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  Armstrong signed item: Do I/how to get COA?

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Author Topic:   Armstrong signed item: Do I/how to get COA?
LM1
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posted 09-09-2011 06:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I discovered a Neil Armstrong signed item that I did not even know that I had. I completely cleaned out my storeroom last weekend and placed everything in over 40 strong shopping bags. I was sorting through each bag carefully when I saw the Armstrong autograph. I have been examining it under strong lights and magnifying glasses. It looks real to me.

I have never had such an item before and I do not know what to do. Do I need to get a COA? If so, how do I ship it? I am a long time collector, but a novice at having anything valuable.

The signature is on a professionally made program and the pressure of the autograph can be felt on the back (P.2). I have compared it with every Armstrong autograph on eBay. What do I do now?

It is dated 1974. It could be a forgery, but why would someone forge a signature and then send it to me over 30 years ago (1980) as a gift (which I misplaced for 30 years)?

Which brings to mind two questions:

  • What percentage of COAs are mistaken/wrong?

    And a related question -

  • How can you safely mail a valuable item to either the authentication service or the buyer of the item? Do I need a witness that it was actually placed in the envelope?

Tykeanaut
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posted 09-09-2011 06:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like your Christmas present may have arrived early!

stsmithva
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posted 09-09-2011 06:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That sounds like a nice find. If you remember getting it as a gift 30 years ago (when he was still signing and forgeries were much less common) then there's certainly a good chance it's genuine. Is the program for an event he attended, and did the person who sent it to you say it was signed in person?

A COA shouldn't be necessary if you are planning on keeping it, unless you really need the peace of mind that it's genuine. If you are planning on selling it a COA could be a good selling point, but only if it's NOT from one of those ill-regarded COA mills. I believe Scott Cornish is pretty much universally regarded as the tops for this.

Scott
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posted 09-09-2011 06:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you very much for the kind words, but I have left authentication. I made the decision about a month ago. Robert and a few other friends have known about it, but I haven't mentioned it publicly until now.

The last auction I completely vetted is the upcoming September R&R Space Autograph & Artifact auction (I screened the autograph portion). R&R and I put a lot of work into it.

liftoff1
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posted 09-09-2011 07:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for liftoff1   Click Here to Email liftoff1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why not post an image of the signature and give the members a chance to voice their opinions?

LM1
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posted 09-09-2011 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I will post a HR image of the autograph and the program today ASAP. I was up late last night worrying about this discovery.

Yes, the person who sent it to me in 1980 said that Armstrong signed it for him and yes, Armstrong was a speaker at the event. He signed in blue ink on the program right next to the date. Apparently he signed several items for this person.

LM1
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posted 09-09-2011 10:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a photo or link to the 1974 program and the Armstrong autograph. Opinions and advice needed.

liftoff1
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From: cumberland, wisconsin
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posted 09-09-2011 12:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for liftoff1   Click Here to Email liftoff1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very nice piece and the signature is as good as they get.

Spacefest
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posted 09-09-2011 01:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Serendipitous, also, that the event happened on the 5-year anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11. The sig's good, but you should not cut it out, lest someone might read it as "old fart"

spaced out
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posted 09-09-2011 04:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks good, although don't expect to get WSS type money for this kind of signed ephemera.

You're probably looking at maybe $500-750 for an item like this, although maybe my references are out of date.

liftoff1
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posted 09-09-2011 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for liftoff1   Click Here to Email liftoff1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Almost, Kim...the program date missed the 5-year anniversary by one month.

mjanovec
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posted 09-09-2011 06:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Scott:
Thank you very much for the kind words, but I have left authentication. I made the decision about a month ago. Robert and a few other friends have known about it, but I haven't mentioned it publicly until now.
I know your job was often a thankless one, Scott. So I would just like to say THANK YOU for your years of service in this hobby. I can't imagine how many people would have purchased bad autographs if it hadn't been for your expertise. I don't think many people realize what a tough job you had.

On a personal note, I will treasure all of the advice and pointers you have given to me over the years. Best wishes in your future pursuits!

Scott
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posted 09-09-2011 06:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you Mark!

LM1
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posted 09-10-2011 07:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do I need a COA? PSA/DNA has a value of $1,500 on any Armstrong autograph and their fee is therefore $150 + a fee for encapsulation. Should this large item be encapsulated like a baseball card? Is PSA/DNA a good service? Would encapsulization ruin the item?

gliderpilotuk
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posted 09-10-2011 07:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don't bother with a CofA: it's clear that this is an authentic signature and would pass muster with any auction house.

And certainly don't encapsulate: that restricts how you can present it and could damage it. If you're worried about preservation I'd seek advice from a conservator, but as the signature appears to be ballpoint it will preserve well in any case.

If you frame it, use acid free materials and anti-UV glass; if you file it, use a PVC-free wallet.

astrobock
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posted 09-10-2011 12:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astrobock     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What's more important about this post is Scott Cornish leaving the field of astronaut autograph authentication. I think he deserves a round of applause for teaching us so much... and his many years of service.

Dougin SoCA
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posted 09-10-2011 01:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dougin SoCA   Click Here to Email Dougin SoCA     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One thing that all of us will encounter someday is death, and what happens to all of the stuff we've collected. Having solid COA's will help our beneficiaries to at least have some idea what we are leaving behind. We all know the stories and histories on the stuff we've collected, but to someone else trying to figure out what to do with this I believe a trustworthy COA on something like an Armstrong would be helpful.

How many one-of-a-kind and truly collectible items have been simply discarded by family and friends who have no idea what they were.

mjanovec
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posted 09-10-2011 01:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think COAs will necessarily tell your family what each item is worth. The better option is to create a record of your collection so there is no guesswork as to the significance and value of each item. Either create a spreadsheet or place a note in the sleeve with each item. Include details such as:

Item: Neil Armstrong signed white space suit litho
Purchase price: $650
When/where purchased: 2001, eBay seller John Smith
Notes: Signed in blue ink, personalized to Mary
Estimated current value: $1200-$1600 (2011)

Take a minute or two to do that for your most valuable items. Not only will that serve as a guide to your family, but it will be a convenient reminder to yourself of how you obtained each item you own.

spaced out
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posted 09-10-2011 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM1:
Do I need a COA? PSA/DNA has a value of $1,500 on any Armstrong autograph and their fee is therefore $150 + a fee for encapsulation. Should this large item be encapsulated like a baseball card? Is PSA/DNA a good service? Would encapsulization ruin the item?

A COA from Scott would have been worth something, but a COA from a non-specialist is worth very little.

There's no set value for Armstrong autographs, but I still think $500-750 is a realistic level for this particular piece.

LM1
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posted 09-10-2011 05:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for all of your help. I will use all of your suggestions.

I also agree that every collector should make a detailed list of all of their major items. They should also make a backup of this and keep the list and backup in safe separate locations - safe deposit box for example.

For me, this Armstrong item is my only valuable item. I have been advised to hold it for a few years, but it had been in my basement for over 30 years and it survived all of that humidity. I will not obtain a COA for the reasons stated by others in this thread. I hope to sell it soon on eBay.

Good Collecting!

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 09-10-2011 05:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dougin SoCA:
One thing that all of us will encounter someday is death, and what happens to all of the stuff we've collected. Having solid COA's will help our beneficiaries to at least have some idea what we are leaving behind.

Unless the COA contains a scan of the item it's supposed to authenticate, how do you know that particular COA goes with a particular item? In other words, what's to prevent someone from taking a good COA and matching it up with a bad item?

As for me, I have scans from programs and such from the various places I met astronauts and got their signature (which I know, has the same problem as a COA but can at least say yes or no, that particular astronaut was there so it's possible that the item was signed there.)

Dougin SoCA
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posted 09-11-2011 01:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dougin SoCA   Click Here to Email Dougin SoCA     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know of no authenticator or seller who provides a scan of an item if the original item is involved (seems redundant, but I understand your point and concern of swapping COA's). I simply put the original sales receipts and COA's provided with all of the Apollo 11 signed photos that I gathered and recently passed on to my children. On all other space or celebrity autographs I have for myself, I keep the documentation with each item, so everything is there for whoever has to go through my things when I die.

LM1
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posted 09-11-2011 04:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From what I have seen on their website, PSA/DNA authenticators does include a photo of the item in the COA along with sugnatures of all of the authenticators (8 or 9) who have looked at the signature and determined that it is genuine. They also mark every item with an invisible code that can be read with an ultra-violet lamp.

I agree that you should keep all documentation related to an autograph (letters and envelopes). They probably should not be attached to the item in any way because the ink or cancellation may run on to the item. They should be separated by acid free paper and kept in a dry place (not in a basement or anywhere near the floor).

It is somewhat of a miracle that this program with the Armstrong autograph survived over 30 years in my humid basement.

capoetc
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posted 09-11-2011 06:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have seen some PSA/DNA items that have a foil decal placed on the front of the item -- in fact, I have seen a couple Neil Armstrong signed lithos (one was an obvious forgery) with this ugly PSA/DNA decal on the front bottom-right corner. Totally ruined the look of the items, IMO (well, maybe not the forgery that they authenticated ... it was already ruined).

Here is what I mean -- the decal is actually stuck onto the photo. Yuck.

Spacefest
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posted 09-12-2011 12:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Random thoughts:

In my opinion, PSA/DNA hides questionable authentication behind a lot of puffery.

One consignor consigned just our COA for sale at auction. It was pulled before bidding.

I hope Scott returns to authenticating, but with a big raise. RR Auctions didn't realize his value.

We provide a photo COA of not only the item, but of it being signed if signed at our shop. Costs $50 more though.

capoetc
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posted 09-12-2011 06:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Spacefest:
... We provide a photo COA of not only the item, but of it being signed if signed at our shop. Costs $50 more though.
If I may add... the Novaspace COA that is provided when you have an item signed is really, REALLY good. Not only do you get the COA with a pic of your item being signed, but you also get a CD with multiple pics of your item before signing, during signing, after signing, and with the astronaut holding it after signing.

I suspect the available shots may vary depending upon who is doing the signing (some may be more amenable than others), but I cannot say enough good things for this service by Novaspace.

LM1
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posted 01-13-2012 12:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was about to list my Neil Armstrong autographed program on eBay when my hard drive crashed. Perhaps this is an omen. The computer will be ready this weekend and I will try to list the program after I reinstall all of my desktop records and programs.

I will probably list it at $500 with a reserve of $1,000 or more. A few similar items sold on eBay recently for $1,250.

More comments on the authenticity of this Armstrong signature would be appreciated.

Steve Zarelli
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posted 01-14-2012 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Zarelli   Click Here to Email Steve Zarelli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the interest of full disclosure, I consult with RR Auctions. You could consign with them as they typically get strong results. The higher value you realize may offset any seller's premium. Plus, you don't have to worry about non-paying bidders, Paypal chargebacks, shipping nightmares, etc.

LM1
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posted 03-05-2014 03:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here it is two years, two months after my last posting to this thread. My computer hard drive crashed again in December 2013. It is now 7 years old and it has prevented me from selling my Neil Armstrong autograph on eBay. I hope to do this soon.

I would appreciate it if knowledgeable cS members would inform me of the current value of the autographed program (see above active links). Also, I still have not received any information on how to ship this item once it is sold.

Dirk
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posted 03-05-2014 04:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dirk   Click Here to Email Dirk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think prices will be rising the moment the US has a new space program. More people will again be interested in space items then.

fredtrav
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posted 03-05-2014 05:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very briefly if it is to the ISS. If the US does get a manned Mars mission or manned moon mission, then yes it will last longer.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-05-2014 06:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Given the current market, the medium on which it is signed and its condition, I would conservatively estimate a sale value of $350 to $500 at auction. You might see more if placed in a well-publicized auction (not eBay).

I would not concern yourself with a COA, but if you must have one, you won't go wrong with Zarelli Space Authentication. If you decide to go with his services, I am sure he can recommend the best shipping method.

Steve Zarelli
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posted 03-05-2014 07:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Zarelli   Click Here to Email Steve Zarelli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the plug, Rob!

It's a nice signature, but suffers from being on an item not tied to Armstrong or NASA.

I think Rob's estimate may be a bit low, but close in my opinion. I think $700 tops might be it. As someone pointed out some time ago, the signature placement and printed letters below make it a weak candidate for matting.

In all candor, as much as I would like your business and issue a written LOA, I'm not sure the cost benefit is there for a lower end Armstrong autograph. Use a big scan, a good auction title and you should do ok.

If you consigned to RR, you'd have the 15% seller's commission, but none of the headaches and you may end up netting as much anyway with an increased hammer price.

Good luck!

------------------
Zarelli Space Authentication

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-05-2014 07:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Zarelli:
I think Rob's estimate may be a bit low, but close in my opinion.
$750 was what I had in mind for a well publicized auction, rather than eBay sale. I think the doubt created by forgeries on the eBay market can sometimes suppress values.

LM1
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posted 03-05-2014 09:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the information. It is appreciated.

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