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Real Or Fake?
Real or Fake
Finding out whether something is real or fake.
More from Wes about avoiding being fooled.
How can you tell if it's the real thing or a fake?
Suppose you come across an old document or letter.
You want to find out if it's authentic.
Where do you start?
First, take a look at it.
Is it an autographed letter? A Presidential appointment? A legal document?
Check out the content.
If the letter's written by Mark Twain and he's talking about flying on a jet, something's wrong.
What's it look like? Is it old, brown and folded up?
Doesn't mean a thing. That can be faked.
How can you find out when the document was really written?
What's it written on? Is it on vellum?
Vellum is one of the oldest forms of writing material.
It's a finely tanned hide of a calf or sheep.
Could be hundreds of years old, but remember: vellum is still being used today, so there's no guarantee.
Laid paper is one of the earliest commercially available types of writing material.
It was used up until around the time of the Civil War.
If you hold it up to the light, you'll see vertical and horizontal lines running throughout it.
What about a signature?
You know, the autograph of a famous person on your document could add thousands to its value.
Finding the autograph of a sitting President is easier than you think.
Presidents signed official correspondence, letters to contributors, land grants, official appointments, even photographs.
Compare your signature with an authentic one.
Go to the local library.
You'll find hundreds of presidential signatures printed in books.
But look out. Even the experts can be fooled.
- Submit your StoryDo you have an object that may have played a starring role in American history? Let the History Detectives solve your mystery!
- Latest CommentIt turns out that this collage was sold last fall: http://www.worthpoint.com/wort... I wonder if it would be possible to contact the buyer by way of the auction house about getting a print made. (6 months ago)
- Twitterremember this investigation with @TukufuZuberi @elyseluray Tonight they reunite! Let us know your thoughts! @PBS http://t.co/4KMnc27K (1 year ago)
- FacebookCongrats on your exhibit, TZ! Here's a Washington Post article about the exhibit, everyone, and the great story TZ and Elyse did on his "Our Colored Heroes" story. http://tinyurl.com/mzpuyo8 http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/investigation/our-colored-heroes/ (6 months ago)