Jordan Forgery 101


Do to the overwhelming responses regarding forgery examples. I will be discussing in extensive detail on some of the really difficult and subtle forged Jordan autographs. I will also cover the many reasons why I have concluded that the showcased example is "not authentic."

Over the years Michael Jordan's autograph has been one of the most sought after signatures within the collecting world. Due to the extreme high demand for his signature, he is also one of the most forged. In the 1990s Michael took on his typical "trademarked" "M" Squiggle "J" Squiggle style autograph. Forgery examples are plentiful due to the relative simplicity to the autograph. I have done extensive research and evaluations regarding this time frame and have reviewed hundreds of examples that were being produced by the Upper Deck Company. I have noticed that there are many subtle variations with his legitimate signed UDA products, which raises the difficulty in trying to pinpoint some kind of style in regards to a chronological time frame analysis. Keeping this in mind, and with the simplicity of his mid 1990s signature, forgers tend to use this style as reference and literally copy the signature like a robot.

There are four to six major areas that I key on when evaluating his signature.

#1 the consistency of the "M" Stroke.

#2. "Figure 8" loop at the end of the "M"

#3. The "peaks that make up the "I" "C" "H" and "L" in "Michael"

#4.The "J" Stroke

#5. "Figure" 8 loop at the end of the "J"

#6 The "D" loop/stroke in "Jordan"

With these "six" critical areas in mind, Michael has roughly 3 to 4 different signing variations in each specific area that can vary dramatically depending on his mood or signing situation. Thus, making it near impossible for a forger to actually create a "foolproof" autograph due to the complexity of Michaelís subtle signing habits.

By closely evaluating the numerous autographed products released by the Upper Deck Company, I have noticed that almost each and every signed item has different characteristics that vary even down to items that were signed in consecutive order. Keeping all of this in mind, This is where the forger tends to make his mistake by normally mastering one or two areas where itís almost impossible to tell a legitimate verses forged item. But with these so called "perfected" areas they also tend to make critical mistakes in 2 to 3 other segments of the autograph as well.

The real key in regards to identifying Jordan forgeries is to identify key mistakes on "multiple" items. Sure, there are those "fly by night" forgers but most of the material are always identifiable. The "professional" forger tends to spend a great deal perfecting his work, and are not the ones that are out to make a quick buck. These are the culprits that generate forged material in greater quantities. This is where the mistake is made, itís not uncommon for Michael to sign items that are "uncharacteristic" to his normal signing style, but to see the same mistakes on numerous items depicts a definite telltale sign that itís a forged piece.

Now, onto the examples:

Out of a handful of questionable styles that I have selected for this study I have chosen the following example due to itís fairly convincing style and appears very well executed. (Figure "FS1") When initially glancing at this autograph, the signature appears like your typical mid 90s UD pattern. But under close scrutiny I have noticed that there are several problematic areas.

  1. First and foremost is the "M" in Michael which has a abnormal slant pattern or pitch with a foreshortening of the ending downstroke of the "M"
  2. Abnormal execution of the "Figure 8" at the end of the "M" giving that flatten appearance.
  3. Over prominence of the loop at the end of the "M" in Michael and the "J" in Jordan giving that unusual "pointed" appearance.
  4. There is also an abnormal connection of the continuation of the circle type "D" in Jordan




Figure "AUDA1" is the closest that I could find that demonstrates similarities with the autograph in question. But by looking at the "M" in Michael demonstrates a correct angle and length with the ending downstroke that makes up a "classic" "M" that could only be done by Michael Jordan.


Side by side comparisons with the example in question (A) and a genuine example (B) that I hand picked out of 12 UD examples that were signed in series. All twelve demonstrated some sort of natural signing variations, but I picked this one that was relatively similar and remotely close to the example in question. When evaluating them both side by side you can clearly see that the signature in question has many subtle mistakes.




Magnified comparison side by side images of the "J" in Jordan. Notice that there are definite but subtle mistakes when itís compared to a genuine example.


I have put together a series of collages (FS2, FS3) illustrating the style of the autograph in question, documented on multiple items, Demonstrating the same problematic areas that are repeated over and over. I am sure Jordan has signed an autograph here or there that would be in question, but itís blatantly clear that by viewing the examples "FS2"and "FS3," that these example items were clearly signed in some other hand other then that of Michael Jordan.


Now, before the arguments arise with questions on discrepancy and subjective opinions to my documentation,

I have put together a magnified side by side image comparison of the showcased example (A) and an item seized by the FBIís "Operation Bullpen- San Diego" sting (B). The same problematic stroke areas are present.

Both obviously signed by the same person. My final conclusion: " bogus autograph."


Example to your right, signed "in person" at a celebrity golf tournament in 2003. When viewing this signature, the first thing that sticks out is the "Atypical" widening of the "J" loop in Jordan. Novice Jordan autograph collectors would question this area, thinking that it could possibly be a forged example. But by closely evaluating the signature and systemically breaking down the autograph, you will notice that the stroke pattern characteristics of the "Mí in Michael is typical of no other then "MJ" himself.


Genuine illustrated examples taken from different time frames during Michaelís career. Demonstrating his typical "figure 8" at the end of the "M" in Michael. *Note* Images above are selected when "Michael signs in this style" my research has shown that he also has different variations as well. My studies have shown that when he does sign with this style, itís been fairly stable over the last 18+ years.


Genuine authentic example signed "in person" at a 2004 celebrity golf tournament on a photographic action image of Michael at the 2003 All Star game. After 20+ years and literally thousands of autographs. Michael has taken on a very lazy style which is noted in the "J"loop in Jordan. "Do you blame him?"

One final word in regards to collecting Jordan autographs: In the past Michael has been a fairly willing signer and legitimate "in person" examples do exist on the open market. It takes a sharp eye to identify genuine examples from the forgeries.

My suggestion is this; start your research by doing side by side comparisons with known authentic examples before purchasing. By doing so, will definitely help with identifying those subtle mistakes and lessen the amount of forgeries being sold.