Autographs

Autographed Portrait by Hoover Art Co. circa 1919A note for those wishing to collect an autograph, here are a few facts to keep in mind:

As a rule, Valentino almost always signed his full name on photos (unless it was inscribed to a close personal friend). He then signed any number of ways "Rudy", "Rodolfo" or "Rudolfo" still generally with an inscription.

Valentino dated the signature or inscription either with the full date or at least the year (as shown on the left). Although I have run across autographs that were merely the signature with a simple inscription, most samples of his autograph I have seen are inscribed as well as dated.

Valentino often signed letters and inscriptions on photographs in green ink. So if you see an autograph in green ink, don't think you're entirely nuts and don't assume that it is a fake. Generally, the autographs are in either black ink or white (on dark photos) or in green ink.

Genuine correspondence, letters, documents and bank checks can be signed in many ways. Most bank checks I've seen have been signed simply "R. Valentino."

 Examples of handwritten letters by Valentino are exceedingly rare items and highly desirable. A good deal of his personal correspondence was dictated and transcribed by his personal secretary. All personal correspondence I have seen is on Valentino's letterhead or on hotel stationary. His letterhead was simple and unadorned with his name in the upper left hand corner (also on the matching envelope) or his personal logo of RVG.  Additionally, I have seen at least three different examples of letterhead he for Falcon Lair (clearly he was trying to decide which format was best for him).  Detail of early Valentino autograph 1919

Like most stars of the silent era, when the studio received requests for photos or simply fan mail, an answer was generated by the publicity department in the form of a "form letter" with a facsimile stamped autograph and usually included a fan photo (5x7 or 8x10 in size) with a facsimile rubber stamped signature. Rubber stamped signatures on photos issued from the studio can be in blue or black ink. I have never seen an authentic Valentino autograph in blue ink, there might be one out there, but I've never seen one in 20+ years of collecting memorabilia.

The present market value runs anywhere from $2,000 and up depending on the quality of the item (i.e., photograph signed and inscribed, slip of paper, letter, etc.) and it also depends on who it is that is doing the selling. 

Bargains can be had but be wary if the price is too low or if you are unsure about the quality. Unless you are absolutely certain of the origin of any autograph and are familiar with the signature, always try to deal with an accredited autograph dealer. I'm not saying outright that there are unscrupulous dealers out there as I don't have any wish to offend anyone in the business. Just a case of let the buyer beware!

Want to see some more samples

Where to Start
Always, always, always do your homework when seeking to purchase an autograph.  There are countless fakes everywhere, especially on Ebay. 

Try to work with a dealer who is a member of PADA and make sure they have a stated return policy.

If you do buy an autograph on Ebay, buyer beware.  There have been many genuine signed items listed and sold on Ebay, and three times as many fakes.  Just remember, a COA is not worth the paper it is printed on, so do not take that as an absolute guarantee of authenticity.

The more research you do, the better your chances of purchasing a vintage autographed photo or document.  You may have to be patient, but it will be worth the wait, believe me!

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