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Question about OLD autographs

I haven't been able to find any information on this topic on the 'net so far, so I thought I'd ask here.

I have a very old note/letter (from the 1600's) that was written by a famous person. It was written in ink. I would like to have it authenticated and then perhaps sell it.

My concern is this, is there any chance that the old paper, or the ink, could be damaged by the light of a photo copy machine? It has been kept in the dark to help preserve it.

Would a photograph be better than a photocopy?

Instead of sending the actual letter to the autograph house first, I'd rather send a copy or photo of some kind, to get an idea if they think the signature is genuine.

If any one has experience in this area, please let me know.
Thank you,
raine dragon
Personally, I'd do a photograph without a flash. I'm not sure if the light would damage is for sure, but I personally wouldn't want to take that chance. Then again, I don't know much about this sort of thing.. Just it seems a better-safe-than-sorry approach might be best if no one shows up with a real answer. Or you can call the place you are getting it looked at and ask them. ^_^
My dad is into these things, and he says you should better take a photograph without flash. Because the light is so strong this could cause miniscule chemical damage which can spread and become larger damage... So better nog take any risks and do it like that
PennyLane wrote:
My dad is into these things, and he says you should better take a photograph without flash.

The light may cause damage...but it is needed for a clear picture right...??? It can help in lighting up and making it more visible and clear...!! Idea Idea
^True, you wouldn't be able to give people a good idea of its value online with grainy, low-light photos. If you put it in enough light to take a good photo with no flash, that light would probably damage it worse than a flash, because of the longer duration.

If I were in that situation, I would try to sell it without photographing it, such as in an auction.
Yes strong light will cause small damge that may lead to larger damage. If you do need to photograph it, I would suggest use a room that has plenty of ambient even light, a flash is too strong and concentrated. Also when handling the document I would use some gloves becuase small acids from hands and fingers could cause damage to the document as well. Then remeber to put it back into safekeeping afterwards, and make sure that the place you keep it in is a cool and non humid environment.
I worked in a photo lab making copy negatives. An established professional custom photo lab will put protecting your original as a priority. The correct way to create a copy negative from vintage paper goods is to use soft box lighting or light refracted with a special umbrella. When done properly there will be no harsh direct lighting. Clean soft fabric gloves are to be used. Have a professional make a copy negative of your original and ask them what type of lighting they use.
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