Rostron's autograph


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Kalman Tanito

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I found the attached autograph of Arthur H. Rostron and wonder about its authenticity.

What makes the signature especially interesting that usually I have seen him sign his name as "A.H.Rostron", with his initials clearly legible. This signature is somewhat different, but the surname looks similar, and the first letter, the "A" appears to be similar to the signatures that I have seen before.

What do you think, and if you have signatures or writing samples of Rostron's, could you perhaps compare?

Kalman

77751.jpg
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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It looks fishy to me. I have his signature in the form of a rubber stamp that he used for signing the crew records. On the stamp, the initials are separated by dots and the R is totally different and is not joined to the rest of the name. The stamp dates from 1912. I'm not allowed to post it here or anywhere, as I was given a copy of a very rare document in strict confidence.

There's a fairly familiar photo of Rostron and his officers with the same signature. It may be online.
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Hi, Kalman!

I agree with Dave. Rostron's actual signature is very distinctive, and -- as Dave said -- the "A," "H" and "R" are separated by two vertically-placed dots between each letter. Also, the "s" in your scanned illustration does not resemble the same letter in Rostron's actual signature.

Did you receive my reply to your recent email message, Kalman? I hope all is well with you, old chap.

All my best,

George
 

Kalman Tanito

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I have a copy of the signature that you are probably thinking of and will try to post it here later - no restrictions on my part.

The signature is in royal blue ink, probably written by a fountain pen. It sure does look contemporary, although you never know with all the forgeries around.

However, there are definitely some similarities with the well-known signature: the "A" of Arthur sure looks similar, and the dot after the surname is there.

Sure, there are no vertical dots between the initials, but perhaps we are not looking at initials either. It may read "Arthur", right :)? Just wondering if Rostron had an "official" way of signing things with his initials and a more personal way as well - I sure do.

I will mail the well-known signature later today. I still have an open mind as to this one's authenticity, and am working on getting more information on its provenance.

And in case you are wondering where this signature is, it is in a copy of "Home from the Sea". I would REALLY like it to be authentic :))!

Kalman

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George,

I did receive your long letter with the passenger account, if it is the one that you were thinking about. Yes, I am slow at answering, but I would like my reply to be a decent letter, and would also like to add the Lahtinen account as well. Hang on, you have not been forgotten!

Kalman
 
Mar 18, 2000
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Keep in mind, that a person's signiture may change over time. I notice that my signiture has become more illegible over the years! Though it is similar to my handwriting when I was 16 or so (when I got my social security card, for example), the letters are more run together - pretty much what you see in Rostrons.
 

Kalman Tanito

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Here are two Rostron signature samples from 1912 and 1927. They do look different from the one that I have and there are differences between these two as well, but who knows - if not the captain, then perhaps a member of the family?

Kalman

77771.jpg
 

George Behe

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Hi, Kalman!

Just for the sake of comparison, the Rostron signature that I was referring to is almost identical to the first of the two examples in your last posting.

(By the way, don't worry about sending me brief emails; the days of my own long, involved emails are a thing of the past, too.) :)

All my best,

George
 
Mar 20, 2000
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It's definitely true that signatures change with age. Lucy Duff Gordon's autograph got a bit fatter and loopier in her later years (not unlike some people!). An example is the autograph in Kalman's copy of Lucy's book - which happens to look quite different than any other I've seen but I trust him and it's similar enough to a signature from the same year to convince me.
 

Kalman Tanito

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Opinion seems to be divided on the authenticity of the signature - not that it is an outright fake, for it is old, but that it may have been signed by some other Rostron than the Carpathia's captain.

Upon a positive note, I received a reply from a notable autograph seller on the internet who is of the opinion that the signature may well be authentic. He says that the signature is somewhat of a puzzler, for the two definitely original signatures also show some variance leaning in different directions. This indicates that Rostron's hand was somewhat flexible, and as my signature appears to be a very hurried one, could fit the pattern.

I wish we had even more samples to compare...

Kalman

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Randy,

I have not forgotten about your mail, and be assured that I will be responding. Will be back to you, but please give me some time - things have been quite hectic during the past few weeks.

Kalman
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Hi, Kalman!

>if not the captain, then perhaps a member of the >family?

That's definitely a possibility. 95% of the "autographs" that Bert Dean sent out via snail mail were actually signed by Bert's wife. (Perhaps Rostron's wife helped her husband fill autograph requests in a similar fashion?)

Or -- as you said -- perhaps Rostron's handwriting simply changed during various periods in his life.

All my best,

George
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Kalman,

No worries. My email is just now back up after a week of kinks being worked out by AOL so I am backlogged myself.

Randy

PS) I will send the other 1932 signature for you to see when I mail you the drawing. It's an autograph on a photo — the one of Lucy in the black dress that appears in "The 'It' Girls."
 

Kalman Tanito

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For your interest, a Rostron writing sample from 1912:

77869.jpg
77870.jpg


If you have any idea where the Rath collection is at the moment (sold a few years ago for $55.000, including a golden Carpathia medal), do let me know.

Kalman

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Randy,

Very much looking forward to the drawing and the signature - I wonder how the latter is different from the one in my copy of "Discretions and Indiscretions"!
 

Kalman Tanito

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Further information about the signature in my copy of "Home from the Sea":

The bookseller tells me that it came from a member of the Rostron family who had no heirs, so when he passed away the contents of his library were dispersed. Unfortunately, the bookseller could not tell me which member of the family owned the book, because their colleague did not deal directly with the Estate but instead via a House Clearance expert; however, he believes that there was one member in the family who was a pilot and it could have been him.

Obviously, then, the book has a family connection after all. The question remains, though, who the previous owner of the book was.

Is anyone aware of a Rostron family member passing away recently?

Kalman
 

Patty Miller

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Jan 10, 1998
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Kalman, I would think, if anyone would know, it
would possibly be Brian Ticehurst? He is extremely knowledgeable about these things.

Also, out of curiousity, if I may ask, did you
recently acquire the Rostron book, from
www.abebooks.com? I ask because , I saw the
book and ordered it and to my extreme dismay,
they said it had been sold. My loss, your gain,
and boy am I envious !! I have a complete fascination for anything to do with Rostron ,almost to the point of obsession !! (LOL). But anyway, congratulations on your find,
and again I reinterate, I am jealous. Patty
 

Kalman Tanito

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Hi Patti,

Yes, the Rostron book was for sale on Abebooks, and I am thrilled to have it - although the authenticity of the signature is questionable, for it is different from other signatures I have seen (Brian Ticehurst is also dubious). I am in the process of tracking down the previous owner (it WAS a Rostron), or a relative who was responsible for clearing out the house.

As I did not have a copy of "Home from the Sea" previously, I am glad to have it, even if it turns out that the signature is not by the Carpathia's captain. I also have a deep interest in the ship, and have been working on an article about the post-disaster Carpathia-MTK football match for quite some time...

I am also jealous of you :) ... I have seen many a book go to your collection in front of my nose, just lately the privately printed 1912 booklet that you snapped on e-Bay for around $150 (sorry, the title escapes me right now). Of all books that I have missed, though, it is the Dodge one that I am most sorry for - I was second right after Tarn, only to see him resell it right afterwards :-(.

If you ever decide to sell part of your collection, do let me know - few books that I have ever bought have left my collection, and so your precious ones would certainly find a good home with me. And if you have any duplicates, drop me a note privately - I am still looking for some of the scarce ones!

Kalman
 

Patty Miller

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Hi, Kalman- I believe you are referring to the
one by Hannah Rea Woodman, "In Memoriam, The Titanic Disaster". $150.00 is quite a bit for a
book, but I personally thought it would go higher,
since it was privately printed.

And in reference to the ones Tarn bid on, the
Dodge book, I was going for that too, and was
willing to pay more, but out of curtesy, did not
bid. There was another book he obtained too,
because I did not want to bid against him. But,
a fair warning here....auctions are everyone's
game and if the book is very important for a person to obtain, I think they should go for it.

Anyway ,Kalman, please feel free to send me an
email to [email protected] with a list of
some you are looking for. I don't have a J.Bernard
Walker, but I do have several duplicates of some
of the more scarce titles, so if I can help out,
I will. I am saving lists people are sending me,
in case I ever do make up my mind about selling.
I want my special books to go to people who will
really cherish them, the way I do.

I will keep you , informed , when my decision, is
made. Patty
 

Kalman Tanito

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Hi Patty,

Congratulations on your winning bid of the signed Rostron on e-Bay - you really did want it bad (lol) :)!

rostron carpathia | eBay

Although it truly is the ultimate copy of that book, judging from the writing, I would now feel strongly that my Rostron signature is also authentic, even if the exact form of the signature is different from yours. All the elements in my signature seem to be present in your inscription as well, and the time period is also the same.

Handwriting experts, what do you think?

Kalman
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi Kalman,
I have been collecting and dealing vintage autographs for several years. If the 1912 letter and the 1912 and 1927 exemplars you provided are genuine, then it is most unlikely that the blue signature is that of Arthur A. Rostron in my opinion. That the signing habits and character formation are so extremely different and in so many ways with no common factors to speak of is very troublesome - it bears no relation to either 1912 or the 1927 exemplars you posted. After adjusting the baseline (a problem in itself), the slant on the blue signature is even more extreme, and migrating further to the RIGHT - not the left as the 1927 did from 1912. Overall the signature looks drawn, with ink laid heavily in odd places in comparison the the 1912's and 1927. To me - clearly a different hand. The "family connection", as described, doesn't really provide anything tangible:

"The bookseller tells me that it came from a member of the Rostron family who had no heirs, so when he passed away the contents of his library were dispersed. Unfortunately, the bookseller could not tell me which member of the family owned the book, because their colleague did not deal directly with the Estate but instead via a House Clearance expert; however, he believes that there was one member in the family who was a pilot and it could have been him"

Unless there is more, and/or you have all of that in writing from a family member and the dealer(s) involved as well I am afraid it is meaningless, at least to me. Basically, someone told you something. It sounds like the usual "story" to be honest with all the different parties, uncertain names, "could haves", (unknown or un-reachable?) third party middleman-house clearance experts...not a solid provenance IMHO.

Best,
Eric

PS - of course, these observations are from the scans provided - I have none of these objects in hand to examine.
 

Patty Miller

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Jan 10, 1998
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Re: Rostron's signature. I have a question for
any one on this forum. To anyone's knowledge
did Arthur Rostron, sign the American version of
his book , "Home from the Sea" ? I saw one on
Ebay signed, but it was the American version. The only books , I have seen with his signature, thus far has been the British version. Would it have been feasible for him to get hold of the American version , as well as the British version, to sign?
This may seem like an idiotic question, but I am really curious about the likelyhood, Rostron signing an American version. Thanks, Patty
 
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