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To his fans or to collectors of celebrity autographs, Vincent Price was a true gentleman and was happy to oblige all autograph requests. Fans from all around the world would write letters to Vincent, requesting an autographed photo or index card. These days, most celebrities either ignore fan requests for autographs, or have an assistant send a "secretarial signature". Not Vincent Price. Vincent really appreciated his fans and often replied to fans with a hand signed photo (often paying the return postage himself) and sometimes a handwritten letter or even a hand drawn sketch.
Autographed photos of Vincent Price can vary in price from a few dollars to over 500 dollars. If you wrote to Vincent Price before he passed away, and requested an autographed photo, Vincent would have sent you a signed portrait. His signed portrait is the most common and least expensive autographed photo available today. If your favorite Vincent Price film was The Last Man on Earth, and you wanted an autographed photo from that film, you could have mailed a photo (and the return postage), requesting a signature. When Vincent Price returned home from doing live theater, he would always autograph the photo and mail it back to you. Signed photos of Vincent Price in many of his horror roles like Theater of Blood, The House of Usher, and The Abominable Dr. Phibes are the most desirable and expensive. But now that Vincent Price has passed away, autograph collectors can only purchase his signed photo on the secondary market. Many autograph dealers used to send Vincent Price dozens of photos at a time and he always signed and returned them. But how do you know if the signature is authentic?
Autograph collectors often wonder if the signatures in their collection are real, secretarial, or outright forgeries. Vincent appreciated his fans and almost always answered requests for autographs. At one point, Vincent Price wrote a letter to the movie studio he worked for, requesting they stop mailing secretarial autographs to his fans and instead forward his fan letters directly to his home. So, secretarial Vincent Price signatures are very uncommon. Outright forgeries are a problem in the autograph collecting community, but Vincent Price had a fast signature that is difficult to forge. Price had two variations on his signature. For ease of explanation, lets call the variations his fancy signature and his plain signature , with the most notable difference being the letter P in Price. By comparing a questionable Vincent Price autograph with some of these examples, you can determine whether you have an authentic or forged autograph. Often signed documents, such as checks or contracts are excellent sources to view authentic signatures. Here are the signatures from two of Price's original contracts: One is his first contract with Universal Studios and a later contract for CBS television. Other excellent examples can come from his bank account checks and this studio document. Another excellent example is when Price signed the autograph In Person - like this photo from The Fly that he signed for me when I met him in Milwaukee, WI.
Many photos have a pre-printed signature of a celebrity that was on the original negative and was printed directly on the photo as part of the photo development process. Here is one way to tell if Vincent Price actually hand signed the photo with a magic marker or if the signature is part of the photo.
Hand signed with a marker
Pre-printed on a letter.
|Note the areas of the signature where the marker crosses another area of the signature. Whenever a line crosses another line, the crossed area should be roughly twice as dark as the signature. The crossed areas have twice as much ink as the rest of the signature. This signature was signed in thick black marker so the crossed areas and remainder of the signature are easy to compare. Sometimes the signature may need to be viewed under magnification.||This signature was from a printed letter that was mailed by Vincent's assistant when Vincent was too ill to continue signing autographs. The original letter was hand signed by Price and Xerox copies were mailed to fans. Notice the ink flow appears the same throughout the entire signature.|
Vintage photos were generally printed by The National Screen Service for distribution to movie theaters to display in their lobby and promote the movie as a coming attraction or as a coming soon film. National Screen Service photos have markings in the lower border and, if the film was released in Canada, a censorship approval stamp as seen on this photo from The Last Man on Earth.
Original press photos were sent to newspapers and magazines to promote the film's release. they often come with an original snipe on the reverse to print in the newspaper along with the photo. Sometimes the photo has original stamps on the reverse to instruct newspaper editors on giving proper credit to the film or studio.
All vintage photos do not follow the above rules. Sometimes a photo can be identified as vintage from the natural ageing process. Vintage photos often have "silvering" around the edges of the photo. The paper quality on the reverse will be slightly course when you glide your fingers across. When you lay the photo on a table, it will curl slightly due to age. The image will be very sharp and clear.
|Original photo from The Last Man on Earth. Note the Canadian Censorship Approval Stamp on the right side of the photo and this close up image.||Original National Screen Service photo from The Fly. Note the NSS markings in the lower border and the silvering around the edges, consistent with old photos.||Modern reproduction of a photo from The Invisible Man Returns. Note the blurriness of the text and the original border is visible as a second border.||Original photos are sometimes stamped to instruct newspapers and magazines on giving proper studio credit.||This original photo has a snipe - information about the TV series for advertisements. Sometimes the snipe is glued to the reverse.||This original press photo has both a snipe and stamps on the reverse.|
Modern reproductions of photos will not be as sharp as vintage photos. Often text will be slightly blurred and an additional border is sometimes visible. When you lay the photo on a table, it will lay flat.
Created by: Dennis L. Phelps