The only sure way to know if an autograph is authentic is to see a celebrity sign in front of you. Otherwise you must sort out the many fakes that will certainly be mailed to you or, worse, offered to you for sale. If you are just beginning to collect autographs you probably cannot tell if an autograph is authentic.
There are several ways that fakes are commonly produced. Autopen is a machine that can sign a name for a celebrity. Another way is for a secretary to sign for a celebrity. Also, the celebrity may use a rubber stamp or may send printed signatures that look real. The "autopen" relied on a pattern, referred to as a matrix, that the machine would trace. Still, to the untrained eye, autopen autographs appear to be real.
- shaky signatures: the result of the machine being accidentally moved while in operation;