Investigating Documents

Joe Nickell

in Real or Fake

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125343
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135229 | DOI:
Investigating Documents

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This chapter begins by discussing the writing materials used to produce a document — writing implements, ink, paper, and other materials — and their evolution over time. It then notes that the individuality of handwriting has been recognized since antiquity. It explains that the writing feature common to a group sharing the same general penmanship style are called class characteristics whereas the variations that evolve in mature handwriting are called individual characteristics. These individual peculiarities — in combination — will not be exactly duplicated in another's handwriting. Next, it discusses the warning signs of forgery such as incorrect writing characteristics, uncommon forms, off-scale writing, blunt beginnings and endings, evenness of pen pressure, uncertainty of movement, unnatural hesitations, unnatural pen lifts, forger's tremor, evidence of tracing, patching, context of signature, “feathering” of ink. It then discusses how to detect nonforgery fakes and explains that some writings are neither genuine nor forgeries.

Keywords: writing materials; penmanship; class characteristics; individual characteristics; handwriting; forgery; nonforgery fakes; documents

Chapter.  6913 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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