Garry has been offering this full day course on autographs since late 2010, and over 70 UK dealers and collectors have now taken part. Garry now offers a special shorter version concentrating on the specifics or spotting fakes, facsimiles and autopens for provincial auction houses or dealers. 

The last event at Autographica at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel again attracted a full house, with some having to be put onto a waiting list for the next one.  Here are a few comments from some who attended.

  • "Fantastic........excellent value"       Ian Byers. Universal Autographs. London.
  • "The best days work i have done all year"      Bill Clarke.  Essex.
  • "Thank you for the course....we learned a lot!"    Siobhan O'Brien.   Buckingham Covers.
  • "Excellent, never knew there was so much to know about autographs, and I have been doing this for more than 15 years!"        Andy Hemmington. Autographs and Memorabilia.  
  • "Very Very informative, put me down for the advanced course"    Alan Holmes, Autographs Rock and Pop.

The full day course using Power Point, videos and examples of fakes etc, some from past court cases, consists of both written and practical work, all of course based around autographs. The day starts at 9am and will normally end sometime after 4.30pm. Tea/coffee etc and sometimes lunch is normally included.

Depending on the day's timings, the course will cover the following:

  • How to spot Autopen signatures.
  • Printed signatures inc stamped etc.
  • Secretarial signatures.
  • The History of pens.
  • Tell tale signs of forgery.
  • Civil and criminal law for dealers.
  • Mounting and framing, the do’s and don’ts.
  • The meaning of provenance
  • Buying on eBay.
  • Autograph valuation and appraisal.

Everyone has the opportunity to handle and work with autopens, secretarial and all the different types of printed signatures, as well as fakes and of course, the real thing!  Being able to see these first hand and be shown exactly what you need to look for, as well as the opportunity to work alongside other dealers and serious collectors, can only enhance the knowledge of all who attend.

The cost of the Part One course is just £99 per person which includes, all day tea/coffee etc, course manual and completion certificate, a maximum of 10 people per day can be accepted and it must be booked in advance. 

  • All participants receive a completion certificate.
  • Hands on work with fakes, secretarials and Autopens.
  • Sit down hot lunch provided in the restaurant.  
  • Tea/coffee breaks as needed, with free Tea/coffee. 
  • Completion provides guaranteed acceptance for part two of the course (advanced).  

The Part Two is only open to those who have completed Part One, and it is expected that demand for this will easily exceed capacity. It is hoped that a small number of places will be available to those who would like to take Part One and Part Two over consecutive days, but spaces for this will be very limited.

It is also possible to offer the course for as few as two people at your own venue, the cost of which would be £395 including course work and completion certificate, dependant on location.

Courses can also be tailored for Trading Standards, banks etc, or any business that needs to ensure its staff are aware of any possible handwriting or autograph fraud. 

A new course based upon a more refined version of the Part One, concentrates on autographs alone, and is designed for provincial auction houses who may not have the required in house expertise to deal with this kind of material. 

The course lasts around 4 to 5 hours and concentrates on the techniques to spot fakes, facsimiles and Autopens, and brings everyone right up to date with what the forgers are doing to try and fool all of us! There is a lot of money to be made by creating good fake autographs, and then offering them via eBay or local auctions, and the techniques now being used by the forgers can easily fool the unwary. These items are being seen by our dealers in auctions on a weekly basis, and it can only result in lost trade or worse, a visit from Trading Standards.   

Don't underestimate the lengths to which some of these forgers will go to make a good living from you! They will create very believable fakes good enough to fool many, create COA's to go with them, and often pass them through another dealer to help create some kind of provenance as well. Their efforts are rewarding them with in some cases several thousand £'s a week profit, and these items could easily come back to haunt you later!