Authenticity is by far the most important thing. If a guitar is presented as being personally owned by John Lennon, then that ought to be accurate; otherwise it’s somewhat worthless. A $500 guitar is worth $200,000 if it’s Lennon’s. The question is: how can one make the judgement and determine if it’s authentic, or not? Well, the provenance is fundamental in terms of various items that’s been owned by certain historical people. The provenance of an item shows the history and lets us know how the guitar has been transferred from John Lennon into today’s current owner. To strengthen the provenance, it’s necessary to have it documented with a so-called letter of provenance. The more detailed, the better! An even more solid provenance would include a photograph of Lennon using that very guitar. A good quality photograph would also show the wood fiber of the guitar as well as its condition, which would support the authenticity even more as every vintage guitar is unique.
In terms of handwritten and signed material, the provenance isn’t necessary to determine the authenticity. It helps, of course, but it’s not needed. With handwriting, it’s more of a science. At Alexander Bitar History, we work with world-leading experts of specific fields to establish a signed and dated letter of authenticity from the expert in question. For example, a handwritten and signed John F. Kennedy letter would benefit with a letter of authenticity from Mr. John Reznikoff – the world-leading authority of presidential handwriting; and handwritten lyrics by Paul McCartney to a Beatles song would benefit with a letter of authenticity from Mr. Frank Caiazzo. The list goes on.
And then there’s a third category. Items of which the authenticity can’t be determined by a letter of provenance. The only way of really telling if it’s authentic or not is to study the item in-person. The best example would be a Nobel Prize medal. To determine the authenticity of a Nobel Prize medal, one must study the medal in-person to ensure that the size, weight, material, patina, etc., is correct. Of course, if the item is accompanied with the original Nobel Prize diploma and the original medal box, then that helps out. But the item must be studied in-person by someone with great knowledge. If one can get a statement from The Nobel Foundation, then that’s very positive. In short, the more documentation and third-party statements – the better.
Needless to say, the authenticity is THE most important thing. At Alexander Bitar History, it’s our highest priority to ONLY sell authentic, original items. We put a lot of time, effort, and resources into that, hence our conviction that everything we sell is authentic. We’re therefore very proud to offer a lifetime guarantee including a full money-back warranty on all items we sell.