Presentation signature from Victor Appleton II to Dr. Fred L. Whipple, an expert on comets who was a consultant on Tom Swift and the Mystery Comet (1966).
 “Victor Appleton II” signature in a presentation to a Syndicate consultant in 1966.

When collecting modern first printings, the typical desire is to obtain a first printing of a book in fine condition that is signed by the author.  Sometimes these copies are the only ones that will sell at all.  With juvenile series books, this is usually not possible because there were relatively few occasions to meet the authors.  No small part of this was the extensive use of pseudonyms and employment of multiple ghostwriters who were expected to be anonymous in the process.

Nevertheless, people do find series books which appear to include autographs.  Sometimes this is under an identifiable author’s name and other times the signature is by a name which is known to be a house pen name.  Under these conditions, who really put pen to paper?  Was it a person connected with the book (ghostwriter or Syndicate)?  Was it an effort by a well-meaning parent or a bookseller desiring to enhance the interest in a copy?  Or perhaps was it a child who was practicing their penmanship to “sign” a name?

All of these do exist and this page attempts to explore some of the different examples from my collection.  Sometimes the person can be readily identified by signature or because the autograph was made in person.  Other times you can only wonder about who did it.

Signed Series Books