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  Astronaut Alan Shepard secretarial autographs

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Author Topic:   Astronaut Alan Shepard secretarial autographs
spacesurgeon
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Posts: 15
From: G.B.
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 05-05-2005 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacesurgeon   Click Here to Email spacesurgeon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There have been various Alan Shepard offerings recently on eBay. Some have been pronounced to be secretarials by respected experts.

Could anybody please help by offering some guidance as to the characteristics of an Alan Shepard secretarial? What should I look for?

I would be most grateful for any help.

spaced out
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Posts: 2793
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 05-05-2005 01:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do hope one of the experts replies to this. I have mentioned in this thread that an old article on this subject that is sometimes referred to leaves a lot to be desired.

MrSpace86
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Posts: 1506
From: Gardner, KS, USA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 11-08-2007 02:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was wondering if there is a distinct way of detecting which items were actually signed by Alan Shepard and which ones were signed by someone else, say his secretary.

I have read here and in other places that some of the autographs originating from his office are not his but secretarial, so if anyone can help me, it would greatly appreciated!

micropooz
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Posts: 1348
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 11-08-2007 04:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
General rules-of-thumb for spotting Shepard secretarials:
  1. Shepard connected the "S" and the "h" with a banana shaped line that swept upward. On secretarials this line is still banana-shaped but more parallel to the base of the autograph.

  2. In some cases the secretarial "A" in Alan is smaller than the "l". Shepard usually made his "A's" the same size or larger than the "l's".

  3. In secretarials, the "d" at the end of Shepard has a small loop at the end. Shepard's "d's" usually dropped straight down at the end.

  4. With inscriptions, the secretary tended to put a colon after "To" whereas Shepard was not known to do that.
There are some others, but I have found these to be the most definitive.

This was published in the March/April 1995 "Space Autograph News" by Mike Johnson.

lm5eagle
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Posts: 426
From:
Registered: Jul 2007

posted 11-09-2007 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lm5eagle   Click Here to Email lm5eagle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by micropooz:
General rules-of-thumb for spotting Shepard secretarials:
Thank you. That was one of the most helpful postings on this subject.

spaced out
Member

Posts: 2793
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 11-09-2007 10:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Please refer to my original thread (linked-to above) for some comments on the old article on the traits of Shepard secretarials.

gliderpilotuk
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Posts: 3337
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 11-09-2007 10:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You will never come up with a definitive guide to Shepard secretarials as he used different "secretaries" over his career. As I indicated in that past thread, the article was not intended to be definitive, but it WAS at least an early attempt to define some of the potential giveaways and as far as I know, no-one has bettered it.

Interestingly, one of the secretarial traits helped some of us identify a prolific forger not that long ago, as his "examples" were so consistent in this rare trait.

It's probably more fruitful to focus on what a GOOD Shepard looks like (eliminating of course, the quirky scrawls on some of his book signatures). I'd be happy to help judge anything you were uncertain about, but offline, as we don't want to give away any clues to more wannabe forgers!

spaced out
Member

Posts: 2793
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 11-16-2007 12:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've finally put together a guide to identifying Shepard secretarials. It may not cover all known tells but it's a start. Any input from the experts would be welcome of course.

You can find the guide on Shepard's page of my AstroAutopens guide.

Scott
Member

Posts: 3303
From: Houston, TX
Registered: May 2001

posted 11-16-2007 01:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks so much for doing this Alan Shepard secretarial guide, Chris. It is excellent!

mjanovec
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Posts: 3722
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 11-16-2007 01:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let me echo Scott's praise here. Great guide!Your autopen pages were already my default place to look for patterns. Now you have the best Shepard secretarial guide too. Keep up the great work!

lm5eagle
Member

Posts: 426
From:
Registered: Jul 2007

posted 11-17-2007 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lm5eagle   Click Here to Email lm5eagle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chris, your guide is truly worthy of the plaudits expressed in the previous two posts. I endorse those comments wholeheartedly and offer my many thanks.

capoetc
Member

Posts: 1842
From: Newnan GA (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 11-17-2007 12:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very nice site! Some of the secretaries did a pretty good job, too...

spaced out
Member

Posts: 2793
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 10-15-2015 09:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a little anecdote on the subject of Shepard 'secretarials'...

I was in touch recently with someone whose father worked at NASA as an intern in the astronaut office at the time of the Mercury program. One of his tasks as an intern was signing material for Alan Shepard, and reportedly he became pretty good at it.

Apparently one time Shepard came up behind him while he was doing this job and said, "Where the hell'd ya pick that up?" After which they had a good laugh.

It's funny to think this intern was responsible for at least one of the style of Shepard signature out there.

All times are CT (US)

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