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  Is this a real Neil Armstrong autograph?

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Author Topic:   Is this a real Neil Armstrong autograph?
Henk Boshuijer
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Posts: 385
From: Netherlands
Registered: May 2007

posted 01-18-2011 05:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henk Boshuijer   Click Here to Email Henk Boshuijer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I came across this autograph of Neil Armstrong and I wonder if this is a real one.

Lunar rock nut
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From: Oklahoma city, Oklahoma U.S.A.
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posted 01-18-2011 07:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is that signed on rough matting?

mjanovec
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From: Midwest, USA
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posted 01-19-2011 04:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The signature lacks any type of natural-looking flow to it. Unless it's signed on an extremely irregular surface (that would make it hard to write on), then I'd have to say there is very little chance this is authentic.

capoetc
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From: Newnan GA (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 01-19-2011 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Agreed. This signature is atypical enough that, barring some kind of provenance showing Neil Armstrong actually signing the item, it would be very difficult to conclude that it is authentic.

This will be an ongoing challenge going forward, I think. Because of the glut of Armstrong forgeries that are in the marketplace, any Armstrong signed item must be carefully scrutinized.

For what it's worth, my advice to collectors (especially new collectors) would be as follows:

  1. If you can find an Armstrong signature that is certain to be authentic (Calle print, Naval Aviation in Space...), then that would be a wise choice since there is no authenticity question.

  2. If you can find a signed litho, with or without inscription, accompanied by the original letter from his secretary (and preferably, the envelope it came in), then the odds are good you have an authentic item.

  3. Barring the ability to find 1 or 2 above, try to find an inscribed litho. It is much more difficult to forge am inscribed Armstrong litho, so the chances are better that you will be able to find an authentic one with few questions regarding authenticity.

  4. If you must have an uninscribed Armstrong litho or other signed item, then do the best you can to find one with all the normal, typical traits of an Armstrong signature. This is no guarantee, but will reduce the potential for future questions being asked.
If the item has an atypical signature, even with an assurance from the seller that he personally saw Armstrong sign the item, I would counsel extreme caution. It might be authentic, it might not, but the risk is much too high to spend the money that an Armstrong will cost you for a forgery or a "suspected forgery".

Many (most?) autograph collectors just want to have an Armstrong autograph in their collection -- many are not really thinking all that much about how much it will be worth in the future. But you can rest assured, plenty of forgers are out there looking to prey on collectors who really, truly want to believe that they can buy an authentic Armstrong at a reduced price -- or, sometimes, even at a premium price. I have seen obvious forgeries in the recent past offered at premium prices, perhaps under the belief that people will think it must be authentic because the price is so high.

Buyer beware!

stsmithva
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From: Fairfax, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 01-19-2011 03:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is that supposed to be Armstrong's handwriting below, as if he'd switched to a different pen to note his flown air/spacecraft? Because those are some very European-style 1's.

SpaceSteve
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Posts: 344
From: San Antonio TX, USA
Registered: Apr 2004

posted 01-19-2011 06:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceSteve   Click Here to Email SpaceSteve     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by stsmithva:
Is that supposed to be Armstrong's handwriting below, as if he'd switched to a different pen to note his flown air/spacecraft? Because those are some very European-style 1's.

Note also the difference in the 1 in "X-15" and the 1's in "Apollo 11". Further, why would he write the Gemini flight # in Roman numerals, and the Apollo flight number in Arabic.

I just enlarged the photo to take a better look, and noticed that the line which represents the "rms" in Armstrong is connected to the bottom of what looks at first glance to be the lower part of the first stroke in the "A". Basically, that line begins by lengthening the first stroke in the "A" downward, before turning to the right.

Personally, I don't think there's any chance of it being real.

mjanovec
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Posts: 3627
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 01-19-2011 06:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceSteve:
Further, why would he write the Gemini flight # in Roman numerals, and the Apollo flight number in Arabic.

Some astronauts, like McDivitt are actually adament that the numbering for Gemini missions was done with Roman numerals, while Apollo missions were done with Arabic numerals. So whenever McDivitt adds mission details to his signature, he uses the correct numbering style.

Not that this does anything to change my mind on the authenticity of the piece in question here. I still believe this is a likely forgery.

Henk Boshuijer
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Posts: 385
From: Netherlands
Registered: May 2007

posted 01-20-2011 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henk Boshuijer   Click Here to Email Henk Boshuijer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I found out that the Armstrong signature is authentic.

Mr. Armstrong signed his name on a table. He did this in The Hague, Netherlands during his visit last November. There is a picture of Mr. Armstrong signing the table.

I guess he is not used to signing anymore which makes his signature look a little wobbly.

george9785
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Posts: 196
From: Burnaby, BC, Canada
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 01-20-2011 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for george9785   Click Here to Email george9785     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You may need a higher resolution pic then the one on that link. While I realize that the one on the pic in the link was incomplete, the two signatures look quite different to me. Are you certain the original picture you posted is of the same item?

Henk Boshuijer
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Posts: 385
From: Netherlands
Registered: May 2007

posted 01-20-2011 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henk Boshuijer   Click Here to Email Henk Boshuijer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am sure it is the same item. When you go to the Facebook page you have the option to download the picture in high resolution. There are other pictures as well that show the signature together with Armstrong.

george9785
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From: Burnaby, BC, Canada
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 01-20-2011 03:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for george9785   Click Here to Email george9785     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Given Armstrong's age, the writing position and writing surface, I don't fault the opinions received. It does go to show however that you should never rely on signature analyses alone (where possible anyway).

MarylandSpace
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posted 01-20-2011 04:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is the table now for sale or parts of the table?

JasonB
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posted 01-20-2011 07:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
He signed something without the world ending so here's hoping he loosens his signing habits a little. I'm in an incredibly optimistic and fairy tale mood today.

Also someone needs to let Neil know that I have a "tradition" of people signing whatever I want that he also needs to follow. I'll even let him sign my front porch to break the ice and make him feel more comfortable

mjanovec
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From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 01-20-2011 08:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Certainly, it is a surprise to see those photos of him signing the table. It appears the position he was in (standing up, leaning over a table) wasn't ideal for signing, resulting a very irregular-looking signature. And his age may be catching up with his fine motor skills too.

That's why provenance is so important in cases where the signature is atypical. Without any provenance, one could easily conclude that this was a possible forgery. Or, at the very least, one could (rightly) say that the signature was a poor investment (if it was for sale), because it would always be questionable. With credible provenance, however, it's a different story.

Lunar rock nut
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From: Oklahoma city, Oklahoma U.S.A.
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 01-20-2011 09:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Caught in the act. Too cool.

mjanovec
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From: Midwest, USA
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posted 01-20-2011 09:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lunar rock nut:
Caught in the act. Too cool.

Caught in the act of being cautious? You betcha.

Any good authenticator will always err on the side of caution. It's better to reject an authentic autograph than to green light a forgery. If you can't understand that concept, you're in the wrong hobby.

fredtrav
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From: Birmingham AL USA
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posted 01-20-2011 09:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark you are certainly right to err on the side of caution. I doubt any good authenticator would have looked at the signature and said it was definitely genuine (at least I hope not).

I took the comment about being caught in the act as a comment on the picture of Armstrong signing the table, an act that is surprising to say the least.

Scott
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: May 2001

posted 01-20-2011 10:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let's just say the photo of Armstrong signing this one helped it A LOT.

fredtrav
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Posts: 1069
From: Birmingham AL USA
Registered: Aug 2010

posted 01-20-2011 10:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I certainly hope this is still at Space Expo and is not up for sale. He quit signing because of the commercialization of his autographs. If he is starting to sign a few things I bet he would stop again if they go right on the autograph market.

Of course to be completely cynical photos are becoming less and less reliable as provenance as photoshop can alter just about anything in a picture.

mjanovec
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Posts: 3627
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 01-20-2011 11:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is anecdotal evidence that Armstrong has never completely stopped signing. True, he has stopped signing for space fans that he doesn't know personally...but I have heard of him signing the occasional signature for people that he knows and trusts.

Lunar rock nut
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Posts: 691
From: Oklahoma city, Oklahoma U.S.A.
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 01-21-2011 06:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by fredtrav:
I took the comment about being caught in the act as a comment on the picture of Armstrong signing the table, an act that is surprising to say the least.
Exactly! Mark my comment was not directed at you in any way shape or form. When I am ready to buy an Armstrong I will dog you and Scott to the ends of the earth before I lay out one dime!

I think this should open a new discussion. What motivated Mr. Armstrong to sign this table and how did they break him down. Was it waterboarding, a family member held hostage, what? (Just kidding).

capoetc
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Posts: 1740
From: Newnan GA (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 01-21-2011 08:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the photos, it appears as though others (perhaps space expo special guests) have also signed the table, and the signatures have a small photo of the signer situated next to them.

EDIT: From the caption to one of the photos: "... Following tradition, he even signed Space Expo's table - though they had to take the whole table to Den Haag!"

I would STRONGLY encourage folks to not harass Mr. Armstrong for autographs -- he signed for many years, he decided to stop because he was clearly being taken advantage of. Let the man have some peace.

mjanovec
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Posts: 3627
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 01-21-2011 08:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lunar rock nut:
Mark my comment was not directed at you in any way shape or form.

Sorry Terry! I misread your post after the end of a LONG day. My apologies...

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