After 45 years: An LBJ mystery

OK, here’s a puzzle for all you collectors.  Illustrated is a document signed by Lyndon B. Johnson as president.  The paper and wax seal and engraving proves the document is a White House original, not some copy.  The question is; did LBJ really sign it?  I always more or less took for granted that 1960’s presidential appointments like this were either genuinely signed (most) or were signed in facsimile, secretarially or with an Autopen.  The signature on this document does not match up with any known LBJ Autopen, secretarial or facsimile signature!!!   Is it real?  Do any of you have a document that has an identical signature?   Is it possible it was signed with a felt tip pen?  PSA/DNA examined the original document and said  the signature was: " a rubber/steel stamp or printed facsimile reproduction."  Up to this time, no one seems to have ever identified  a stamped  LBJ signature on a document!!!   Also, modern presidential expert Larry Vrzilak said from a high quality scan that he felt there were remains of crossover strokes on a couple of letters, and believed the signature was genuine.   I, too, believe the signature is genuine, but would certainly welcome any and all input from others.  Rev. Neale Lanigan

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  • Dear Rich, the title of the book is:

    Film Autographs 1894-1941

    Copyright 1978

    Authors W. Neale Lanigan, Jr. & James Camner.

    We are lucky to have Neale here as a member. My opinion is this book should be reprinted.  It was actually issued as a catalog and each item is priced.Heavily illustrated with 1,148 actors/actresses identified with born/death dates and a brief biography. A well illustrated example of each of their signatures is illustrated. Full page introduction by Charles Hamilton.

    Try your luck finding this book and any other reference book at the following:

    AbeBooks.com

    Alibris.com

    Biblio.com

    Good luck.

  • Steve , I was reading your posting about the LBJ signature (possible) stamp and you mentioned a book on celebrity actors that came out in 1978. What is the name of that book as I would love to see if I can locate a copy of it for sale somewhere.

  • Just by chance, a "needle in a haystack" find.

    Here is the description of it:

    "A nice document, printed by the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing, by which Jeffrey Gould was appointed a Consul of the United States of America at Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on February 13, 1967. The document, which was laid on card stock for framing, is about 15 inches by 11 inches."

    I found this simply as a result of dumb luck.

    What is refreshing, is being a member of a site where we can share without harassment, or unwarranted censorship.

  • Grant, thank you for sharing your exemplar with the autograph community. It is something I did not have and is now a welcome addition to my reference files. I am sure many readers will feel the same.

    Steve Koschal

  • You heard it here first, at www.autographplanet.com

  • Great, Grant.  Amazing this stamp hasn't been publicized before this.  A great addition to the hobby.

  • Another example:appt2.JPG?width=721

  • Neale, I am so happy to see you join this group of serious collectors and dealers all who have the best interests of this hobby.  Your 1978 book on vintage film autographs has been used so many times by me that I had to have it bound in hard cover. Regarding your LBJ document:

    1)  I have a large file on LBJ and have examined well over 2 dozen presidential appointments signed by LBJ that have been sold over the years. Of that group not one of the signatures match each other.

    2)  Not one of the signatures on those documents match the one on your document.

    3)  I have not seen one LBJ presidential appointment document that was signed with a facsimile signature.

    4)  The signature on your document does not match ay of the six Autopen signatures of LBJ illustrated in my book "Presidents of the United States, Autopen Guide".

    5)  Your LBJ signature does not match any of the 5 identified Autopen signatures found in Bridges book on LBJ.

    6)  Your LBJ signature does not match the additional Autopen example found on LBJ's presidential Xmas cards.

    7)  Your LBJ signature does not match LBJ's printed signature used for "franking" as President.

    8)  In my exemplar files on LBJ and reference library, no where is there a mention of LBJ having a rubber/steel stamp for his signature.

    Most all legitimate autograph dealers have excellent reference libraries however one dealer may have a single piece of information not found in another file. This is one example of the importance of sharing information.

    With regard to the PSA/DNA Certificate, the signature of the person who signed the Certificate cannot be identified.  However there are a handful below that have handled presidential signatures.  For them to make a statement about your document "Autograph is a rubber/steel  stamp or printed facsimile reproduction" leads me to believe they were able to match your signature with something in their files.

    If this were to be a rubber stamp one should be able to tell the difference between a signature that was created by a rubber stamp verses one that was produced from a steel stamp. In addition, if the signature was a "printed facsimile reproduction", one should be able to tell the difference between a rubber stamp signature verses a signature that was preprinted. From the statement made by those at PSA it appears they do not know one from another as they sign off stating the signature could be produced by any one of the three.  However, giving them the benefit of doubt,  it appears they may have an exact copy of LBJ's signature on something that matches your signature.

    I would like to see someone from PSA/DNA come on here and share their information by offering a copy of the item they have on file that contains a signature that is an exact duplicate of the signature on your document. This would be an excellent opportunity where the hobby can work together and help build reference libraries. It's a good start.

    Steve Koschal

  • PSA IS correct in this case.

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