Original Versus Preprinted Signatures
Many sellers misrepresent preprints as hand-signed signatures.  Since a preprint is not worth nearly as much as a true signature, it's important to be able to tell the difference.  If a preprint arrives when you thought you were getting an original signature, you can promptly pursue a refund.

1.  Checking for luster can help you determine whether or not you have a hand-signed item.  Hold your photo/poster/etc. so that light reflects on it. If your item was signed using a medium or greater point marker, you will be able to tell immediately whether or not it is a preprint.  If the reflection on the signature differs from that on the rest of the item, it is hand signed. This is a hand signed photo which has light reflecting off of it. Both the signature and the background appear black in regular light. However, you can see the difference in  luster in this photo which was taken with light reflecting off the photo. If you can't see a difference in your photo, don't give up quite yet...

2 - Signatures signed with thinner-point pens are a little tougher to diagnose.  When I took delivery of this photo signed by Richard Griffiths, it was too thin for me to successfully apply the luster test.  However, I was used two other methods to examine it.  First, when I ran my finger over the signature, it seemed to have a different texture from the rest of the photo.  Then, I  I took a closer look with my camera...
3 - ...and I could see striations (striping patterns) in the texture of the ink. This is definitely a hand-signed photo.
4 - Here's another signature that needed closer examination.  So, once again, out came the trusty camera...  

5 - ...Once again, a close photo (or magnifying glass) can pick up the striations in the texture of the ink, which verifies that this signature is also hand signed. 

6 - Preprinted signatures do not have striations.  Here's a good example of how flat a preprinted signature looks under close examination.  You can see that there is no difference in how the light reflects on the signature and the rest of the photo. The texture is uniform.

7 - This is a close-up of a letter which was sold on eBay as "posssibly hand-signed" by J.K. Rowling.  I took this very close photo of the typed part of the letter.  It has a stipled texture...

8 - ...Unfortunately, the signature ALSO featured the same stipled ink, ending the hope that this might be J.K. Rowling's original signature.
 

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