Laurel and Hardy's autographs and tips for collecting them

Stan  Laurel  and Oliver Hardy  wrote hundreds of autographs during their career. At the moment demand for original and authentic autographed items are at an all time high .

I am afraid to say that most of the signatures for sale at the moment on internet auction sites are either forgeries [ some good and others appalling ] or high  quality photo copies of originals and being advertised as authentic. With today's technology it is getting harder to distinguish the copied item. Some dealers advertise them as reproductions while other less honest dealers very cleverly word their description. The images below are all examples of authentic Laurel and Hardy autographs taken from my collection

Stan Laurel signed cheque

Stan Laurel Signed Cheque from 1929

From the Stephen Neale collection

Oliver Hardy signed cheque

Oliver Hardy Signed Cheque from 1938

From the Stephen Neale collection

The two cheques above [ both from my collection ] are in mint condition considering that Stans cheque was written in 1929. It is made payable to Alf Goulding [ he directed the 1940 film 'A Chump at Oxford '- Alf has signed it on the back of the cheque ].Oliver's cheque , from 1938, is made payable to the 'Screen Actors Guilds ' for the sum of $100. Oliver's cheque's are extremely rare, not many are in existence .There are quite a few Stan Laurel cheques still available from time to time, sometimes appearing on internet auction sites such as Ebay .They can go for anything over £200 depending on who the cheque was made payable to. It is always nice to own one of Stan's cheques with a Laurel and Hardy connection involved, such cheques known to exist have been made payable to Hal Roach , James Finlayson and to Oliver Hardy, but these are in the hands of private collectors.

To see more signed celebrity cheques  with a Laurel and Hardy connection  click here

Stan Laurel autograph

Genuine Stan Laurel Autograph

From the Stephen Neale collection

If you intend buying a Laurel and Hardy autograph from an auction site, check the following before you think of bidding .........1] Check the Sellers feedback, if they have 100% positive feedback they are probably a reliable dealer, if  below 100% check out the negative feedback to see why . 2] Does the dealer belong to the UACC [ Universal Autograph Collectors Club ] ? The UACC monitors the sales of autographs from their members who have to use strict guidelines for selling.3]Always get a signed receipt for merchandise, instead of a COA.[ Certificate of Authenticity ] Frankly, they aren't worth the paper that they are printed on. A COA is only as good as the dealer that has issued it..4] . Does the dealer offer full money back guarantee if you can prove it is a forgery 5]Ask the seller if he has any background information on the item eg, did he know the person who it was inscribed to, relative etc, .5] Stan always put a  " . " [full stop ] after signing his name, forgers often miss the full stop out.6] .Stan used a fountain pen and signed on his half of the picture, with Mr . Hardy signing on his half.7] Oliver Hardy used a ball point pen from 1947 onwards, any pre 1947 ball point pen signatures of Oliver Hardy are fake.  Always remember the above if you would like to add Laurel and Hardy's signatures to your coillection .

Once you have the autographs in your possesion and you want to display them on your wall, maybe in a nice frame with a mount board around it, my advice to you is make a colour copy of the original autographs and put the copied version in the frame, this will stop the originals from fading due to sunlight.Once it is in the frame with glass it would be hard to tell the original from the copied.

Oliver Hardy autograph

Genuine Oliver Hardy Autograph

From the Stephen Neale collection

Album pages fetch the lowest of the prices, £150+ followed by signed photos or postcards, most of those were inscribed , eg "To John " , "Best Always "etc

Perhaps the most collectable signed photos today are signed STAX photo's, see image below. Stax  Graves was the official Hal Roach Studio's photographer and took many portrait head and shoulders shots of Mr. Laurel and Mr .Hardy. He worked along side Laurel and Hardy during the making some of their films taking still photography on films  such as Way Out West , Swiss Miss and The Bohemian Girl to name a few. Most of the head and shoulders prints were in sepia, and nowadays some of the images suffer from 'silvering ',. The vast majority of photographs made from 1900-60 are gelatin-silver prints. Gelatin-silver prints have a variety of tones, including a sepia color. Silvering is when it appears as if the silver has come to surface. It is often more noticeable when viewed at a specific angle to the light. While not all early gelatin-silver photographs will have silver, if one does have authentic silvering it is almost certainly old.

Stax signed Laurel and Hardy photo

Genuine signed STAX photograph

Stan replied to most of their fan mail, sitting at his type writer at his home in Santa Monica. A signed Stan letter can go from £150 up to £500 depending on it's condition / content. Oliver NEVER wrote letters to fans. The two examples below have good content, mentioning the famous hats that they wore during their films, Grauman's Chinese Theatre and what Stan did to pass his time of day after he had the stroke. Stan often corresponded with the same people from time to time, often these collections of letters come up for sale, sometimes one letter at a time, breaking up the collection .

Stan Laurel letter

Stan Laurel signed Letter

Stan Laurel letter

Stan Laurel signed Letter 1958

From the Stephen Neale collection

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