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View Full Version : Signed pic of Bill Monroe - legit?



mando_dan
Sep-21-2010, 12:53pm
I bought this signed photo off eBay a couple of weeks and have been wondering ever since it's authentic. Anyone out there familiar with Mon's signature and whether or not this was a publicity photo that he used.

Photo is an 8.5x11 black and white glossy but the image itself is pretty grainy- certainly more so than I'd expect for a professional portrait photo; perhaps a photo of photo? "Best wishes" is written in light blue ball point and then overwritten (not perfectly) in the same pen used for the signature. As I can attest to, attempting to write on glossy with ballpoint is difficult. Can't tell if the pen used is a Sharpie, but it certainly appears to be some kind of felt tipped pen.

Did I get fleeced? If I made the world's dumbest purchase, it wasn't a ton of money, so I can laugh at my foolishness if need be. Hey, I do that anyway.

Thanks!

barry k
Sep-21-2010, 1:29pm
I am not a hand writing expert , but I have several autographs from Bill , and it looks a little different from the ones I have, especially the "B's" in Bill and B est wishes ? The Monroe part almost matches identical . I would guess that yours is authentic , just from a different time period in his life then the signatures I have.

evanreilly
Sep-21-2010, 7:14pm
I think the picture is a cropped piece of a heavily air-brushed early Decca promo picture.
Signature looks like most of mine, FWIW.....

Billy1
Sep-21-2010, 9:31pm
I'd say it's legit. Certainly looks like Bill's handwriting. I'd say he started writing with a ballpoint and then restarted with a sharpie. I've got one autograph from him that he used a ballpoint on and he had trouble with it. Matter of fact, it's got several autographs on it and it's also a picture of The Legends of Bluegrass with Bill, Mac, Jim & Jesse and Ralph Stanley. All the others I have are in sharpie.

Ivan Kelsall
Sep-21-2010, 11:37pm
I have Bill Monroe's autograph (obtained by me) signed in red ballpoint,on the back of his LP "Bluegrass Ramble" from 1966. Yours is very similar indeed to mine,so i'd guess that yours is genuine. Signatures are very rarely absolutely identical,
Ivan

Raymond E.
Sep-22-2010, 7:48am
Mornin'...
I have 'em stacked up here,Dan..yours is right and real...looks like to me

mando_dan
Sep-22-2010, 12:39pm
Nice- thanks everyone! Certainly wish I could have gotten the autograph in person but I'm not certain if I'd even heard of Bill Monroe at the time of his death. Fortunately I've gotten to meet many of my favorite mandolin/bluegrass/newgrass musicians over the last few years including my new (going back a few years) musical hero, Sam Bush.

It's a good time to be alive in the world of mandolins- so many great players and so many great builders.

f5loar
Sep-22-2010, 3:46pm
While I've got 100's of Bill's signatures over the decades I saw him in person what I questioned about this one is it looked more like a laser copy of maybe an original. A color laser copy would show the blue ink. I just can't see Monroe signing a grainy photo like that and signing so small at the bottom. Now to tell if you got a copy of an original is pretty tough to do by looking at ebay photos. If ballpoint the pen will show through the back. Sometimes you need a 10X magnifier to see if it's real or copy. If copy you will not see that indention on the back. Felt tips harder to tell as you don't press down hard on those but you can tell by the way it is applied to the glossy paper. Also the size of the signature looks smaller to me then the majority of ones I've had done in person. So that too led me to believe it was a reduction color laser copy. The photo looks to be an enlarged Decca promo which would explain the grainess of it. The problem with ebay sellers dabdling in areas they know nothing about is they can't tell real from laser copy so they simple say it's real or the source they got it from says it's real. Kinda like those fake Gibsons we've been seeing so often on ebay. Those pawn shop dealers truly believe they got a good pawn on a Gibson mandoin/guitar but since they were dupped and have no recourse to recoup their investment that pass along the "it's real" to ebay customers who the majority of don't know either. Now if you want a real Monroe autograph I have several canceled checks from the 80's I got from son James. I included a nice 80's real promo photo and you can have it framed with the check at the bottom. Cancelled checks is a safe way to sell a dead persons autograph.

Paul Kotapish
Sep-24-2010, 12:37am
The signature looks about like the one Mr. Monroe signed for me on one of those old "King Wilkie" cover Grand Ole Opry song folios, but as noted by several folks above, you'd need some serious looking to see if was original or copied.

mando_dan
Sep-24-2010, 12:43pm
I'll have to dig around and see if I can find a magnifying glass to see if can see ridges of the ballpoint. There is very slight smudge of the marker on the photo which I think would be hard to capture with a scanner, or at least I expect it would be. I'll let y'all know.

Mandoviol
Sep-27-2010, 5:56am
While I've got 100's of Bill's signatures over the decades I saw him in person what I questioned about this one is it looked more like a laser copy of maybe an original. A color laser copy would show the blue ink. I just can't see Monroe signing a grainy photo like that and signing so small at the bottom. Now to tell if you got a copy of an original is pretty tough to do by looking at ebay photos. If ballpoint the pen will show through the back. Sometimes you need a 10X magnifier to see if it's real or copy. If copy you will not see that indention on the back. Felt tips harder to tell as you don't press down hard on those but you can tell by the way it is applied to the glossy paper. Also the size of the signature looks smaller to me then the majority of ones I've had done in person. So that too led me to believe it was a reduction color laser copy. The photo looks to be an enlarged Decca promo which would explain the grainess of it. The problem with ebay sellers dabdling in areas they know nothing about is they can't tell real from laser copy so they simple say it's real or the source they got it from says it's real. Kinda like those fake Gibsons we've been seeing so often on ebay. Those pawn shop dealers truly believe they got a good pawn on a Gibson mandoin/guitar but since they were dupped and have no recourse to recoup their investment that pass along the "it's real" to ebay customers who the majority of don't know either. Now if you want a real Monroe autograph I have several canceled checks from the 80's I got from son James. I included a nice 80's real promo photo and you can have it framed with the check at the bottom. Cancelled checks is a safe way to sell a dead persons autograph.

I think it's probably harder for us to tell if it's a scan or a photo because it's a digital image of the original. Looking at the picture here, it looks like it wasn't scanned at a very high resolution for internet upload. This makes telling anything about it a bit tougher.

mando_dan
Sep-28-2010, 7:08pm
It's real, a real signature at least. Under a magnifying glass I can definitely see where the ball point pen made indentations into the glossy surface of the photo and I can see see very slight variations and bleeding of the felt tip pen. So I'm convinced that I have a real autograph on a real photo. Bill Monroe? Hopefully! Why a cruddy version of an old photo? Your guess is as good as mine.