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One of Eric's tools for authentication - Joni Mitchell (short version)

Hi All,

I am posting this here as this method is buried in another thread and not likely to be seen. In the recent Vincent Price SP discussion there was some question of authenticity. It was suggested I make a dedicated Discussion of this technique which I have been using succesfuly for more than 10 years. I'm showing just one method that has proven very useful over the years. Viewing signatures alongside known exemplars (I miss TheCead!) flipped backwards and/or upside and/or flipped horizontally and/or flipped vertically in Photoshop to view forms, loops angles, spatial relations and negative spaces without the eye being muddied by seeing the normal letter shapes - to see clinically from a different POV. This example is a Joni Mitchell questioned by Stepeanut. My analysis is below the questioned Mitchell. To read the entire thread, which I recommend, click HERE.

Here is the questioned Mitchell. Beneath that is the questioned signature on the bottom along with three genuine examples using this technique. The questioned example is slightly atypical but clearly genuine in my opinion based on the work I prepared. Stepeanut agrees. Three points of reference were selected and highlighted in Yellow. I have not encountered many if any forgeries that can withstand this sort of scrutiny. The bad material sticks out immediately.

 Again, there much more information and explanations in the original Discussion with positive comments from other members and top Bowie authenticator Andy Peters (Davidbowieautograph.com) who also uses this technique to be found HERE.

Here is my comparison - upside down and flipped horizontally.

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Hi Steve, Pauline,

Very busy today, but one thing I noticed is the same construction of the "o". I believe Steve's is authentic:

I must admit agree, I am 90% sure it is authentic now too. The "Joni" does it, but the other thing I notice is the underlying positioning, for example, the "Mitchell" on these examples has a slight rise, or bridge if compared to a straight lined page. This is a good rule for figuring out Marilyn Monroe too. She has a particular "bridge" as well, which can disappear when signing on a flat line - the rest of the time, her signature in the wild has a pronounced reliable bridge underlying the "Monroe".   On Joni Mitchell , the rise is from the c and then resolves into oversized "l"s. I spotted the o in Joni as being hers too. The "n" in her writing my name "Pauline", is a very similar "n" in the lower autograph also. 

I always think too, it's a one shot at ruining a perfectly good original tour program with a bad fake.  So highly likely to be real. As I said, my only hesitation, was the direction correction at the beginning and end of the Mitchell.

I feel like I have a "feel" for Joni's autograph now too. It's a good study. 

Joni was seated at a booth table in the hotel restaurant when she signed my autograph. Nice flat relaxed situation, post show, with her husband by her side. The lower autograph may have possibly been signed standing without a hard surface.

Thank you Pauline, for the kind words, keen observations, story and notion of how it was signed - I agree - possibly signed standing. Wonder where Steve went? I wish there were more aditions to this thread. I'm a little surprised actually, but not much. Oh well. :) 

Have a great week!

Sorry, guys.  I have a lot going on at the moment, but I am still around and very grateful to you both for your thoughtful and knowledgeable comments.


Happy to hear you’ve warmed to this autograph, Pauline.  There are certainly artists whose signature I know better than Joni’s, but I do have a ‘feel’ for her myself, and this example called to me from the moment I saw it listed online.  I rarely spend more than a few pounds on autographs without provenance.  This one isn’t flashy, and wasn’t expensive in the grand scheme of things, yet everything about it feels right to me.

Thanks for your comments Steve. It looks like you did very well to follow your instincts! I have the same sorts of "feelings" about Bowie (1976-1980) and Jackie Gleason (1945-1987), but it is very useful to have hard tools to use when needed. I'd love to hear more about the techniques of others beyond the obvious. We three, and Josh, are the only ones in this thread! :( 

Bump once more for those interested in authentication techniques.

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