Frequently Asked Questions
How can I tell if my autograph is authentic?
A number of issues need to be analyzed to authenticate an autograph: paper, ink, penmanship, a knowledge of secretarial, printed, or forged examples, etc. Unless a collector is very experienced in these areas, authenticity will be difficult to determine. Questions of authenticity are best left to experts in the field.
How are autographs priced?
Many factors contribute to an autograph’s value, among them rarity, condition, content, and association. Therefore, it is difficult to make generalizations about the value of letters. The fact that every autograph is unique is what makes autograph collecting so exciting and pricing so challenging.
If you would like to learn more about autograph pricing and investment, please read excerpts from a speech David Lowenherz gave on investing in autographs.
Are autographs a good investment?
The autograph market fluctuates like every other market and is sensitive to factors including supply, demand and the general state of the economy. The current availability, or supply, in the autograph market differs from most other markets because autograph “production” stops after the death of the individual. Because the number of collectors has increased and geographic boundaries have virtually disappeared through the internet’s growth, there has been an increase in demand for autographs around the world. Ongoing demand coupled with a limited supply leads to an inevitable rise in prices, and this is what Lion Heart Autographs has witnessed over the past four decades. It is not advisable to “invest” in autographs for financial gain (autographs are not especially “liquid” and do not pay dividends) but to buy for personal satisfaction. We believe, however, that over time autographs are a stable financial investment that should increase in value; the rate of increase, however, cannot be accurately predicted or guaranteed.
What should I collect?
First and foremost, collect items that speak to your interests and which you find compelling. Autograph collecting offers the opportunity to learn more about history and historical figures who excite you. Some popular collecting areas include:
- Business Leaders and Financiers
- Civil War Generals
- Military Leaders
- Monarchs and Members of Royalty
- Nobel Prize Winners
- Opera Singers
- Revolutionary War Heroes
- Signers of the Declaration of Independence
- Supreme Court Justices
- World Leaders
Once you have selected a subject, you can choose among autographed letters, documents, photographs, books, and manuscripts. You may decide to focus on acquiring only holograph (handwritten) letters, manuscripts of significance, or letters with deeply moving, personal content.
Lion Heart Autographs buys and sells material in all of the above categories, and offers a selection of thousands of autographs in every price range. We have assisted numerous individuals and institutions in building collections, and are uniquely positioned to buy across various subject areas with access to sources from around the world.
What does a first-time buyer need to know?
Many people advise beginning collectors to specialize in one area. We do not share that opinion. Collect what gives you pleasure — if you are meant to be a specialist, you will discover that soon enough; don’t be led by the “good investment” pitch or the fad of the moment. Always try to acquire the best example you can afford, remembering that second rate material tends to remain second rate. A collector should familiarize him- or herself with the market, and ask as many questions as necessary to feel comfortable when making a purchase. Form several close relationships in the trade — treat your dealers well, and they will go out of their way to find material to add to your collection.
How do you guarantee authenticity?
We have hundreds of reference books, thousands of facsimiles and other source material used to guarantee that everything we sell is authentic. David Lowenherz, founder Lion Heart Autographs, is knowledgeable about ink, paper and penmanship, and has a deep familiarity with the history of autographs and authentication techniques. Lion Heart Autographs unconditionally guarantees authentic every autograph it sells without time limit to the original purchaser. Additionally, we offer three more guarantees: our prices are competitive, you will receive prompt and courteous service, and you will be satisfied with your purchase, or your money back!
How long have you been in business?
David H. Lowenherz, owner of Lion Heart Autographs, was first introduced to the world of autograph collecting as a youngster through his father, Max. In 1978, at the age of 27, David opened Lion Heart Autographs.
Why don’t you deal in Nazis, sports or Hollywood autographs?
Hollywood and sports autographs simply do not interest me. If I handled them, it would only be to make money. I prefer to buy and sell material that resonates with me and reflects my own personality and interests; therefore, I avoid them. As regards the Nazis, my family suffered under their brutality and I feel there is no justification to make a living trading in their letters and documents.
Are all your autographs on your website?
Although we have hundreds of autographs available on our website, we have many more items that are not yet uploaded. If you don’t see what you are looking for, please contact us and we will be pleased to search our inventory.
My search returned no results. What should I do?
If you are certain you searched a correctly spelled name or subject and don’t see what you are looking for, please contact us and we will search our inventory for autographs that might interest you.
How can I be alerted when interesting autographs come your way?
Join our mailing list to receive monthly emails about our latest acquisitions, upcoming shows and the latest autograph news. We will also occasionally send out special offers. Your information is kept private and never shared with a third party.
How do I store and display my autographs?
Autographs are fragile by nature. Although documents on rag paper or parchment can last hundreds of years, they, along with letters written on less stable material, are sensitive to sunlight, humidity and extreme variations in temperature.
To protect the physical integrity of your autographs, always:
- Keep them out of direct sunlight.
- Monitor the climate in which they are stored and make sure they are not affected by humidity.
- Store them in archivally appropriate acid-free boxes, slipcases, or sleeves.
- If framed, use UV glass or Plexiglas and acid-free matting and mounting.
- Consult a professional paper restorer to repair an autograph.
- Never use adhesive tapes and avoid any form of presentation or preservation that is difficult to undo.
When purchasing a document framed by Lion Heart Autographs, you can be sure that it has been matted and framed with acid-free, museum-quality materials, insuring its longevity, appearance and value.
If you are interested in framing, conservation & restoration or custom-made boxes, please refer to our list of experienced and trusted professionals and artisans.
Lion Heart Autographs works closely with a local framer skilled in presentation as well as archival and museum-quality framing practices. If you would like us to assist you in framing an autograph purchased from us, please call 212-779-7050 or email us.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, PayPal, debit cards, wire transfers, U.S. money orders, and checks drawn on American banks. New customers will be asked to pay for purchases in advance. Existing clients are generally billed at net 30 days.
How will my purchase be shipped?
Shipping, handling and insurance costs are waived for purchases of unframed autographs totaling more than $500 that are paid by credit card or PayPal for delivery within the continental United States. Framed, heavy or large packages as well as international deliveries are shipped at the buyer’s expense. All orders are sent via FedEx with a required signature unless otherwise requested. FedEx does not deliver to POBs.
What is your return policy?
Autographs are sent on 3-day approval and for refund purposes, must be returned in the same condition they were sent.
What is PADA?
PADA (Professional Autograph Dealers Association) is an international organization of nearly 50 autograph and manuscript dealers that promotes the highest professional standards in the field. It was co-founded in 1995 by David Lowenherz, president of Lion Heart Autographs, who became the organization’s first president.
How can I contact Lion Heart Autographs?
Our offices are open by appointment only, from 9 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday
216 East 45th Street, Suite 1100, New York, NY 10017
Phone (212) 779-7050
Toll free (800) 969-1310
Fax (212) 779-7066