Establishing the Authenticity of Disputed Signatures:

  1. In order to ascertain whether or not disputed signatures are authentic, an adequate number of acknowledged signatures would be necessary for use as standards for comparison purposes.
  2. The number of standards required would depend on the overall consistency of the writer’s normal signature; natural variation is bound to occur in everybody’s signature. A larger number of standards would be necessary if the writer has a tendency to vary his/her signature considerably.
  3. The best standards would be the signatures written spontaneously on documents contemporaneous with the disputed signatures, and preferably those appearing on documents similar to the questioned documents.
  4. Request specimens, where the writer is asked to produce exemplary signatures, are of less value for comparison purposes than are collected specimens as described above. However, if the specimens submitted differ significantly from the collected specimens, this would suggest that the writer is being deceptive.
  5. Generally, the examiner should not be deceived by self-serving standards. The standard of writing capability demonstrated in the known and disputed writings would be compared. It is axiomatic that a person cannot write beyond his/her ability or skills.
  6. The line quality, including the evenness of the line as well as the pressure pattern, would be compared. Hesitation, tremor, and inappropriate pen lifts occurring within the line would be sought.
  7. Consistency in the overall spontaneity demonstrated by the speed and fluency of the line would be investigated; for example, the occurrence of tapering flying starts and finishes of lead and end strokes.
  8. The slope, the alignment of the signature’s components with the given baseline, the positioning of pen-lifts and line re-starts, the line direction and the sequence of strokes, the spacing between letters and strokes, the positioning of the “i” dots and the “t” bars, the proportional height of the short and tall letters, the positioning of the apices of the tall letters, the writing pattern at the top and at the bottom of the signature, would be  compared.
  9. Generally, common individual characteristics occurring among the letter formations would be sought.
  10. Persistent dissimilarities that could not be argued away as natural variations would be sought.
  11. Latent guidelines and grooves within the line, coupled with the lack of spontaneity of the line, would be investigated regarding the possibility that.

Equipment Used

For Viewing:

  • An Olympus stereoscopic zoom microscope, fluorescent and ultra-violet light boxes, loupes and various magnifying devices, and an overhead projector. Comprehensive lighting facilities, including fibre optic, for detailed close-up image illumination. High resolution scanning facilities, including a Foster and Freeman Video Spectral Comparator (VSC4) for the examination and comparison of inks, and for the detection of overwritten writings, erasures, latent indentations, and details hidden beyond the visual spectrum.

For Photography:

  • Analogue and digital Canon and Nikon cameras with facilities for high resolution macro and micro photography.

For Measuring:

  • Various instruments and grids, including 0.05mm dial callipers.

Computer Software:

  • Analysis “Soft Imaging System” for image acquisition, image archiving, documentation, interactive measurements, graphic overlay, direct printing and macro scripting facilities.

Typewriters/Printers:

  • Comprehensive catalogues of typestyles/fonts used by the manufacturers of typewriters and printers. Furthermore I have a sizable collection of working portable typewriters in my “museum” dating back to 1922.

Library:

  • I have a comprehensive library of books by well known authorities on all aspects of handwriting and typescript analysis and investigation.
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