To many, David Bowie was the most significant rock star. He was certainly one of the most influential artists EVER (along with Chuck Berry, Elvis, the Beatles and the Stones).
I have collected David Bowie's autograph since 1978, and have obtained in person, been gifted and bought and sold over 500 Bowie autographs - many I now regret selling due to circumstances at the time.
I have only been burnt by purchasing very clever fakes twice - and that was twice too many.
The main purpose of this site is to help Bowie fans and collectors of Bowie memorabilia by illustrating the evolving style of his signature through showcasing over 500 GENUINE autographs and handwriting samples in the BLOG.
If this site helps anybody who is unsure what to look for (in a Bowie signature) and stops them from buying fake Bowie signed memorabilia, then it is partly doing the job it was intended to do. From a selfish standpoint, the fakers are driving down the price of Bowie's autograph as well as killing the magic of his memorabilia.
I have been asked "isn't this site helping educate fakers to get better" at their attempts? - my answer is no because only one person could do David Bowie's autograph, and he sadly is no longer with us. Nobody can ever sign it exactly the way Bowie did (but they sometimes come close).
Bowie was both a generous and prolific signer. If you were very lucky and he had time, he would sometimes add a personalised note - mainly of thanks or best wishes for being a supporter.
His autograph could change significantly, sometimes within minutes, for example when signing 175 limited edition lithograph prints for his Bowieart.com site or signing Isolar compliment slips accompanying the 1993 Black Tie White Noise promos. Another example of massive signature variance is the 2013 Man Who Fell to Earth trading cards.
There could be significant swings in style during the same year, particularly when he was more accessible to fans and had to sign hurriedly or on the move. These variances cause confusion to a potential buyer which is why some years on this site have many signatures from the same year to compare against.
A few tips when buying a David Bowie autograph via an auction or on a memorabilia website.
1. Bowie was left handed. When signing an LP or photo, a David Bowie signature almost always tilts downwards FROM LEFT TO RIGHT with the B on the left being higher. There are a few exceptions (ie when signing prints etc when it is often level). Rarely does Bowie sign upwards as right-handers tend to do.
2. The date can also help determine the authenticity. Bowie's distinctive numbers are 4,5,7 and 8. His 9's always changed depending on urgency. Forgers have failed to work this out...look closely at the way he writes his numbers in the galleries
3. The bigger the space to sign, the larger the David Bowie autograph. Dependent on time, mood and surface (or lack of) to sign on , Bowie's autograph would tend to be big when given a big area to sign (LP/Poster) and sometimes crammed small on a photo. Sometimes there are slight variances when connecting the letters together, for instance when he doesn't join the B to the O as a continuation. This is rare but was prominent in 1983, 1995 and occasionally thereafter.
4. It is unusual to see an undated Bowie signature after 1975 unless he was in a pressurised huddle of autograph hunters or literally signing while walking. I estimate that less than 10% of David Bowie signed items where left undated, but of course, they are out there as can be seen in the galleries.
5. Bowie signed as Bo and year for fans, David B for friends/associates and employees and David R Jones for legal contracts/letters etc. It was VERY unusual to see him sign David Bo (or Bowie) post 1975 although there are rare exceptions.
6. Bowie had favourite areas to sign on different LP sleeves - generally he signed in the same areas throughout his career. Check the galleries to see this.
7. Huge variations could occur depending on the surface Bowie was signing on. You will see major differences in Bowie's signature for the same year - what you cannot be aware of is if he was signing on a table, signing to someone proffering an outstretched piece of paper or in the middle of a "scrum", being pushed by fans. As mentioned earlier, the numbers he writes for the year can help enormously to check authenticity.
8. Personalised messages and salutations. As mentioned, if he had the time and there was space to do so, Bowie would write a message. His hand writing is very distinctive and there are quite a few examples in the galleries. Note the way he writes "For" and "Best wishes" both rushed and unrushed. Typical salutations are "Best Wishes", "With thanks" and pre 1975, "love"