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Autograph: Is Hergé's signature real?

Aristides Silk
#1 · Posted: 25 Nov 2015 21:41 · Edited by: Moderator
Hello everybody!

I have a question.

I recently bought a drawing plus signature of Hergé.
I am very happy with it.
But! I do want to know if it's really real. How can I make sure?
I didn't know where to go but here.
I hope you guys could help me out.
I have posted a photo of the drawing on Instagram so that you can check it out for yourselves.
Now I hope I won't be disappointed.

Thank you for checking the picture!
Best wishes
#2 · Posted: 26 Nov 2015 09:18
Welcome, Monsieur Silk! We hope that you came by this item legitimately, and didn't find it in one of your wallet collection... ;-)

More seriously, it's always going to be very tricky to answer a question like this.

You've not provided any context for how you got the piece, so we don't know what checks you did before buying it: did the seller give you any background as to where, how and why it was obtained originally? Those details are really important, and help to establish the chain from then until now.

Was there any proof which established the history as plausible (for example, could they show you a photograph of the occasion on which it was given)?

Did the seller try to disassociate themselves from authenticity? You see this a lot on places like eBay, where a seller - after paragraphs of how wonderful their "Picasso"/ "Rembrandt"/ "Jack the Ripper" autographed sketch or letter done in magic marker on a sheet of photocopier paper is, then says "I cannot guarantee that the item is genuine, and don't do refunds". It should ring alarm bells.

Was the price too good to be true? While it is always possible to stumble upon a signed copy of some rare book in a dusty second-hand shop, or find a bargain Van Dyck when someone doesn't know what they are selling, it's always sensible to try and think if the asking price and the item seem to agree.

Hergé autograph sketches are sought after and desirable to collectors, and thus have a monetary value; but, in practical terms, they are also quite simple to reproduce, being effectively pen on paper, which is easily obtainable.

If you can fill in any of the above, then you will start to build up a better picture for establishing authenticity.

You can, if you want, go through the Tintin.com website to the expert panel which examines items to make a declaration of authenticity; it will still only be an opinion (short of them being able to show fraud - e.g. if it's Hergé's signature on a 1984 calendar...!), but it will be a good opinion.

Without any more to go on than the photo, I have to say that I'm not entirely confident about it - the Snowy looks okay, but the Tintin is a bit heavy, the signature looks a bit angular, and the writing doesn't look fluid and neat enough. I'm also not sure about the paper - it's unusual to see what appear to be rough edges, I think.

However, as I say, that's purely based on the picture, and I've not got any context: was he old, was he ill, was he writing it on a napkin on the side of a suitcase at an airport...? Had he signed a thousand autographs at a book-signing, and was tired? It's just not possible to say definitively.

So please let us know if you have any other corroboration from the seller, and a history of the piece; then things might get easier!
Aristides Silk
#3 · Posted: 26 Nov 2015 23:04
Good evening Sir!

Hahaha no need to worry, I did came by this item legitimately ;)

Well.. there goes my "happy feeling"..
I bought it from a seller on Ebay. In the description it said it was an original.
The price?.. yes.. too good to be true (€80,-)
I really thought i found a treasure! But after i committed to buy i got a funny feeling. So thats why i asked him (A liiiiiittle too late..) where he got the autograph and how he knew it was real. He answered he found it inside an Italian TinTin comic book.
How he knew it was real? He said he compared it to other signatures and it appeared to be real.
The "flaws" in the drawing you mentioned were the same ones i spotted..
Somehow i knew it was too good be true.

Thank you so much for taking the time to look at the photograph and explain so thoroughly about autographs.

Ah well.. the search continues..
#4 · Posted: 27 Nov 2015 11:20
No problem - but as I said, what I've given is an opinion; it might be demolished in seconds by an expert in such things who could point to something I can't see and proclaim its authenticity. So don't rip it up just yet!

€80 certainly sounds on the low end of things when the seller claims to be knowledgeable enough to identify it is original, as he should also have known it could be sold a lot more.

Have you expressed any concerns to eBay? You should keep an eye on that seller and see if any other autographs turn up...

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