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  Neil Armstrong signed LIFE, Daily News

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Author Topic:   Neil Armstrong signed LIFE, Daily News
bushande
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posted 07-05-2012 04:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bushande   Click Here to Email bushande     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was recently invited for an estate clearance after a good friend, Walter Engelmann, sadly passed at age 87. He was a long time board member at the scientific council for the chair of astrophysics in Garching/Munich and after retirement he opened a small albeit nice observatory in Saxony where he taught children and students on astronomy, among them me.

His relatives knew I was "a lot into astro stuff" and asked whether I wanted to have some of what he left behind. Among the many things there was a LIFE magazine and a Daily News issue of which I learned that he apparently had them signed on several occasions by Neil Armstrong sometime in the early 70's when he visited the States. I don't know it any better since that is only what has been told to by his relatives.

I admit, after heaving surfed this great forum and having delved a bit more into that whole authenticity matter and eventually finding out about the value of such a signature I became quite insecure about what I got here. I took some shots of the signatures. Can anybody have a look please and let me know what you think?
Many many thanks in advance!

ColinBurgess
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posted 07-05-2012 06:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't claim to be an expert, but both look good to me. If it's some sort of reassurance, I have a copy of the Sydney "Sun" front page for that day which I sent to Neil back in the '70s and he signed it in exactly the same place.

liftoff1
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posted 07-05-2012 07:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for liftoff1   Click Here to Email liftoff1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They look very good! That signed "Daily News" belongs in a museum.

bushande
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posted 07-05-2012 09:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bushande   Click Here to Email bushande     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many thanks for having a look at it and for the clarification. I admit, after looking for hours at all the different signatures, I can't make out what's fake at what is real, so your opinion on that is very much appreciated. That is indeed a fine site.

chet
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posted 07-05-2012 11:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Daily News signature looks ok to me, the Life Magazine much less so; in both cases hard to tell without better scans.

bushande
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posted 07-05-2012 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bushande   Click Here to Email bushande     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I took a scan of the LIFE signature. I haven't managed to scan the Newspaper signature since it's framed, but I'll see to it, but way I understand the LIFE signature seems to be the one in question anyways. Here you go:

chet
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posted 07-05-2012 09:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Life magazine signature could be authentic, certainly, but it's one I would personally pass on if given the opportunity to acquire it.

Mike Dixon
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posted 07-06-2012 02:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Dixon   Click Here to Email Mike Dixon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Back up Chet's comment ...

bushande
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posted 07-06-2012 03:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bushande   Click Here to Email bushande     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many thanks for the comment and advice. May I ask, what makes you suspicious?

As I said, I have no idea of the whole matter and greatly appreciate any advice to educate myself about it. Like I said, all I know about it, is that Dr. Engelmann had this signed when he met Neil Armstrong in the early 70's, way before I was born. I didn't pay anything for all of it but was just allowed to take along whatever I wanted to keep as a token and keepsake after the passing of Dr. Engelmann since the family supposedly had no interest and use for his astronomical belongings.

I'm just a history and astro/aviation buff and it all has rather ideal and personal value rather than financial. I in fact had no idea that Armstrong signatures are such a sought after and that it all is such a complex matter.

I also grabbed some other news paper issues from the Apollo 11 era like the NY times etc. and many fascinating pieces in Dr. Engelmann's collection like some apparently used Space shuttle tiles and little fragments from Apollo 11s Eagle module. At least it is, what the pieces "say" they are.

It's a quite stunning pile of things I haven't dug myself through completely by now.

capoetc
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posted 07-06-2012 07:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For what it's worth (and I won't claim to be an authentication expert either, although I have seen a number of authentic Armstrongs), both signatures look fine to me.

stsmithva
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posted 07-06-2012 07:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Please do post pictures of rare-looking hardware and other artifacts. For example, "little fragments" from Eagle would be interesting if they were removed before the flight (probably trimmed kapton foil) and astonishing and valuable if they were removed during the flight and brought back from the moon.

chet
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posted 07-06-2012 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bushande:
Many thanks for the comment and advice. May I ask, what makes you suspicious?
Enough authentic Armstrong views + enough years in the hobby = bad vibe.

Gilbert
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posted 07-06-2012 01:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Both signatures look authentic to me. I'd love to own either one or both.

bushande
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posted 07-07-2012 10:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bushande   Click Here to Email bushande     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many thanks again for the reassurance. I'll see that I take some decent photos of the pile in time.

mjanovec
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posted 07-08-2012 02:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with Chet and Mike on the Life magazine signature. There are too many oddities in this one to make me feel comfortable about it's authenticity. Unless the item comes with ironclad provenance, it's not a signature I would invest in.

The newspaper signature stands a better chance of being authentic. However, a much better scan is needed for greater certainty.

bushande
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posted 07-11-2012 05:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bushande   Click Here to Email bushande     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hmm... I see why many of you seem to keep away from signatures they haven't seen in person to be written. The whole matter seems a lot of "guess and maybe." I understand why many just say you can only be sure if you have seen it with your own eyes.

Well, I guess this is the case here as well. I knew Dr. Engelmann very well and he was a very, very integer and respectable man. I can hardly imagine to have made something up but in the end it doesn't matter that much to me. I'll just stay carefully positive about it.

I wouldn't want to make a profit with what he left me. Before I sold anything I guess I'd rather give it to his observatory. For now it all is just a nice keepsake and something to enjoy for me. Many thanks again for your valuable and insightful opinions and information.

mjanovec
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posted 07-11-2012 11:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bushande:
Hmm... I see why many of you seem to keep away from signatures they haven't seen in person to be written.
Not at all. I have personally purchased many signatures of deceased astronauts (and other personalities) that I haven't seen signed in person. But I often look for more conclusive evidence of authenticity, especially when the signature contains traits that I find to be atypical. To do otherwise would not be smart collecting.
quote:
The whole matter seems a lot of "guess and maybe."
That's not really the case when it comes to careful authentication. One can study a signature over time and learn to spot the traits of an authentic signature... even when that authentic signature is rushed or signed under less-than-ideal circumstances. When those traits are missing or somehow appear distorted from normal, it is often the indication of a possible forgery.
quote:
Well, I guess this is the case here as well. I knew Dr. Engelmann very well and he was a very, very integer and respectable man. I can hardly imagine to have made something up but in the end it doesn't matter that much to me.
Nobody here is questioning the integrity of your friend. But unless he left specific documentation as to how he obtained each item, one should not necessarily assume the signatures were obtained in person. Without clear evidence, one can only judge the signature based on its own merits.

If having the signatures in your possession gives you pleasure regardless, nobody can fault you for that. But if you choose to sell them someday, be prepared for some possible scrutiny regarding their authenticity.

mjanovec
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posted 07-13-2012 11:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To add to my previous post, you may wish to ask Steve Zarelli for an opinion on this item. Steve is the paid authenticator for RR Auction and sometimes comments on items posted here on collectSPACE.

If nothing else, Steve's opinion will help you determine if these signatures are something that an auction house (like RR Auction) would be willing to accept...even if you don't have any intention of selling them right now.

bushande
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posted 07-25-2012 04:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bushande   Click Here to Email bushande     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So sorry for my late reply.

Many thanks for the valuable advice. Is there any way to contact Steve Zarelli? Is he a member of this forum as well?

Steve Zarelli
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posted 07-25-2012 08:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Zarelli   Click Here to Email Steve Zarelli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bushande:
Is there any way to contact Steve Zarelli? Is he a member of this forum as well?
Rumor has it, he is.

bushande
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posted 07-28-2012 01:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bushande   Click Here to Email bushande     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello Steve, ooyyy, that was quick! I guess a silent watcher after all.

As I said, I actually don't intend to sell any of these items as they have a rather idealistic and emotional value as they come from a dear friend and mentor but I am just curious to what degree it is possible to give an estimation on the authenticity of the signatures so any professional and experienced opinion is very welcome.

What do you think about these signatures? Many thanks in advance for taking the time of taking a look.

Steve Zarelli
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posted 07-28-2012 01:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Zarelli   Click Here to Email Steve Zarelli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let me preface by saying this would be a preliminary opinion based on relatively small scans. For a firm opinion, I'd want an in-hand inspection or at the least a much larger and sharper image of each.

The newspaper appears as if it may be authentically signed, but a much larger image is required.

Given what I see here, I would reject the signed Life magazine due to a number of atypical traits.

bushande
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posted 07-28-2012 03:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bushande   Click Here to Email bushande     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many thanks for the input. That is very interesting.

May I ask what seems so atypical? Curious minds are curious.

Steve Zarelli
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posted 07-28-2012 04:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Zarelli   Click Here to Email Steve Zarelli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't reveal the little attributes I look for because it will eventually just make my job harder. But, among other things, I do not like the shape of this autograph.

I'm not stating with 100% certainty it is not authentic, however there are enough atypical traits in my opinion that it leads me to believe there is a strong likelihood it is not authentic.

bushande
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posted 07-29-2012 01:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bushande   Click Here to Email bushande     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fair enough Steve. I understand about keeping some trade secrets.

Many thanks for the insight nonetheless.

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