"If you didn't see them signed yourself, your Metallica autographs probably aren't real," says "Autograph" publisher Steven Cyrkin. Already one of the most forged bands of all time, with their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Metallica forgeries have hit an all-time high.
From eBay, to fan and dealer Web sites, to many of the fancy galleries in tourist spots, criminals are preying on Metallica's unsuspecting fans. You can find out if your Metallica autographs, or ones you're thinking of buying, are suspect in a 10 page feature in the May issue of "Autograph" magazine that traces the band's autographs from 1982 to today.
"The number of Metallica forgeries being offered rivals the number of forged Barack Obama autographs peddled after he was elected president," continues Cyrkin. "It's so bad that we asked the chief authenticator of the largest autograph authentication service, PSA/DNA, to write an article that shows how to identify genuine Metallica signatures."
The authenticator is Steve Grad, a rabid Metallica fan with one of the largest Metallica autograph collections in the world. There are photographs of 28 genuine Metallica-signed items in the article, including an autographed flyer from 1982 -- the earliest band-signed piece Grad and the magazine have seen.
"My favorite piece is an autographed 8x10 photo from 1983 that we show life-size in the article. The band signed only 100 of them, which they sent to the first 100 members of the Metallica fan club. Only a few have surfaced over the years," Cyrkin says.
The article gives details on the history of the band's signing habits throughout their career. And fans and collectors can compare their Metallica autographs to the ones in the article to determine if they are likely real.
"Two factors make rock attractive to forgers," Cyrkin says. "First, rock stars that have been around for decades have more fans who can afford to buy rare and expensive items. For many bands, like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, genuine signed items like albums and guitars are extremely rare or do not exist. Most are not available at any price from legitimate dealers and auction houses, but the sellers of forgeries are happy to meet the demand. Second, in the case of hot, touring bands like Metallica, members stop signing as much as they see their autographs being offered all over the Internet."
"Autograph's" May Metallica Hall of Fame issue is $8.95. It is only available through their Web site by advance order, or with a subscription ordered by April 17. The issue mails the last week of April. The magazine is a niche publication that is not available in stores. It can be ordered at