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  Space pens, Sharpies and other signing tools (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Space pens, Sharpies and other signing tools
Wehaveliftoff
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posted 10-07-2003 01:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff   Click Here to Email Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think this was brought up before, but I don't like either. IF the silver sharpie is only used one day, then toss it, OK. They aren't uniform or nice looking after that. Paint pens are treacherous to wait for them to dry. Both are a pain, but using Ag sharpies only for one day are fine.

Nolan
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posted 10-07-2003 10:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nolan   Click Here to Email Nolan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just went through the "silver sharpie vs. paint" debate myself a few weeks ago in getting a Buzz Aldrin autograph on a black-and-white photo with a (mostly) dark background. I opted for the sharpie, and I am very pleased with the result. The paint just seems to be too much of a hazard to deal with.

robert777
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posted 02-14-2004 04:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robert777   Click Here to Email robert777     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am of course getting this for myself and my own personal sentiment, but I am of the school of thought that you might as well also do what's best for the long term investment of the piece. Are black sharpee signatures not as desireable anymore as say a color pen to help show that the autograph is an original vs. a copy? Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks!

Scott
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posted 02-14-2004 04:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is the general consensus (to my knowledge) that blue (regular and fine tip Sharpie) is considered the best color for signed photographs. At the last signing I asked Novaspace to use a fine-tip blue sharpie on the 8x10 photo and it looks outstanding. But that's just my preference to use fine-tip, as I like to see a lot of detail in an autograph. If it is a large item I would recommend regular-tip, as that would show up better.

robert777
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posted 02-14-2004 05:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robert777   Click Here to Email robert777     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Scott - I actually thought about it before you even posted and thought blue would in fact look better. Thanks!

Rob Sumowski
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posted 02-14-2004 06:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Sumowski   Click Here to Email Rob Sumowski     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let me strongly suggest black. As you can see earlier this thread, Doug Henry did a test with multiple colors of sharpies. Although it was unscientific, results indicated that blue faded pretty consistently across the board when compared with black (as does red and green also). Black was hands-down the sharpie color that faded the least.

Think of Armstrong, how often have you seen a dark blue Armstrong sig? They are almost ALL fading over time.

Blue is definitely pretty - I totally agree - but it's been gaining a bad reputation for fading over the long haul.

As a rule of thumb, I always go for black on the pieces for my museum exhibit. Just a suggestion.

robert777
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posted 02-14-2004 06:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robert777   Click Here to Email robert777     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ahhh, good point Rob - didn't think of the fading qualities. Any other thoughts - it's 1:1 now

Scott
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posted 02-14-2004 06:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is it true that blue Sharpie fades noticeably? I was not aware of that. Keep in mind that Armstrong's fading blue felt tip pen, while I do not know what brand it was, was not a Sharpie.

robert777
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posted 02-14-2004 06:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robert777   Click Here to Email robert777     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scientific or not - this is a valid issue for anyone collecting. I am going to stick with good ole reliable black now...

Dan Lorraine
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posted 02-14-2004 07:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dan Lorraine   Click Here to Email Dan Lorraine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Blue Sharpies were my fear with the "Moonwalkers" print... I did buy one however but I'm curious if anyone has their's on display and if there's been any noticeable fading to the sigs. Mine's still in the original rolled tube. I would strongly recommend that anyone framing anything of value, autographs, art, etc., spend the extra cash and get the UV filtering glass. I still have some original Bonestells that I had framed in the UV plexi when that was the only thing that was available... the glass is much nicer!

Scott
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posted 02-14-2004 07:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had a big 16x20 visor photo of Aldrin that I had asked Novaspace to get signed in blue sharpie. They made a very rare, minor mistake and Kim wrote me by email apologizing, saying Aldrin had signed it in black instead of blue. Knowing what I found out today, all I can say is, "Thanks for the mistake!" ROTFL.

robert777
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posted 02-14-2004 07:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robert777   Click Here to Email robert777     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, thanks everyone for checking into this. While I think the colored pens look nice, I'm all about longevity and preservation. Classic black it is. Now how about them silver and gold paint pens....

Scott
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posted 02-14-2004 08:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think (with an emphasis on think, before I put my foot in my mouth again concerning this) that gold and silver pens smear to some extent even when they are dry. Are there any that do not? Are the new gold and silver Sharpies immune from smearing. I know the old paint pens can smear. That is something to consider concerning preservation.

Scott
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posted 02-14-2004 08:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have also heard that fluorescent light is very damaging, much more than incandescent light.

astronut
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posted 02-14-2004 08:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astronut   Click Here to Email astronut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott, as ultraviolet light is the major and damaging component in both fluorescent light and the sun you are correct. As to fading, if you keep your autographs in binders and never exposed to light except for occasional viewing it really doesn't seem to matter what color you use. If you DO display your autographs I'd always suggest making a high quality copy for show and keep the originals in a safe place. Mine are in binders in my fire resistant (55 minute burn time) gun safe.

astronut
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posted 02-14-2004 08:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astronut   Click Here to Email astronut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One other piece of info I'll pass on. I work outside as a repair tech for SBC. We use black sharpies to mark cable counts on the inside of doors to cross connect boxes and to mark apartment numbers inside sidewall terminals.

These are only exposed to light when we're testing and making connections. Some boxes rarely get opened. But in every case when exposed to the heat of Texas summer time they fade out COMPLETELY after 1-2 years. The ink evaporates.

Just food for thought.

robert777
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posted 02-14-2004 09:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robert777   Click Here to Email robert777     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The truth of the matter is no serious collector will ever let any piece of autographed memorabilia will ever be exposed to harsh direct light of any kind for long periods of time. I have signatures from other celebrities I met nearly 20 years ago and they look fine. The've been kept simply in plastic polybags with backing boards. Nothing special. I probably am going to invest in a nice high quality acid free storage binder to put all my signed items in. Wayno's suggestion to make a high quality copy for display makes the most sense. I'll be doing that for all my valuable autographs regardless of whether or not I display them or not - if something ever happens to the item, at least I'll have a duplicate, not original, but a high quality dupe just the same.

apollo11lem5
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posted 02-14-2004 09:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for apollo11lem5   Click Here to Email apollo11lem5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello All... I went through EXACTLY this same quandary just recently! I had an 8x10 of Buzz Aldrin standing on the Moon with Neil reflected in his visor... you know that pic! Neil had signed in blue sharpie and Buzz had signed in black. I was sending this pic to Novaspace for General Collins to sign. Which color should I have Mike Collins sign in? I beat myself up for a few days and decided on black sharpie for the Collins. That was my decision plus it is being dedicated to me. It is all personal preference. ...Donald Brady

Kim
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posted 02-14-2004 11:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kim   Click Here to Email Kim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting note: Some years ago, we at Novaspace bought all our signed photos from PremiereSpace and Destiny. After a few years, we were replacing (at our cost) most of the Destiny B&Ws because they we all "foxing" (bad processing). Lately however, we are replacing many of the PremereSpace 16x20s of Aldrin, because the BLACK SHARPIE signature is fading away, badly. Not the light situation, because the photos are just fine. The proprietor of PremiereSpace claimed it was our framing (which uses UV non-glare plexiglass) causing it, but clammed up when he started taking back his photos, too.

Also, on lithos, black sharpie used to leave an ugly yellow bleed, after a time. I hear this has been fixed, but we prefer the blue. It stands out better and we've had no complaints.

Dennis Beatty
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posted 02-20-2004 10:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dennis Beatty   Click Here to Email Dennis Beatty     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any additional info regarding the yellow bleed associated with the black sharpie? I really want to go with black ink for the longevity factor, but I've seen the yellowing mentioned, and it scares me to think that this could happen on a now $300 litho.

Scott
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posted 02-20-2004 12:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've also seen black thick felt tip pen yellow bleeding. I am not sure which brands do this. I seems to not be that common of an occurrence, but it is of course cause for concern. I recall an Armstrong WSS signed litho that had yellow bleed around the thick black felt tip pen.

The good thing about blue is that if you keep it in a dark cool place, hopefully everything will be fine, assuming the fading Wayne mentioned is indeed caused by excessive heat. Also like he said, just display a high quality color copy in place of the original.

However, if you are unlucky enough to use a black pen that will cause yellow bleeding, it likely will happen regardless of whether you display it or not, and in that case there will be no way to halt the deterioration.

Rizz
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posted 02-20-2004 03:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Holy mackrel! I have a dozen 16 x 20's color and B&W signed with black sharpies and silver paint pens. Most of them have been hanging on my (northeast facing) office wall for almost 20 years. They all look fine. I couldn't imagine storing these away in the dark, and they are certainly to big for a note book.

Rob Sumowski
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posted 02-20-2004 04:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Sumowski   Click Here to Email Rob Sumowski     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree. And I understand that the yellowing problem was solved a few years ago. Have had no bleeding with any black Sharpie brand pens after a few years. To each his own...

sixturners
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posted 12-30-2006 04:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sixturners   Click Here to Email sixturners     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone have some advice on what type of pen to use so that an autograph ill last on a real glossy photo? I can't tell you how many beautiful signed photos I have that were signed with sharpie pens that after 2-5 years the autograph has all but vanished.

Any advice?

Lunatiki
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posted 12-30-2006 04:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunatiki     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thats a scary thought. Are you sure it isn't another problem besides the pen? Sunlight or storage? I have many signatures on glossy paper with a sharpie, some going on 10 years now and they are as fresh as the day I got them.

mjanovec
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posted 12-30-2006 06:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A couple of us have done tests of Sharpie inks and the black ink appears to be the most stable by far. Blues and reds faded fairly quickly exposed to direct sunlight (worst case conditions, admittedly). I have a card where the blues and reds are almost completely gone after a year, but the black looks nearly as fresh as Day 1. I've heard anecdotal problems with black in the past, but I suspect that is more of a problem with a bad batch and is not indicative of overall longevity.

Even blue signatures should have good longevity is stored and displayed properly.

What colors did you use? Also, like Joel asked, how were they stored or displayed? Remember, direct light is bad on photos, but so is reflected light. Flourescent light is bad too. I have a test card kept in my office at work where the reds and blues are looking pretty weathered after a year.

Also, was there anything consistent about the types of photos you had signed? Were they vintage or modern? Did they come from the same printing? Glossy or matte? Normally, it shouldn't make a big difference. But if perhaps you ran into a bad batch of gloss, that might be a problem (though I don't claim to be an expert here). Or was everything signed in the same pen or from the same batch of pens?

There are lots of Sharpie signed photos out there 20-30 years old and still looking good. So if you can isolate anything about your photos that is causing the fading, that might help you avoid it in the future.

sixturners
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posted 12-30-2006 08:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sixturners   Click Here to Email sixturners     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the feedback. I must admit these are photos framed and hanging in my office. I have one large window, but direct sun light does not hit the wall with the photos. Anything I frame I use UV glass and the best materials. All the photos that have faded are in black marker. I have one recent glossy photo sent to me from Dom Gorie so I can not know for sure what black marker he used, but after 3 years max the inscription and autograph is almost gone. The other photo was an older STS-3 glossy of Jack Lousma and Gordon Fullerton walking out for the bus ride to the pad. Fullerton's auto still looks good, but Lousma's is almost gone. I know if I had kept them in a drawer they would probably still be fine, but I enjoy having other people see them. I framed Dom's normal NASA portrait at the same time as the glossy of his launch and it is still going strong. I just wanted to make sure I am not missing something so I have better luck in the future. I do a better job with future photos. It just seems to me with my collection the glossy photos are not to good to me.

Rob Sumowski
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posted 12-31-2006 04:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Sumowski   Click Here to Email Rob Sumowski     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The last time I was at the KSC gift shop, I learned a valuable lesson. The signed 16x20s on the wall done by Pete Conrad, Bean, and Cernan are exposed to constant flourescent light all day, every day, and some of the photos appeared to have been on the walls for several years. All of the Sharpie-signed photos had faded a good deal, with blue ink fading the worst and black faring just a little better.

The shocker: Even on photos where it was obvious that the photo itself had faded, each signature signed in metallic paint pen looked brand new. Note: These were NOT signatures done in Metallic Sharpie, as Metallic Sharpies did not exist when these photos were signed; rather I am talking about metallic paint pen or "paint marker."

As for me, I now use metallic paint pens exclusively whenever possible. I use Sakura Pen Touch Silver in Fine or Extra Fine point. You can get these at art supply stores like Michael's or online.

Meanwhile, I'm holding my breath on all of my black Sharpie-signed photos and using extra protection from all light. When I do need black ink, I have begun using black paint markers- Uchida Decocolor Fine Line or Extra Fine Line. You can also get these at art supply stores like Michael's or online.

Hope this helps!

mjanovec
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posted 12-31-2006 05:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have also heard that paint markers fare better over time than just about anything else. However, keep in mind that photos exposed to light can still fade... so it's still important to protect a metallic ink signed photo. Otherwise, one runs the risk of having a metallic signature over a faded image... not too pretty.

RMH
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posted 01-01-2007 02:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for RMH   Click Here to Email RMH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rick, another option that many on here use is to make a photograph copy of your autographed picture and display that while keeping the real item safely stored. You get the pleasure of displaying while not compromising the item.

leslie
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posted 01-03-2007 04:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for leslie   Click Here to Email leslie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a real dilemma for all collectors.

I have several sharpie signed pictures hanging on a wall in a spare room but keep the curtains closed. I have had them framed with "filter" glass (or plastic?)

The bulk of my main collections however is stored in files, each covered with tissue, which I check regularly to ensure it does not "bond" or stick with the photo!

People often query the point of collecting these pictures if not displayed? I once asked Kim Poor for his advice on the best way to store a collection and he jokingly (maybe?) answered "Store them in the dark and lock them away" and, to be perfectly honest, that is what I do!

Glossies can be tricky but once the signature is well and truly dry, if stored properly, there should be no problems but, if displayed, I would suggest a dark area in a room away from sunlight!

Wehaveliftoff
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posted 01-03-2007 07:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff   Click Here to Email Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you use black sharpie, try and use the Industrial type black sharpie.

MarylandSpace
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posted 06-24-2007 05:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I saw in the Sunday newspaper Office Max advertisement that they have various Sharpies on sale priced at 5 for $3.

Just a heads up in the event that your Sharpies aren't as sharp as they once were.

OWL
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posted 10-22-2007 07:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for OWL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When having photos signed are photos signed in gold or silver pens as resilient as ones done in standard ink?

spaced out
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posted 10-22-2007 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In my experience, no. If carefully stored or mounted with nothing touching the ink it should be fine but if you store a photo in a plastic sleeve there is a definite risk that some of the silver/gold ink will adhere to the inside of the sleeve and pull away when you remove the photo.

Novaspace
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posted 10-22-2007 12:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Novaspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We have two Destiny photos in the shop now from 1999. One was in blue sharpie, the other in black (we think). Both are almost completely faded away. Colors in the photos are fine.

We use a new silver (not Sharpie) we like a lot, after much experimentation.

capoetc
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posted 10-22-2007 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Novaspace:
We have two Destiny photos in the shop now from 1999. One was in blue sharpie, the other in black (we think.) Both are almost completely faded away. Colors in the photos are fine.
Were the photos on display or shielded from light?

Novaspace
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posted 10-22-2007 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Novaspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think it matters. As I said, the colors in the photos are fine, and they should show some fading first.

Dennis Beatty
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posted 10-22-2007 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dennis Beatty   Click Here to Email Dennis Beatty     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What could matter is whether the blue and black inks were "permanent" varieties, and under what conditions they were applied.

OWL
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posted 10-23-2007 03:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for OWL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Novaspace:
We have two Destiny photos in the shop now from 1999.
Is the fading of the ink a chemical reaction rather than a sunlight problem?


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