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  #31  
Old 06-12-2018, 11:35 AM
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Steve,

With prices of autographs doubling every 5 years in the hobby, it's surely going to attract a whole new level of forger. Probably from the art or antiquities world. New tools will be needed in the toolbox, even if only marginal.

The ink test would probably be most useful to filter out inks that couldn't have been used during the player's lifetime. For instance, Parker "Quink" ink, which came out in the 1950's with a special drying solvent. If you've ever used Quink, you'll see that it has a distinct gold chemical sheen to it when you tilt the paper sideways near a light or under magnification. Dead giveaway that it's modern. Old ink would have contained a primitive pigment like indigo.

Like you said, it's not perfect. But forgers make mistakes.

For example, one of the most successful art forgers, Wolfgang Beltracchi, was only caught because he used a white paint containing titanium white. He forged a Heinrich Campendonk painting, and titanium white wasn't available when Campendonk died 1914.

As far as the cost of spectrometers and other equipment, it will probably come down over time. There's already prototypes of mini-spectrometers that can be plugged into a smartphone. I imagine that the authenticator of the future will carry one around in their pocket.

Last edited by SetBuilder; 06-12-2018 at 11:55 AM.
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  #32  
Old 06-12-2018, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SetBuilder View Post
Are you being sarcastic, or are you just bad at inference?
You put the quote in "quotes" implying that it was an exact statement that you were quoting not implying.

"Who would ever send an autograph to that guy?!"
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Last edited by RichardSimon; 06-12-2018 at 01:10 PM.
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  #33  
Old 06-12-2018, 01:12 PM
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I have been to several antique shows where dealers are selling ink in jars that is quite old.

Ink tests while they can be very good at certain times at other times they cannot help. And they are very expensive.
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Last edited by RichardSimon; 06-12-2018 at 01:15 PM.
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  #34  
Old 06-12-2018, 02:06 PM
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There's a lot of nuances to old ink.

For example, Confederate stamp cover dealer and forger John Fox was pretty good at his craft. He even engraved his own postmarks on metal. But even with all his knowledge as a stamp dealer, he didn't realize that 1860's postal ink was made from a mixture of lamp black (carbon soot) and linseed oil. Instead of mixing his own ink, he used some type of modern ink without oil, and as a result, the ink didn't spread evenly across the metal postmark, leaving a spotted, "mottled" look to the ink. That gave him away. Super small detail, right?

See report here. It's on the last page.
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  #35  
Old 06-12-2018, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SetBuilder View Post
There's a lot of nuances to old ink.

For example, Confederate stamp cover dealer and forger John Fox was pretty good at his craft. He even engraved his own postmarks on metal. But even with all his knowledge as a stamp dealer, he didn't realize that 1860's postal ink was made from a mixture of lamp black (carbon soot) and linseed oil. Instead of mixing his own ink, he used some type of modern ink without oil, and as a result, the ink didn't spread evenly across the metal postmark, leaving a spotted, "mottled" look to the ink. That gave him away. Super small detail, right?

See report here. It's on the last page.

If there is a way to be crooked, someone will have the willingness to do it.
Sad comment on the state of human nature.
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  #36  
Old 06-13-2018, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SetBuilder View Post
There's a lot of nuances to old ink.

For example, Confederate stamp cover dealer and forger John Fox was pretty good at his craft. He even engraved his own postmarks on metal. But even with all his knowledge as a stamp dealer, he didn't realize that 1860's postal ink was made from a mixture of lamp black (carbon soot) and linseed oil. Instead of mixing his own ink, he used some type of modern ink without oil, and as a result, the ink didn't spread evenly across the metal postmark, leaving a spotted, "mottled" look to the ink. That gave him away. Super small detail, right?

See report here. It's on the last page.
Are you a USPCS member too? Not many cross over between hobbies at any sort of high level.
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  #37  
Old 06-13-2018, 09:18 AM
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Are you a USPCS member too? Not many cross over between hobbies at any sort of high level.
No, but I do have a small collection of 19th century stamps and covers.
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  #38  
Old 06-13-2018, 09:51 AM
steve B steve B is offline
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There are some projects for stamps that are using spectroscopy to solve a few long standing questions. All of them so far have relied on outside funding - grants etc.

They've found some interesting things. Like a certain reddish brown ink that has been assumed to be rust particles in linseed oil somehow includes exactly no iron whatsoever. So much for what's been "known" for over a century!

Old ink formulations were often trade secrets, especially the ones for printing.

The specific info about ink formulations and other stuff would probably apply somehow to older autographs, but probably not baseball.

Most authenticating of stamp stuff is done a lot like autograph authentication, examination by someone experienced with the exact specialty. I've seen one of the experts doing a bit during an antiques roadshow type thing they did at the 2006 international in DC. Stuff I was fairly sure of after a few hours of checking he confirmed in under a minute!
At least I was right..... (One good news, the other not so good but no loss so an inexpensive lesson. )

Currently there isn't much science involved, but that's slowly changing as the science gets more affordable.
I have a stamp out at the PF currently that will be the first of it's kind certified assuming they agree. A variety of one of the 1873 officials that was only discovered and identified fairly recently.
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  #39  
Old 06-13-2018, 09:52 AM
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And apologies for veering so far off topic.
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  #40  
Old 06-13-2018, 10:02 AM
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They've found some interesting things. Like a certain reddish brown ink that has been assumed to be rust particles in linseed oil somehow includes exactly no iron whatsoever. So much for what's been "known" for over a century!
Perhaps a Walnut ink of some sort? Not all was iron gall back then. For the average person it was too complicated to make, so many people would grind up bark, walnut husks, or insects, boil it, and then mix it with a binder. No iron sulfate was added.

Last edited by SetBuilder; 06-13-2018 at 10:03 AM.
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