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  140745960053/59641: STS-114, 116 signatures

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Author Topic:   140745960053/59641: STS-114, 116 signatures
Greggy_D
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Posts: 812
From: Michigan
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 05-06-2012 07:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These just look really bad. Almost as if they were signed by the same person. Any opinions?
  • STS-114: eBay item 140745960053
  • STS-116: eBay item 140745959641

Greggy_D
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Posts: 812
From: Michigan
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 05-07-2012 08:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A couple more that are absolutely suspect:
  • STS-103: eBay item 130692050346
  • STS-112: eBay item 140748979517

Ken Havekotte
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Posts: 2064
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 05-08-2012 07:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just for the record, many of the recently offered shuttle crew-signed pictures referred to here were indeed "in person" signatures here at Kennedy (and some from JSC that were flown over to KSC)! Many of the sigs applied may had been rushed, signed in multiples, and not in somewhat ideal signing conditions.

There is strong supporting documentation that all were indeed signed in person here at a certain facility throughout the last decade or so.

spaceflori
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Posts: 1420
From: Germany
Registered: May 2000

posted 05-08-2012 08:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceflori   Click Here to Email spaceflori     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The seller — Donnis Willis — is one of the best out there, it's hard to believe there is something wrong but I must agree with the four photos shown... I have a very odd feeling.

The STS-100 he offers looks like a classic perfect in-person signed photo, different pens, usually thicker sharpies, a clear and strong writing — but I personally would not go for any of the four photos either.

Even in the worst signing situations people rather tend to leave away letters... Sandra Magnus must have forgotten her name "Sandra Mongnus"... Claude Nicollier has signed for me in-person, but never that ugly. Other signatures also appear to have extra loops and letters.

Knowing the in-person signatures of those folks from a fellow in Houston (often sold and offered in Regency Superior for comparison) I also see significant differences.

I would hope Donnis comes up with some extra info about the background.

lunarlegacies
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Posts: 101
From: Merritt Island, FL
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 05-08-2012 12:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunarlegacies   Click Here to Email lunarlegacies     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I must admit that I have not yet become a total expert at later shuttle astronaut signatures, and accede to the knowledge of others at times, but I do the best I can and have to especially consider the original source of these signed photos.

These all come from the gentleman Ken referred to and Ken knows a lot more about this than me. I agree the Magnus looks a bit odd - I didn't notice that extra squiggle. On the other hand, the unusually thick pen used in many of the signatures can fool the eye at times making all distinctive twists, stops, turns and pen speeds look a lot more alike and thus from the same hand. I have quite a few examples of that effect and it seems the thick pen was this man’s instrument of choice when getting things signed.

What is done is a situation like this? The source is good for sure and the irregularity in some of the signatures can be explained by how they were obtained. On the other hand, some of the signatures are simply irregular and may be tough to convince future buyers of their authenticity.

As an example, recently a Roosa signature I sold someone, on a multi-signed photo, came into question from a space autograph expert authenticating the signature, and he declared it not genuine, even though I obtained the signature in person myself at the 25th anniversary in Houston. I walked up to Roosa, he signed it in a smallish space, and now it is deemed by an expert as not genuine. Signatures can have all sorts of variations depending on the signing circumstances.

Maybe these signatures in question are bad - I wasn't there, but judging from the source (Ken via the original owner), very probably they are good, but just look bad. So what do you do?

Please everyone check the shuttle crew signatures I have on the lunarlegacies.com auction - I think there are about 15 of them - and let me know if everything looks okay with those. These are all from the same person and collection that we are discussing. I would like your opinions.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 2631
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-08-2012 02:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For what it's worth, I have a Sandra Magnus signed in-person that looks like she too forgot how to spell her name. It looks like Sandra Ufors.

spaceflori
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Posts: 1420
From: Germany
Registered: May 2000

posted 05-08-2012 03:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceflori   Click Here to Email spaceflori     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Donnis for your comment.

I personally do have a problem with many signatures of the crew signed later shuttle lithos on your website indeed. I do not think the 107 is good either.
I also haven't followed the later shuttle astronaut signatures too close lately, so hopefully some others will post here as well, just going by basic autograph judging something tells me that there is something wrong. I believe to recognize a certain pattern among many autographs (some could be authentic, of course).

For example German Hans Schlegel on STS-122: I have about 50 or more in-person samples here from him, all from the STS-122 mission plus many more from his earlier flight and NONE of them were signed that sloppy or drawn like here. He did sign so many items in Cologne at the open house, while eating, walking, running, talking, speaking but none of them were so badly drawn. He just doesn't sign like that.

Also I see a significant different "level" (excuse my English) of letters in many signatures, even in a rush you don't sign sloppy like that, you "swallow" or forget letters, make bold and hectic signatures (like Story Musgrave does in-person) but you don't draw like a child.

Again this is my personal opinion and I would love to hear the opinion of Richard Stonely who should have in-person samples of all these crews.

Donnis is correct that thick pens are often used for in-person signatures and may create a wrong impression.

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 2064
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 05-08-2012 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The above comments are fully noted with a special thanks to Donnis and Hart. While many of the provided signatures do appear atypical, more will be posted here later, along with a statement and bio from the autograph source referred to in this topic. If possible, perhaps even a few confirming statements from signing astronauts might also be in order.

Once again, let me stress the primary autograph source is extremely well-known within the close-knit astronaut community (not collectors nor dealers like Stonely, etc.).

Greggy_D
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Posts: 812
From: Michigan
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 05-08-2012 05:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some of the telltale signs I see are:
  1. The almost identical top loop in the "L" of Lawrence (STS-114), the "L" in Sunni L. Williams (STS-116), and the "S" in Steve Smith (STS-103). They are all very close in form.

  2. The top loop in the "D" of Dave Wolf (STS-112). Have never seen this.

  3. The autographs appear to be signed slow and deliberate and not with a typical fluid motion. The Polansky (STS-116) shows several pauses and ink dots. Halfway through the "M" at the bottom, a dot after the "l" and two dots at the top of the "y".
And I agree with Florian. The STS-100 (140748976841) looks great. I just can't fathom how all of these other autographs just appear so far off.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 2631
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-08-2012 07:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a reference, most of the signatures in my "Space Shuttle: 20 Years" book on my Flickr account were obtained in-person (others through a third-party who got the astronaut to sign it), so that can be used as a reference for rushed, not so ideal signatures.

lunarlegacies
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Posts: 101
From: Merritt Island, FL
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 05-08-2012 09:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunarlegacies   Click Here to Email lunarlegacies     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do appreciate the posts here — I hate making mistakes, especially a cluster one like this, but hate much more not being able to correct a mistake, so thanks to all for the help. I clearly got into a bad batch of a couple dozen signed crew photos and was complacent with them, and should have checked them out thoroughly. The closer I look at them now compared to other examples, the worse they look, and I am mortified.

However, all questionable shuttle crew-signed photo lots have been hidden from the auction site until a time at which in kind replacements may be found, so everyone please check them out as well if or when they do appear again. Luckily, less than half a dozen in this bad batch were sold elsewhere, and the buyers have all been emailed tonight for a full refund or possible replacement if a suitable one can be found.

It's the best I can do.

mjanovec
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Posts: 3670
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 05-09-2012 06:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ken Havekotte:
While many of the provided signatures do appear atypical, more will be posted here later, along with a statement and bio from the autograph source referred to in this topic.

Even if Donnis has decided that the autographs are too atypical for his liking, I would be interested in learning more about the source of these signatures.

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 2064
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 05-10-2012 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let me first thank everyone for posting on this topic.

My eyes are completely open now, and believe me, I will NEVER let my guard down again! Even if Neil Armstrong himself came up to me and wanted my firm to purchase space items from him — always — check everything carefully before a purchase is decided upon.

When acquiring so many shuttle crew signed lithos from my new well-known space friend here at Kennedy (first in June 2011), I had simply put them aside in their binders on top of a shelf and never really examined them closely, until just recently!

For my good friend Donnis Willis of Lunar Legacies (along with his lovely wife Jan), I want to extend a full and sincere heart-felt apology. Don had recently acquired many of the signed photos in question from me. I had failed to examine them carefully — not even at all — before a transaction had been agreed between us. I am so sorry for that!

I have just gotten back from a meeting at the Kennedy Space Center with my primary source that had provided me with the signed photos during two major transactions.

I am happy to report that a full restitution was provided to me "on the spot" so-to-speak with my complete satisfaction in order to "close the case."

In short, I was told that he had purchased many of the pictures from someone else. While some of the provided signatures were indeed obtained by him in person at a certain facility here, many others had not been, he openly confessed.

I was led to believe that all of the acquired autographs by recent shuttle crews were signed for him while crew mmebers reported in and out of his work station area.

As was noted in an earlier post, the individual is a well-known and highly-respected flight ops. team official. He knows on a personal friendship and works almost on a daily basis with just about all of the active shuttle astronauts.

It would be best not to reveal his name, as advised, for many reasons.

Once again, let me deeply apologize to anyone that has been effected in anyway concerning the shuttle crew signed photos referred to here.

Already, immediate refunds are being provided, and in full with complete satisfaction required.

This has been a valuable lesson to me, indeed, in working with aerospace memorabilia in nearly 45 years as an avid space enthusiast, collector, specialist, consultant, vendor and authenticator.

This is a first, and hopefully, it will never happen again. Please forgive me!

jtheoret
Member

Posts: 129
From: Albuquerque, NM USA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 05-10-2012 12:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jtheoret   Click Here to Email jtheoret     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I appreciate Donnis' and Ken's comments and agree on needing to be careful. We're only human, and what makes all our collections better is fellow enthusiasts with keen eyes.

spaceflori
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Posts: 1420
From: Germany
Registered: May 2000

posted 05-11-2012 12:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceflori   Click Here to Email spaceflori     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Big kudos to both Ken and Donnis for clearing this up so fast. Knowing both and their professional attitude for so many years now I wouldn't have expected it differently.

At the end however the whole issue just reveals another general problem I have often warned of: Collectors often ask about provenance, chain of ownership etc. - keep in mind that any background story can be as easily faked as a COA on paper!

You may have a chain of ownership with some items, you may know when and for how much a $100 million Picacco painting may have sold in the past 100 years, but for most space collectibles there is no chain of ownership possible or even more important — easily to confirm and verify.

It doesn't mean however that the (original) seller like in this case may have bad intentions... not at all. He may have simply just forgot to mention something or didn't remember the source at all which — especially with older items residing in your collection for decades — is not a necessarily a bad sign but simply a human nature.

Or does everybody know here the source or chain of ownership of every item in your collection? I doubt...

All times are CT (US)

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