Snippets from Forbes Magazine
“An autographed copy of a first edition kicks it up to something special - and hard to reproduce on a Kindle or iPhone”, writes Tom Post in Forbes Magazine. “Autographed first editions are a cool way to collect rare books.” However: “Forgers think so, too.” Tom Post has spoken with Natalie Bauman, Kenneth W. Rendell, Tom Congalton and other specialists about Ebay, Modern Firsts, forgery in the rare book trade – and how to prevent it.
"Inscribed firsts open up a rarefied and exceedingly expensive world. Don't waste your time searching for, say, a 1609 copy of Shake-speares Sonnets, dedicated in the bard's hand to the Earl of Pembroke, his patron; or a first edition of Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632), inscribed by Galileo to Pope Urban VII, his tormentor; or a scribbled howdy-do by Adam Smith to fellow Scotsman David Hume on a first edition of The Wealth of Nations (1776). They probably don't exist. But plenty of fabulous items do, from the 19th century forward."
"The other matter is that up through the 1820s publishers didn't issue "finished" editions for authors to sign; you bought a book in quires of printed pages and, if you chose and could afford to, took them to a bookbinder. Once books were issued in full cloth, authors began signing them."
"Advice to buyers:
Ask questions about the signature. ...
Learn about the author's book-signing habits ...
Inquire about provenance ..."
“Moses signed my Bible”, Tom Post in Forbes Magazine, online edition, December 28, 200