An expert on Beatles signatures has concluded that the autographs etched into a guitar owned by a person in the Lower Mainland are forgeries. The Province first told you the story in November.
That solves one but not all of the mysteries. Who originally owned the guitar? Who signed it? Why? These questions have been in the air 50 years and likely don’t have an answer. Until someone comes forward, the mystery will continue loom over JH.
JH used to rent a rooming house at 10th and Ash, where a cancer treatment centre now stands. It was here that she often rented to musicians who sometimes would use her basement to rehearse. It was here, too, that JH accumulated several guitars including the one apparently bearing The Beatles’ signatures.
She now thinks she might have acquired the guitar at one of the several second hand stores near her. To furnish her rooms, JH often would buy second hand furniture. That might have been 50 years ago, dating from when The Beatles appeared at Empire stadium, Aug. 29, 1964, but she doesn’t remember. She simply came to have the guitar and flung it with the others in a closet.
There it stayed for years until a granddaughter pulled the guitar out and noticed the signatures. So began a mystery partially solved by Frank Caiazzo of Beatle Autographs.
The Province took photos of all the autographs, sent them to Mr. Caiazzo who concluded in an email that, “Unfortunately, in my opinion, based upon the images you have sent and without having the guitar in hand — which is not needed in this instance — this guitar was not signed by of any members of The Beatles.
“There are many technical errors to be found within each of these signatures, including: improper formation of the letters, improper proportion of the letters to one another, improper angles of the letters and improper spacing between the letters. Additionally, these signatures lack the flow of authentic examples. This was an ‘amateur attempt’ in every sense of those words, and whoever did these has little ability in replicating the autographs of the members of The Beatles.
“As a side note with regard to Beatles autographed guitars: I have only ever seen one in my 25 years of experience with Beatles signed and handwritten material. That guitar, which was also signed by 4 of the 5 members of The Rolling Stones as well as members of several other British bands, was believed to have been destroyed in a California mudslide many years ago. A guitar autographed by The Beatles would be valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in my opinion.”
So, who did sign the guitar and why? In the years since the “autographs” were discovered by JH, autograph buying and collecting has become a profitable business that has created many victims. It is why auction houses are suspicious of anything purporting to be authentic and now employ experts. It is why a specialist such as Beatle Autographs exist. It is especially neccesary when the Internet has opened the door to all kinds of scam artists.
For her, the magical mystery tour rolls on.