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Interview: Expert gives tips on finding authentic Beatles autographs (Video)

Autographs of Elvis Presley and the Beatles have been reportedly the most faked, according to a New York Times report. But as memorabilia dealer Perry Cox told Beatles Examiner that even though there are a lot of fakes out there, Beatles autographs remain a hot item on the collectibles market.

A photo signed by all four Beatles at Christie's in New York in December, 2006.
A photo signed by all four Beatles at Christie's in New York in December, 2006.
Getty Images

“Indeed, Beatles autographs are among, if not, 'the' most faked autographs on the market,” he told us. “Yet, while this is true, they continue to remain the most popular among collectors and investors and all the fakes in the world has not changed that fact."

So how does a collector go about judging whether an autograph is real or is fake?

“The single best advice I can give to anyone planning to own and enjoy an original set of Beatles autographs is to learn as best you can how original authentic signature examples should look from any given time period,” he says. “Examine known authentic sets from each year starting 1960/61 (extremely rare), and continuing with each year. Even learn the later examples as solo artists. Beatles signatures, much like our own, subtly or overtly have changed to one degree or another with time.

"It's a great idea," he says, "to obtain and build a picture reference of known authentic examples from each year and keep them handy when shopping for Beatles autographs.

These two practices alone are a very effective defense against buying a counterfeit set."

It's also equally important to have some help, too, he says. He suggests consulting a knowledgeable and reputable collector or dealer before you make any purchase.

"These days I know that part isn't easy," he says. "Many dealers, including myself at times, have reduced access to our opinions based on the legal liabilities involved. Nobody wants to hear their items are 'not authentic' and in those cases, often the messenger is the 'bad guy' and the one targeted for lawsuits and/or retaliation. In some of these cases, quite often the seller immediately has ill feelings towards the 'messenger' as well having to now refund a purchase just because "somebody said it was bad!" So you can see the quick fires that ignite when somebody sends any kind of 'not authentic' response!"

But many people who say they are experts aren't, he says.

“These days, there are many who claim to be experts and truly very few who really are. I consider myself still a 'student' of the field of autographs and I'm still learning and trying to improve to make our community a safer place. Of late, there are some out there who are trashing others and claiming themselves to be "the expert", etc.. They have even infiltrated eBay and beyond trying to set them or himself up as 'the man.' He and they are not 'the man,' but may have good intentions along with the same goal of keeping the market safe. Even the best authenticators in the world are not 100% correct, 100% of the time. But many are very good and one would do well to consult them and/or purchase an item with their COA, etc."

Here's Cox's advice in a nutshell.

“The best bottom line is to, A, educate yourself by learning what originals should look like; B, keep a photo file for reference either in digital or print form if necessary and, C, to consult as much as you can with other knowledgeable collectors or dealers. Fakes are out there aplenty, but so are many wonderful original authentic examples that should never be tainted by fraud. Happy collecting!”

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