How to compare Elvis Presley Signature from 1940's - 1977 by Jeff Schrembs
- Lets get familiar with one of Elvis Presley's earliest known (public) autograph (see image when Elvis was about nine years old)when he checked out a library book in 3rd grade. There is a nicely "full" letter "E" with the remaining letters formed and spaced apart and you see that when Elvis makes his "v" (in "Elvis") the pen never gets back down to the bottom of the page until Elvis completes the letter "s" which is the last letter in his first name.
Looking at "Presley" the first thing that jumps out is that when he wrote his first name he "joined" the "E" to the "L" yet her he begins with the Capital P and lets it stand on its own. There is some "moving up and down" and some odd spacing, on "Presley" but he ends it with clear conviction and visual/grammatical correctness with the perfectly formed "L" then the "e" and then the "y"
- This autograph was given in 1955 during Elvis' time at the Louisianna Hayride. This autograph was written at an angle and compares nicely with what will be, in two shorts years, the "original mylar masters print of Elvis' signature types" that will be used on countless of items related to Elvis Presley over the years.
On this autograph the "E" is at an angle and the remaining letters (i.e. lvis) are all attached and proportioniate. Interestingly, Elvis chooses to continue signing after signing the last letter of his first name (i.e. "s") and goes right from the "s" to form the Capital "P" (for Presley). The "r" and the "e" are crudely formed. The "s" is semi-formed leading into the powerful "L" now an improved "e" going directly to a "y" that is connected to the "e" and then goes down and back up at an angel then straight down and then up approximately 3/4 of the way back up to his signature. For whatever reason(s) he ended that signature by taking the "y" on a "lengthy trip" down the paper.
- This autograph was taken in 1959 while Elvis was in Germany, having been drafted on Christmas of 1957, and would be granted an honorable discharge from the US Army in 1960. This is the first autograph,that we have included pictures of, that was written in "blue" ink. This autograph clearly is different fromm the others, and the others were equally as different from one another, beginning with the fact that this signature was signed on a FORM that designated a line whereby the letters should start at and the words not to exceed. However, Elvis opted to form the capital letter "E" way past the alignment line. He then has the letter "l" actually run through the top of his capital E.The remaining letter of "vis" are all attached - all go directly to the alignment line - with the last letter "s" exceeding the alignment line slightly. Interesting the "dot" where Elvis dotted his letter "i" is formed almost at a straight line overhead of the letter "s" instead of directly over the letter "i". The real standout in this autograph is the shape Elvis wrote for the capital "P". This letter (i.e. "P") never touches the alignment line and is quite "circular at the bottom part of the "p" but never allows the "lower circular area" or the "higher circular area" to touch the remaining parts of the letter "P". Let's call this "Elvis semi-closed letter P" because that is what it is. Elvis chooses on the next letter (i.e. r) to do a "complete and proper" letter "r" which is/was rare for him to do. Again half way through forming the letter "r" the rest of the letters never touch the "alighment line" and appear to be floating in space. The letter "e" is formed legibly followed by the letter "s" which is very "sharp" in it's formation as the last part of the "s" flows upward to connect the emphasis on the fully formed letter "l" that angels back down to form a "barely formed" letter "e" and then the "head" of the letter "y" is briefly formed leaving the remaining part of the letter "y" to be the emphasis and instead of making the end of the letter "y" be "semi-circular" here we see that Elvis is making the "top" of where the "y" is it's largest into a "straight line" instead of the usual "semi-circular. It is clear that Elvis' autographs are changing.
- This autograph was taken in 1963 and it is one of the most reproduced Elvis Presley autographs for his photographs, albums, collectors items, memorabilia, etc. The "ELVIS" is distinctive on it's own but the "P" in Presley is quite impressive with the letter "y" in Presley being the "crem dela crem" with its largeness and it's movement ending with a "slashing" ending stroke.
- These are several of the "sepia or mylar" Elvis Presley Signature Masters. These signatures were put on everything from postcards, to fan letters, to publicity stills, to souveniers, to back to records, to hats.
Since these autographs make up the majority of Elvis Presley items produced from 1970 and thereafter they are good sources to study and to use, as these others can be, to "cross reference" any Elvis autograph/signature that you are interested in.
- This is a RARE Elvis Presley autograph/signature from 1975 for several reasons. The first is that Elvis' autograph is in RED INK (which Elvis usually wrote in his homes with pens with red ink). The second point is that his father, Vernon Elvis Presley, also signed his name. Lastly, Elvis wrote, above his signature, the words "Best Wishes" in cursive.
Again, Elvis emphasis the letter "e" in Elvis then writes a "plain" Capital "P" and ends his signature with a long letter "y". One of the things I enjoy about this autograph is that even if you never heard, knew of, etc. the name "Elvis Presley" if you looked at this autograph you could easily make out all the letters in his name. That was not the case most of the time so HALLEJUAH for this one!
- This last autograph is very rare and very sad as Elvis passed away less than 2 months after he signed the paper.
This autograph was issued on Elvis' own custom letterhead/paper that included his "logo" of "TCB" (taking care of business) with a lightning bolt through the TCB. .
If we look close you see the Capital "E" is more "linear" and not "circular" in any respect then the "e" goes right to the next letter and then the next letter never stopping until after Elvis wrote the capital "P" then the remaining letters are all connected (i.e. "resley")with the letter "r" barely recognizable and every other letter not fully recognizable except the "l" and the "y".
Lastly, what is MOST interesting is that instead of ending his signature with the "semi-circular" "y" in this case Elvis takes the end of the "y" down approximatley (20) TWENTY TIMES LONGER than any of the other lower case letters. The "tail" of this letter "y" went on and on.
Clearly, something was in Elvis' mind to deviate from his "norm signature" to just go straight down the page like that.
Contrary to others "opinions" Elvis did not SOLELY use black or blue pens to sign his name. We have OVER 200 autographs, dating from 1949 through 1977 and the vast majority of them are in black ink. However, we do have some in red ink, blue ink, and a couple in black tipped marker. However, you should be VERY cautious/suspect if you see any Elvis autographs in "silver/gold" flake ink as that type of pen/product was not available during Elvis' lifetime.
Also, if you can have the SELLER email you a copy of the autograph and then take it to a place that has a scanner, if you don't, and have them blow up the autograph to fit on one 8.5 x 11 piece of white paper. Then look at the images blown up OR with a magnifying glass. A REAL signature should confirm lines of various widths. But, many digital printers use "dots" so when you blow up a signature you see that it is made up of dots. Elvis Presley was a REMARKABLE man, in countless ways, but he never signed his name via "pointilism" (i.e. tiny dots in the hundreds/millions combined to make an image).
The type of paper that the autograph is on can be very helpful indeed. Some papers you can hold up to a bright light and see the watermark/imprint of the paper company. Then you may want to call the paper company directly and find out if in the "year that the autograph was supposedly signed" they used that exact paper you are holding in your hand. If not, then lesson learned.
If the paper company is out of business do an online search to find out what years they were in business. As an example if the business we under in 1935 one would "question" how an autograph was put onto it in 1977 (i.e. 42 years later). But, if the paper was within a few years of when the autograph was made it could be genuine becuase people bought paper by cases, etc. The bottom line is the more you find out about the SELLER, how they got it, if there is any supporting documentation (i.e. photos, letters, witnesses, etc.), the paper, the ink, if it has been authenticated, if the seller has a good reputation, what your options are IF you want a refund within a reasonable time, etc.
I hope that you enjoyed these examples as much as we have had in putting the photos on the site (please excuse us for having to WATERMARK our images but if we didn't then our images could easily be stolen as they were time and again over a period of time. We have tried to "blend" the needs to clearly see Elvis' autographs on top of our WATERMARK. Hopefully we have succeeded without casuing too much visual stress.
When buying ANY "autograph" please do your homework which should consist of FULLY RESEARCHING the Seller and obtain as much information as you can IN WRITING and before you buy. Find out what the terms/conditions of the guarantee are. Ask IF there is any documentation that comes with the autograph whereby a professional, non-biased, signature authenticator has reviewed THIS EXACT AUTOGRAPH and put their findings in writing. Find out what recourse you have IF the autograph is NOT genuine (i.e. a copy or someone signed it other than Elvis). You should ALWAYS get someone with knowledge of Elvis Presleys' signature/autograph and ask them if they will do an "appraisal", what the fee would be to do so, and put their findings in writing. Then you should contact the SELLER and present them with the option of having it checked out by the "examiner" and let the SELLER know that IF it checks out that you will buy the item and pay for it in full within whatever number of days you can. This will give the SELLER an incentive AND fully protect you as well.
Besides going online to search for autograph examiners you may want to call the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and ask them (a) about the SELLER and see if they have any complaints on file against the Seller and (b) ask if they have any local autograph examiners who are in excellent standing that they can recommend. There is also an organization called PADA (Professional Autograph Dealers Association) available online that you can call and/or email. Another great idea would be to call one of the largest Auction Houses like Christies and find out who they use for autograph authentications.
Without question you should set up a budget on how much is the MAXIMUM per autograph you will pay (and don't forget shipping, insurance, mating, and framing costs into your calculations) and what is the TOTAL that you will pay for all autographs. An example would be that you would spend a total of $100.00 but not go over $ 30.00 for any single autograph. Whatever your budget is...STICK WITH IT and don't get all worked up and overspend because you may regret it.
Once you have the item please store it in a safe place free from directly sunlight, heat, cold, etc. We use "non-acidic frames" that are custom made to keep out the "bad light" and does not adversely affect the materials of the photo (i.e. paper, inks, etc.)and they are stored in climate controlled areas and fully secured so as not to bend AND they are kept at least (5) five feet off the ground in the event of water damage AND should an event occur we have lined cases that they can readily be put into that are water proof and fire proof. We recommend these steps but understand that when we first started collecting we had items of value in shoe boxes.
Collecting Elvis Presley Autographs/Souveniers is a very fun and informative way to celebrate/remember the life of Elvis. Every signature has a story and the story connects to the events of Elvis' life. If you enjoy this article please let me know.
Collecting Elvis Presley items for (approximately) fifty years now, and owning one of the largest (private) Elvis Presley Collections in the World, remains one of my passions. The others being God, family, helping special needs children, the disabled, and charitable endeavors.
In closing, I have opted to share my knowledge about Elvis SOLELY with professional and legitimate organizations such as "ehow.com". I welcome your feedback and appreciate your interest in Elvis Presley and for taking time to read my articles. Take care and God bless.
NEVER pay in cash. Always use VISA or MasterCard if possible because they offer protections against fraud (please check with your credit card issuer for details). If you buy from an online auction make sure the item is shipping with a tracking number AND with insurance (should it be damaged). Always get the "return" information IN WRITING (i.e. you can return within a week and get 100% of your money back, etc.). If you do return an item follow the return directions and make sure you use a DELIVERY CONFIRMATION and/or a DELIVERY RECEIPT that confirms the item was returned back to the seller on a certain day.
Lastly, Elvis Presley can be addicting so if you find yourself "overwhelmed" please go visit www.Elvis.com (official Elvis site) and/or www.ElvisCollector.info and/or www.ElvisCollectorWorld.com and you will find MORE than enough to keep you interested. Plus you can listen to some beautiful music online or check out a great video.
Thank you so much for your time. God bless.