Astronaut autographs are increasingly popular and therefore appreciating substantially in price. As such, they are also targets of forgers, both skilled and laughable. In addition, all NASA astronauts are issued autopen machines, and most made extensive use of these mechanical signatures. See our Autograph Advice.
How can a customer be sure that our astronaut autographs are authentic?
1. We know most of the astronauts on a first name basis, and they come to our gallery for public booksignings and private mail-in space memorabilia signings. We obtain our stock usually in-person, or personally direct from the astronauts. (see: SIGNINGS) In fact we handle many hard-to-get astronauts exclusively. John Young, Michael Collins, Harrison Schmitt and Frank Borman only sign for us.
2. We're experts. We've sold more authentic astronaut autographs than anyone, and so we recognize autopens (which are easy) and forgeries (which take a more experienced eye.)
Other astronaut autographs we obtain from other sellers, auctions, estate sales, etc. which we determine after careful study, to be authentic.
3. We supply many other astronaut autograph dealers with our goods, because they know our reputation, or are referred to us by the astronauts themselves. Our clients include Kennedy Space Center (compare prices,) and Space Center Houston, The Space Store and SpaceToys in the USA, as well as several overseas outlets.
Astronaut autographs are a frequent target of forgers. Part of the reason is that some prominent astronauts refuse to sign anymore, making their autographs extremely desirable and worth the attention of both inept and expert forgers. Neil Armstrong, for example, was the most sought-after autograph of any (then) living person. For over 15 years, he steadfastly refused to sign, but signed many things before that, making a thriving secondary market, and providing many "exemplars" for the experienced forger to copy, at up to $10000 apiece. Easy money.
Online auction houses are an easy mark for these items. Although some good astronaut autographs may be had there, it is a scary place for the inexperienced autograph collector. eBay abounds with bad forgeries, copies, and other scams but because of its "buyer beware" hands-off policy, customers have little recourse.
You can be secure in the fact that your astronaut autograph from Astronaut Central is authentic. Please see SIGNINGS reports for photos & video of the astronauts'most recent visits.
Certificates of Authenticity
As you may know these are just pieces of paper unless backed up by someone substantial. Anyone can print up a certificate of authenticity, and many folks think it is some sort of legal document,
(which it isn't.) Our certificates are so highly regarded, however, that they have been known to be forged or copied themselves!
How Did We Get to Know the Astronauts?
Kim Poor, founder of Astronaut Central, was a well-known space artist. While traveling to art shows and fairs in Texas, he met Apollo 12 astronaut turned artist Alan Bean. Kim began to include Bean's limited edition prints in his mail order catalogs, and later in his gallery.
Kim's success, savvy and integrity impressed Bean, and he recommended him to Gene Cernan, another Apollo astronaut and fellow Houstonian who was looking to sell some autographed photos. It grew from there, with book signings and then various astronaut signings at our office.