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Author Topic:   Cosmonaut autographs and fakes
Alex Panchenko
New Member


posted 01-03-2003 11:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alex Panchenko   Click Here to Email Alex Panchenko     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear Collectors,
Thank you for your comments.I would respond to concerns of collector from New York- first posting under name GW.
On my site in section "Beware Fakes" I've clearly indicated that 99% of faked autographs I see around on online auctions and some new dealers refered to names of Gagarin, Komarov,Belyayev,Volkov, Dobrovolskiy, Patsayev, Levchenko, Tereshkova.And I know (not only suspect) that simular situation with a number of American astronaut autographs including Armstrong, Young, Collins, Grissom.
I didn't indicated that 99% of all cosmonaut autographs are faked, but pointed to rarest and most desireable.
Advice to new collectors was to be careful with "sweet offers" on these specific names and also on group signed subjects.
Realistic and experienced collectors do not have question about Soyuz-11 cosmonauts.No matter how much you want to get them and how much you are ready to spend- there are practicaly almost no chances to get Dobrovolskiy and Patsayev.Hundreds of museums in Russia and worldwide targeted these autographs since early 70-s.Thousends of collectors with all kind of money are searching for these autographs and same for Gagarin, Komarov,Volkov, Levchenko and Tereshkova.
Regarding Soyuz-11 cosmonauts.Only Volkov autographed items before this tragic flight.Dobrovolskiy and Patsayev didn't sign anything.I have this clear statement from several personal conversations with Alexei Leonov, Valeriy Kubasov and Pyotr Kolodin (main team Soyuz-11, wich was replaced by back ups at very last moment).
Buran test pilot and MIR cosmonaut-researcher Anatoliy Levchenko didn't have much life time for autographs.Few months after mission he died.
Vladimir Komarov- one of hardest to get.It was also relatively short period between his Voskhod-1 flight and Soyuz-1.
Same with Vladislav Volkov (from october 1969 till june 1971 he didn't sign much).
Pavel Belyayev autographed materials within 5 years of his lifetime after Voskhod-2.
Valentina Tereshkova was included into this list because she's very difficult to sign anything not only to collectors, but also by requests of early fellows-cosmonauts. I wanted exclusive photos of her in Vostok flight suit to be autographed and by my request a number of early cosmonauts tried to arrange it with her.Didn't work.
Same time demand on her autographs still high-she's a First woman-cosmonaut.
And, finaly Yuri Gagarin and Chief Designer Sergei Korolev- most important pieces targeted by every collector.Remember, that not each Rusian space museum has Korolev's autograph.But Yuri Gagarin signed large number of subjects between 1961 and 1968.People who received his autograph in person normaly pass it to children and grand-children as family treasure.In 60-s was no dealers and no market of cosmonaut autographs in the USSR at all.Nobody asked Yuri Gagarin to sign 50-100 subjects for future sale as myself ask a friend Alexei Leonov and several other cosmonauts today.
Yes, there are genuine Gagarin signatures show up time to time.But more of them come from private collections.
And I would recommend to be careful with mentioned names #1.If you want to have peace of mind, find the way to graphic expert to check what you get first.
Ones I was offered by one of Moscow dealer 100 cards signed by Gagarin along with hundreds of other autographs of early cosmonauts.I could say for sure that half of them was real and it was a reason to think about Gagarin too.Why not? The guy wanted only $20 per each Gagarin.I gave him down payment for all of them, took one and asked to hold others for couple days.For relatively high fees to graphic expert I've found out not only that signature was fake, but even age of fresh ink used for autograph.
Was no surprise to see those pictures two months after on Ebay.
It will take so long to describe each situation of faked crew pictures, when some signatures are "added" to real ones.
General concern I've expressed on my site, but I do not want you to get an impression that everything is faked around.Cosmonauts sign easy in most of cases and I do not recall that personal requests were ever ignored.
Regarding dealers.In Cosmonaut Autographs Guide book very well indicated- "Buy from an established, knowledgeable dealer who is in position to provide solid provenance".I am a dealer myself and I do place time to time items on Ebay too.This is relatively new marketplace and hard to give characteristics to others.If I am a buyer, I would have concerns if seller is listing anything from everything and next to Gagarin autograph listed Matryoshka dolls, or newly made souvenir watches "Komandirskiye" listed as "military" etc etc.It tells something about general origin of subjects from seller.
And reasonable question would be- where does he get materials selling Gagarin for couple hundred dollars, while from good direct source (early cosmonauts, friends of Gagarin family etc.) it cost twices more.
Sorry that I am taking long time to read.Feel free to contact me by e-mail or directly by phone (818)999-1134 with questions on this area.

New Member


posted 01-05-2003 08:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gw   Click Here to Email gw     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mr. Panchenko. Thanks for the reply. Sorry about my misreading regarding the 99% figure. My apologies. Thanks for all the information, excellent and extremely useful.


Posts: 2113
From: Staffs, UK
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 01-05-2003 10:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm pleased to see Alex's response.

I have bought many items from him and know his trustworthy source for Russian spaceflight memorablia.

I have also collected rare cosmonaut items (including autographed items) brought across to UK by several flown Russian cosmonauts who have been on educational and promotional tours to places like Jodrell Bank (not far from me ). For instance,Valentina Tereshkova (with Helen Sharman),Alex Volkov,Georgi Grechko and several others. One of my better items collected this way is a Group 1 Cosmonaut photo autographed by all the members (Gagarin,Titov,Tereshkova etc) . The photo was originally signed for a manager of the Lliv Bus Factory that the group visited. This factory made the transport bus that takes the cosmonauts to the launch site (the one with the orange band down its side) .

But,equally, I think I was 'done' over two medallions I collected from a separate source based in Czechoslovakia. I am now more than certain that these are repros and never saw the "original" minting. They are still interesting and do look like the original.

The majority of my Russian medallion collection have since come from reputable sources like Alex Panchenko and from the visiting cosmonauts themselves - who brought them over specially on request on there return trips to UK

Also, the reputably signed artwork and postal covers from cosmonauts like Leonov and Tereshkova on prints like The Seagull from Novaspace.


Posts: 5952
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 01-06-2003 03:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, great to hear Alex's response ... shows again he's really the N 1 source for Soviet & Russian space memorabilia ... I have been buying books and autographed photos from him in the past 3 or 4 years and always got 100% flawless & correct transaction ...
By the way the new lay-out of hi webpages is superb !


Posts: 3398
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 01-06-2003 05:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd be interested to hear from Alex how "good" the Gagarin fakes are. I regularly use the Sanabria guide to help authenticate autographs, but are the Gagarin (and other) fakes recognisable by any features in the same way that fake Armstrongs often have obvious features? I can spot a really bad Komarov or Tereshkova, but what worries me is the "good" fakes.
Apart from the Sanabria guide has anyone (Alex?) though about producing a "fake" guide, a bit like the autopen guide here on collectspace?



Posts: 503
From: Highland Heights, KY
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 02-25-2003 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nojnj   Click Here to Email nojnj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you regarding your comments on the authenticity of Cosmonaut signatures. I found this "authentic" Soyuz 11 crew autographed card offering.

I would appreciate you thoughts regarding this offering.
thank you.



Posts: 503
From: Highland Heights, KY
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 02-25-2003 09:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nojnj   Click Here to Email nojnj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A more direct link to the above mentioned item.

[This message has been edited by nojnj (edited February 25, 2003).]

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 42988
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-25-2003 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would be very skeptical of autographs by Dobrovolsky and Patsayev. Unless its an official document, I do not see how any dealer could claim 100% authenticity on pieces signed by the entire Soyuz 11 crew.

I suggest reading what Bob McLeod had to say as part of his "Rarest of Them All" article for this site:


Posts: 503
From: Highland Heights, KY
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 02-25-2003 10:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nojnj   Click Here to Email nojnj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have seen the article you refer to. As always the CollectSpace website is absolutely my best site to keep you up to date in these matters. Please keep up the wonderful job!



Posts: 503
From: Highland Heights, KY
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 03-05-2003 10:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nojnj   Click Here to Email nojnj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just wanted to bring to everyone's attention the very impressive offerings by Maksuta on ebay. I have dealt with him previously and found him to be very reliable.

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