you could please autograph the enclosed (asked for a personal inscription). I really think he would enjoy it!”

Because of so many requests, I have decided to jot down this story and publish it on my web site for all those who still have an interest in this story. 

Recently, someone with a straight face, asked me if the offer is still good. I'll have to ask my backer!  

The Koschal Historical Holy Bible
An Update

Monday, April 21, 2014

I want to thank all of you who wrote and sent emails regarding the last update on my Holy Bible. I agree with many of you, it was not easy to convince the Dalai Lama to sign the Bible, especially after him seeing it was a Bible and politely refusing to sign it at first. 

In addition, I’m sorry to  refuse to sell the Holy Bible to all those who have requested the same.

However, in keeping my promise, I will continue to update the collectors and dealers who insisted I keep them informed on the progress of acquiring additional signatures. 

I have met President Jimmy Carter on several occasions over the years but having the former First Lady Rosalynn Carter sign the Bible has not been easy. 

Both Pat Claren and I knew in advance that we would meet the Carters on this Easter Sunday 2014 but did not expect the following. 

We arrived in Plains, Georgia at eight in the morning. We were greeted by both President Carter and Rosalynn Carter. The first thing the former president said was,  “Lets get something to eat.”  Breakfast was being served - scrambled eggs, ham, grits, biscuits, orange juice and coffee. Both President Carter and Rosalynn Carter were casually dressed. 

In attendance were six secret service agents and two state troopers.  There was also a military dog outside sniffing  around our car. 

To sit at a table, one on one with the President and First Lady for over a half hour was a memorable experience to say the least.  How many questions can one ask? My first comment to the President was: “With all the turmoil in the world today, and with your experience, would you want to be the current president sitting in The White House”? President Carter’s response: “I don’t” adding his usual smile that seems to reach both ends of the room. 

We discussed the day years ago in Washington when he signed my Holy Bible and Carter remembered it well.  At that point I felt the opportunity to ask Rosalynn Carter if she would consider signing the Holy Bible above the signature of her husband. She graciously agreed.  I took the liberty of  cautiously requesting if she would mind posing for a picture of her signing the Holy Bible and she also agreed to that request. 

Rosalynn Carter signing the Holy Bible 

Page in the Holy Bible signed by Rosalynn Carter, Jimmy Carter 
V/P Walter Mondale and New York’s Cardinal Dolan
who was on the short list for Pope. He also blessed this Holy Bible.

I was having  a problem with my camera and for some reason it would not take a picture. The screen read “memory full”. This was a great disappointment.  Pat Claren sitting elbow to elbow with President Carter took the helm of keeping the conversation going while I fumbled with the camera.  I finally figured out what was wrong and did not know where I got the courage to ask the former First Lady if she would mind getting up and posing with pen in hand making it appear she was signing the Holy Bible.  Rosalynn Carter is simply an angel and without hesitation got up from the table and did exactly what I requested. My heart is still pounding a day later as I write this.

Many things were discussed during our breakfast meeting. President Carter, in my opinion, is a student of the Bible. His knowledge of the Holy Bible is extremely impressing.

One question he asked of us was if we knew how the date for Easter Sunday is chosen? He repeated many times that this day, Easter Sunday, was the most important day of the year for all Christians.  I wonder how many reading this update know the answer? 

We did not know the answer. President Carter began to explain  in so many words. There are three factors involved.  The first equinox of the year falls around March 20.  Approximately on this day, the plane of the earth’s equator passes the center of the sun. This means day time and night time are of equal duration.  Next, look for the next full moon. After that, the first Sunday will be Easter Sunday. You can thank President Carter for this study. 

One of Pat Claren’s specialties is signatures of Noble Prize winners. This was her first occasion to actually meet someone who won a prize.  For this occasion, she specifically wore a shirt bearing the world famous peace sign.  Wouldn’t you know, President Carter picked up on that and commented on how much he admired her shirt.  

Conversations with the Carter’s were all over the map. He let us know how much he enjoys visiting Palestine and the very special places that we should visit in Israel and Palestine.  He mentioned  he is going to Paris in two weeks and discussed in detail all the world notables he will be speaking with. That trip will be followed by a trip to Russia in September.  We mentioned that we will be in Russia in two weeks.

Strangely,  discussions that morning  were about their future. It was said that President Carter’s mother and brother “Billy” are buried in the public cemetery. President Carter and the First Lady will not be buried in the same cemetery.   Their graves need to be protected. They both will be buried outside their home in Plains near the pond President Carter loves to fish. The house and property will be forever protected by the National Park Service police. This conversation was of extreme interest to Pat as she wrote a book on her visits to celebrity graves and is now working on volume two.

After a lot of small talk, to our surprise, President Carter stood up from the table and reached over and gathered Pat’s plate and mine.  He went  into the kitchen and dumped the trash in the can.

After many thanks for all the time extended to us, we shook hands.  The Carter’s went to change their clothes into something more formal. We went outside for a memorable photograph. Jimmy Carter put his arm around Pat and Mrs. Carter held my arm.

Pat Claren, President and Mrs. Carter and Steve Koschal

President Carter is now 89 years old and Rosalynn Carter is 86.  They are the most wonderful two people anyone would want to spend some time with. 


March 28, 2014

Stephen Koschal Offers New Authenticating Service

For decades Stephen Koschal has avoided offering speedy opinions when it comes to authenticating autographs. This is because of his experience more than once inside company’s who claim to authenticate autographs.  He has observed how most authenticating companies have little or no reference material in the place where they work yet give an opinion to their customer.  Not long ago I was in the back office of one of those ABC type authenticating services watching the “opinionator” respond to an authentication in just a few seconds. Some of these companies even admit on their web site they can only take a quick look at the scan before giving an opinion. The only reference the “opinionator” used was what he remembered in his own head what he thought the signature should look like.  In another instance, with another one of the high profile companies, the youthful “opinionator” was looking at an auction house web site to see if he could find a match.  When he couldn’t find a match he logged onto ebay to see if there was a similar name up for bidding.  Then you wonder, why there is such a large amount of mistakes made with these speedy authenticating services? You could do the same job.  Even worse, in most instances you will never know who at the authenticating company gave their opinion. 

The service we are now offering began because of requests from our regular loyal customers.  They are used to sending in the original item they purchased to get a  professional opinion which we still do.  After an item is purchased it takes time to pay for it and more time for the payment to clear.  It will take several days for the customer to receive the item in the mail,  and then more time is spent when the customer mails the item to me.  If the item proves to be not genuine, usually the time has expired to be able to return the item to the seller.   Collectors and dealers are purchasing more autographs via auction houses, even International ones, and have a need to get a respected opinion before they bid on the item.

No quick looks here! We do the opposite. 

For this reason we have established a “Researched Autograph Opinion”  service.  This can be done in a timely fashion, usually within hours, and our opinion will be based on researching the questioned signature. The research will be done in our facility which maintains almost 50 years of collecting and filing exemplars in every field.  On our premises, we also maintain one of the most significant  autograph reference libraries in the hobby with books on autograph collecting dating back two centuries. 

The signature you need researched must be written in ink or pencil.  Our opinion will be based on that fact.  If the scan of the signature you send us is a printed facsimile or a laser print  it may be impossible to render an educated opinion.   We will be able to determine if the signature was signed by the Autopen machine.  On multi-signed items you can choose one or several signatures to be authenticated, however, there will be charges for each signature researched.

You will receive a response that the autograph we researched is either:
Likely Authentic
Likely Not Authentic  

In some instances we may not be comfortable rendering an opinion and our response will be “inconclusive.”  In this case your payment will be credited to your next authentication. 

Fees for our “Researched Autograph Opinion”  service is only $15.00 payable to our PayPal account: 

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Benjamin Harrison
A Recent Discovery

By Stephen Koschal

Many collectors of signatures of the Presidents of the United States prefer signed examples of Executive Mansion, White House and The White House cards.  The first to sign an Executive Mansion card is Ulysses S. Grant and there is believed to be only one known genuine example. 

The second scarcest signed card are those of Benjamin Harrison. Only a few examples are known to exist.

Executive Mansion Card Signed by Benjamin Harrison

While being President for only 198 days, it is a fact that in the last forty years more Executive Mansion cards signed by James A. Garfield have appeared on the market than those signed by Benjamin Harrison.

Benjamin Harrison was President of the United States from March 4, 1889 through March 4, 1893. During this time he responded to autograph requests. His favorite medium was to sign the engraved Executive Mansion Vignette. It depicts the view of the south portico of the mansion with children on the lawn.  From my research it is believed that Harrison preferred to sign these cards over an Executive Mansion card.  Also discovered from research available at this time is that it appears Benjamin Harrison dated his signature on these vignettes when signing as President.

Harrison Signing a Executive Mansion Vignette Just 3 Days Before Leaving Office

There is another engraved view of the Executive Mansion which is of the front approach to the building. It shows many carriages and people in the wide drive.

Engraved Vignette of the Front Approach to the Executive Mansion.

Until now, I have not seen one example of the vignette of the front approach signed and dated by Harrison as President.

Many examples of both style vignette’s have been simply signed by Benjamin Harrison.  However, it is now believed that Harrison signed most of these post president.  Those who collect signatures of the presidents while in office may want to avoid Executive Mansion Vignettes not dated by Harrison.

Benjamin Harrison was in office for 48 months. After leaving the Executive Mansion he received numerous requests for his autograph.  Now it can be said that Harrison had an unlimited amount of  both engraved vignettes that he used for replying to autograph requests.  As long as 45 months after leaving office he was still using these vignettes to respond to autograph requests. He may still have been using these cards up to the time of his death on March 13, 1901.

In the letter illustrated below, over three and one half years after his presidency, Benjamin Harrison writes on December 30, 1896: “...take great pleasure in complying with the request for an autograph. I happen to have left one of the autograph cards used at the White House, showing the south front...”

1896 Letter From Benjamin Harrison Sending a Signed Vignette

Also most interesting is that Benjamin Harrison, in writing, was referring to the Executive Mansion as the White House.  It seems that the building was informally called the White House since around Thomas Jefferson’s day but the name was not officially changed until Theodore Roosevelt signed an Executive order in 1901.

In closing if collectors want to add a signature of Benjamin Harrison as President to their collections and can‘t locate an Executive Mansion card signed it may be wise to add a vignette signed and dated as President.

It is also important for dealers to be able to describe these signed cards correctly.

This story was written exclusively for Autographensammler, the quarterly magazine for the International Autograph Club based in Germany.

Autograph Hobby Coming Back!

There’s been much gloom and doom devouring the autograph hobby for more than a decade.   Some believe 50% or more of the collectors of autographs who were once active have left the hobby.  A rapid and steady decline in membership in the one or two clubs in the United States left standing is confirmation.  Just recently, one of the original  ten  dealer members finally gave up his membership in one of the clubs stating “I just don’t get a thing for my dues...the club is nothing more than a web site...”   Another major dealer said this week "...I thought they went out of business a few years back..."  Most major and respected autograph dealers are also not members of that club.

Does it make sense to anyone, why one organization would use someone from another club, who is responsible for the loss of 50%  or more of his own club’s membership, and give him a position to be in charge of growing membership?  At best, this seems like someone in management is driving on the wrong side of the road.  Makes absolutely no sense!

On another note, some people, with not the best interests of the hobby, have filed law suits against the good guys. There is no other purpose but to stop the truth from being told.   The tables are turning slowly with plenty of good news on the horizon as long as you have the gumption to hang in there.

Many believe clubs should be leaders in the hobby. What’s left are club’s with problems either having little direction or have a political agenda.  They have become places that do little more than collect dues.  For some time, others feel there is no professional club active in the United States geared toward general collectors.

On the bright side, there is one autograph organization taking the bull by the horns and that’s the International Autograph Organization with its headquarters based in Germany.  You may have seen this club’s logo displayed in dealer’s catalogs and on their web sites.  They hold a fabulous yearly convention that attract collectors and dealers from around the world.  All new members get one free advertisement in the club magazine. We have heard from some new dealers and auction houses that will be joining the club shortly.

Another bright side is regarding autograph authentication.  Who can deny the company who has the most accuracy in authenticating autographs is with out a doubt Isitreal. Their team of experts is second to none.  Each member of the team can be called an expert in their field. Our hats off to Markus Brandes, Rolf Ramseier, Andreas Wiemer, Ralph Hahn, Peter Mueller and Florian Noller for holding this distinction.  I have personally sat with this group while authentications were taking place.  I witnessed this team of experts verbally dissecting an autograph.  Fully discussing the autograph amongst each other before  a decision was reached.  This is so refreshing to experience as compared to what goes on elsewhere.  Truly educated opinions from real experts are available at

Additional Bright Side News

Have you seen Issue One, Volume One, 2014 of the new Autograph Quarterly  magazine?   The magazine has new ownership and a new look.  Autograph dealer and show promoter Kevin Martin has purchased the magazine from London based collector Samuel Xidas. Autograph Quarterly  is called the only in-print magazine in the hobby.  Subscribe to the magazine if you want to participate in keeping this hobby of ours healthy.   The new publisher promises to bring in the timeliest news and the greatest writers in their field in each issue.  It is evident the magazine is starting out strong. It has new advertisers, many more then when the magazine was previously owned.

Issue number one contains eight different stories touching on different areas of collecting. Included are several Regular Features, Tips for the Trade, What’s Hot and What’s Not, Auction News, Exemplars and more.

For a subscription log onto

UACC Should Refund Buyers
for the Photograph they sold
of the Kissing Sailor in Times Square

For several years, the UACC (Universal Autograph Collectors Club) has been offering collectors what they describe as a signed 8”X10” photo of Carl Muscarello, “The Kissing Sailor.”   These have been selling for $25.00.

The problem is that it has been well known that Carl Muscarello is not the Kissing Sailor.
At least 10 men, including Carl Muscarello, came forward after the war claiming they were the sailor in the Times Square kissing photograph. Each of them had to know that they were not telling the truth.  Why the UACC continues to sell the photo signed by Muscarello as the Kissing Sailor is baffling.

For several years it has been known that the Kissing Sailor is Glenn McDuffie.   McDuffie was a mail carrier and semi-professional baseball player. Six years ago a forensic artist for the Houston Police Department was able to identify McDuffie as the young sailor leaning over the woman and kissing her in Times Square, New York. The artist was able to match muscles, ears and some other features of 80 year old McDuffie to the sailor in the original image.  The forensic artist is named Lois Gibson who is listed in the 2005 Guinness Book of World Records for helping police identify more suspects then any other forensic artist.  In addition, McDuffie had passed several polygraph tests.
Glenn McDuffie is the sailor in the famed VJ Day kiss in New York’s Times Square that gave rise to one of the 20th century’s most noted photographs. He passed away on March 9, 2014. He was 86 years old.  Signed photographs of McDuffie as the kissing sailor are scarce.  Those who purchased photo’s from the UACC signed by Muscarello should be  asking for a refund.

Note:  The original blue Navy Jersey that Glenn McDuffie wore when he kissed Edith Shain in New Square, New York City is presently owned by Todd Mueller Autographs. At Mueller’s request Glenn McDuffie signed the Jersey as well.

Stephen Koschal Donates Papers
To Willamette University

Stephen Koschal, autograph dealer and authenticator has been personal friends with Senator Mark O. Hatfield for over 20 years.  Koschal has helped Senator Hatfield build up his autograph and rare book collection.

The two spent many hours together in Hatfield’s home in Georgetown and also in his Senate Office in the Senate Hart Building and his office in the U.S. Capitol Building.

Koschal was instrumental in advising Hatfield of the value of Hatfield’s personal library and his outstanding collection of letters from several presidents. It was Koschal who advised Hatfield early on to start donating some of his papers on a yearly basis to Willamette University.  Koschal would appraise the papers and signed the appropriate Federal Tax forms.

Senator Hatfield’s main focus on collecting was anything about his mentor Herbert Hoover.  It was Koschal’s focus to see that Hatfied acquired  signed books of every book written by the former president and books signed by earlier presidents.

Senator Hatfield was Chairman of Ronald Reagan’s Inauguration Committee. During Inauguration Day a limousine pulled up to the U.S. Capitol Building and Senator Hatfield and Ronald Reagan exited the limo and walked up the stairs to the Capitol.  The books Hatfield was carrying were books belonging to Stephen Koschal.  After the swearing in ceremonies, a luncheon was held.  Hatfield dined at a table of ten which included President Ronald Reagan.  Reagan signed and dated those books during that luncheon, they were the first signatures of Ronald Reagan as President of the United States.

Senator Hatfield was a very generous man. Some of the gifts he gave Koschal were a handwritten Presidential “Oath of Office” by Ronald Reagan on Reagan’s finest White House stationery. A photograph was taken by the White House photographer of Reagan writing out the Oath of Office.  Hours later, Hatfield went to the Office of the Vice-President and convinced George H.W. Bush to write out the Vice-Presidential Oath of Office on his finest stationery.

There can be many stories told by Stephen Koschal of lunches in the Senate Cafeteria, about the many private subway rides between the Senate Office Building and the Capitol and the many private tours behind the scenes in the Capitol not open to the public.

Senator Hatfield was a very religious person, a great human being and a very dear friend. It is for this reason that Stephen Koschal has donated his 20 plus years correspondence from Senator Mark Hatfield to the Mark O. Hatfield Library at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

Stephen Koschal’s Holy Bible, An Update

February 24, 2014

So many of our friends both here and abroad have enquired about the current status of our Holy Bible. This Bible has been signed by many Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the United States beginning with Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman..

So many of our friends both here and abroad have enquired about the current status of our Holy Bible. This Bible has been signed by many Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the United States beginning with Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman..

Since we last wrote about the Bible, we met with the Dalai Lama. He knew well in advance that he agreed to sign a book for us.  What he did not know was that the book he would asked to sign would be a Holy Bible. When we got together and the Bible was placed in front of him  for his signature, he appeared to be in a quandary.  He looked up and reverently said “I do not sign books I did not author.”  It was explained to him that many United States Presidents and Vice-Presidents who take their “Oath of Office” on a Holy Bible have signed what he holds in his hands.  After being shown all of the signatures he stated: “I want to add my name to these important people.”   After changing his mind, the Dalai Lama once again looked through the pages and chose the one where   President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore signed their names.  The Dalai Lama wrote: “with prayers, Dalai Lama, 2010, 10.5”.

It is believed that this is the only Holy Bible that the Dalai Lama has ever signed.

Not long ago history was made. On the 28th of February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI announced to the world that he would resign.  He became the first Pope to resign in almost 600 years.  It wasn’t long before a short list of names arose of those who were thought to have a good chance of replacing Pope Benedict.  One of the papal contenders was New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan.  We had a small window of time to contact Cardinal Dolan before he flew to Rome. We were successful to get through to the Cardinal and he agreed to not only sign our Bible but to Bless it as well.

Cardinal Dolan’s humor is known world wide. Dolan downplayed his chances of succeeding Pope Benedict and in Rome he said to reporters: “I’ve got a better chance following A-Rod at third base for the Yankees then following Benedict XVI  as the Bishop of Rome”.

Dolan was appointed Archbishop of New York by Pope Benedict XVI and Time Magazine named Dolan one of the “100 Most Influential People In The World”.

Many thanks to all of you who have requested an update on the Bible.

Steve Koschal

Collecting Celebrity Hair
A Very Dangerous Pursuit

There have been many articles written on the Internet warning collectors about the many dangers of collecting hair supposedly from the heads  of famous people.

Many became instantly educated after a large amount of  hair reportedly from the head of Elvis Presley was sold at a major Chicago auction. After DNA testing, it was proven the hair was not Elvis Presley's.

The popular scam of selling questionable celebrity hair seems to be easy money for the quick buck artists.  You don’t have to be an expert on hair, and who really an be, to understand how easily it is to get ripped off.

All one has to do is study carefully the wording of how the seller describes the item. Case in point.

The only person proven to have hair clippings of Neil Armstrong is Todd Mueller Autographs located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He purchased the hair directly from Armstron's barber.  When questioned by some jealous competitors, Mueller produced his cancelled check made payable to the barber for the hair. 

One seller in England claims he has hair from Neil Armstrong.  This seller describes the hair he has this way.  "Neil Armstrong Authentic Strand of Hair for Sale."   He’s asking $75.  How does anyone know, including the seller, that the hair he is offering is genuine?
Bottom line, he can't!

Here’s what he has to say when offering the hair. "Included with the hair is a copy of a sworn testimony from Neil Armstrong’s barber declaring the hair to be genuine."   The testimony is a copy!  Thousands of copies could be made. And what was used to make the copy? Another copy?    Matter of fact, anyone can now be a seller of what they claim to be Neil Armstrong’s hair.  They can make more copies from the sellers copy and attach anyone’s hair to it.  This item can  be offered in unlimited quantity over decades.

The seller goes on to say: "This is a highly sought after piece of history with impeccable provenance."

Educated collectors know well that a copy of a statement from an unnamed source, means absolutely nothing. To be insulted by saying this is impeccable provenance only adds to the insult.

The seller continues: "This approx. 1/16th piece of Neil Armstrong hair is presented on a display card perfect for framin". 

What collectors are being offered, is a very small piece of hair (basically can be from any one's head) placed on a card that has nothing to do with Armstrong or his barber. The card comes with a copy of a testimony.   Impeccable provenance?  It is nothing more than a minefield of BS.

The above not only illustrates how an uneducated collector can be tricked into buying what they were sold is Neil Armstrong's hair, but they can also fall into a similar trap when hair is offered from the heads of other celebrities.

Autograph Hobby Alive Once Again

It seems for a period of time, the hobby of collecting autographs had a major turn down.  The lack of autograph events where collectors and dealers were able to mingle and trade stories and exchange educational information became almost non-existent. Some autograph organizations which were once popular seem to fade away. Memberships have dropped to record lows. The influx of  some undesirables selling forgeries, others enhancing autographs and knowingly mis-describing them has become routine.

The hobby gets a very bad score and adding to that is  the involvement of authenticating companies that simply are unable to authenticate an autograph. This has brought the hobby to new lows. Proof is only to read of the mistakes made by these groups where the basic rules of authenticating have been broken. Passing secretarial signatures as genuine are a regular occurrence not to mention the constant failing of genuine signatures.  Passing printed signatures, passing machine signed signatures and quite often passing rubber stamped signatures as genuine is simply not acceptable.

Dealers and some auction houses are getting pressure (strong arm/ mafia type tactics) from some of these authenticating companies by having their genuine autographs fail after the collector makes their purchase. Unless the dealer or auction house pays the authenticating company to authenticate their material in advance of the sale, this unsavory practice will continue. 

We need to get our hobby back from the charlatans who have invaded and polluted the hobby.

One way of doing so, is for those who want to see this once great hobby survive, is to promote it with other people who also have good intentions.

In my recent travels to India, I have met quite a few who have shown an interest in promoting the hobby.  It seems no matter where I travel promoting autograph collecting,  those I have spoken with all ask similar questions.

The question most asked is: “Now a days, who can I trust?”  It was even more evident on my recent trip  through the South Pacific. I traveled to the Hawaiian Islands, Fiji, Samoa, New Caledonia, Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand taking to collectors and dealers.

It is most important for all of us, that have good intentions for the hobby, to form mutually beneficial partnerships.  A good start is by joining an autograph organization that is alive and well and void of politics and corruption.  My recommendation is the wonderful International autograph club called “AdA1986” which is headquartered in Germany. Their membership is worldwide.  The question above was “Who can I trust?” can simply be answered by looking for the Ada club logo before doing business with any autograph dealer.  You will find each dealer very friendly and knowledgable and honest.

Steve Koschal at a Rare Book & Autographs Shop in Auckland, New Zealand

Look for this logo before choosing an autograph dealer

The ADA, magazine which comes out quarterly, has articles in English.  Matter of fact, the next issue will have two articles by me, one is about Marlene Dietrich and the other titled “Leaders of America”.

Cover of Autographensammler,  AdA club’s magazine

The ADA and its members have been very successful spreading awareness of the hobby throughout the globe.  Because they stand out, they gain membership loyalty which inspires members, like myself, to promote the club.

Members are people, not numbers and this group goes out of its way to build personal relationships through their meetings and dealer interaction with collectors.

In the meantime, I will continue to promote the hobby of autographs. My next trip will be this May. I will be visiting  Helsingborg and Stockholm, Sweden,  Copenhagen, Denmark, Tallinn, Estonia, Helsinki, Finland and St. Petersburg, Russia.   I especially look forward to meeting some collectors and sellers of autographs in Russia. During the last several years there has been an influx of forgeries and stolen political documents coming from Russia to the United States.  Russian authorities are watching dealers inventories on the Internet.  I recently spoke for almost an hour at the last AdA meeting in Berlin regarding these issues and replevin see I have also been working with law enforcement and Homeland Security regarding this subject.

All collectors or autograph dealers who may want to meet with me on my next trip are invited to email me at for an appointment.

Stephen Koschal ~ Autograph Services
Serving Collectors, Libraries, Institutions, Autograph Galleries and Dealers Since 1967

7155 Sand Crest View, Colorado Springs, CO 80923 USA ~ Phone (561) 315-3622 ~