Margaret Hamilton


Margaret Hamilton

Here is a studio photograph of Maggie playing Mrs. Klopplebobbler, a very disagreeable woman who needed her shoes fixed in the movie The Daydreamer. You can see that she inscribed the photo in the bigger view, for a person in Canada whose name has been PS'd out. The signature is real and has been authenticated by PSA/DNA, one of the most reliable authentication services available.

Autographed items from Maggie tend to be in greater demand if they are Oz related, but not always. I especially liked this one because not only is The Daydreamer a wonderfully entertaining movie, it also co-stars her Oz buddy, Ray Bolger.

Maggie was a sport about signing photos for fans. She often signed them "WWW", "Maggie", her full name, or she omitted her name completely (those are difficult to have authenticated).

There are a lot more autographs out there than Hamilton actually signed—in other words, forgeries—some better than others, all worthless. Quite often, the seller swears they are legitimate or that they were friends with Maggie, all rubbish, all lies. These sellers, no matter how perfect their feedback, have no problem taking your money...and sometimes running.

Word of advice: If you are thinking of buying an autographed item of Maggie or any other celebrity, don't buy it unless it comes with a COA (Certificate of Authenticity) from a reputable service, such as PSA/DNA, OR, the seller agrees to pay expenses if the item doesn't pass authentication. Most COAs are not worth more than the paper they're printed on, and the vast majority of signed items on Ebay are fakes. If you buy an item, have it authenticated immediately...don't wait.


On the left is a photo with forged signatures that was peddled by an Ebayer who is still selling today (click the caption to see a close-up). Many years ago, he sold a ton of Oz-related and other photos, all inscribed to "Mike", mostly with fake Hamilton and Bolger autographs. I even saw one of his forgeries at a store in the Forum Shops in Las Vegas, priced in the hundreds. Mike (his real name) is out of New York and is a first-class liar...with a 100% feedback rating.

Ray Bolger

Bolger's autograph is quite common, but once again, there are a lot more autographs supposedly by him than really exist, and those are fakes. Unlike Hamilton, Bolger's signed Oz photos have a solid edge over his non-Oz signings.

If you purchase a Bolger-autographed item especially on the auction site, and the provenance would be iffy to a future buyer, get the item authenticated immediately. If it comes back a fake, you can file a claim against the seller and claw back your purchase price. You might be out of the authentication fee (it will cost you around $60.00 to authenticate an 8-by-10), but that's better than losing your purchase-price money and the fee.

If you purchase a forgery, after getting your money back, be sure to raise heck for the seller by using negative feedback, and file a complaint with the hosting website. Tell your credit-card company, too, if you have problems (American Express is especially good about intervening on your behalf). You can also file a complaint with the US Postal Service; they frown on people who use the mail system in order to commit fraud. The threat of a USPS complaint might be a good way to claw back your lost authentication costs.

Munchkin Posters, Autographed

At left, a 1994 limited-edition poster signed by two Munchkins (Jerry Maren and Meinhardt Raabe). The two stars signed 3000 of these posters for the company, Totally Collectible. A number of these posters were contracted by Warner Brothers and offered for sale at its own online store (that's where I got mine). I believe the price back then was $75 each, via Warner Brothers.

The owner of Totally Collectible did indeed know the Munchkins, and the posters (both versions discussed here) are legitimate. Most people know that the only living Munchkin as of today is Jerry Maren. Because of his long life, and because he has signed so many different Oz memorabilia, the value of his autograph is diluted compared to other Munchkin autographs.

At right is the 1994 limited-edition poster signed by nine Munchkins. They signed 1000 of these limited-edition posters for the company, Totally Collectible. I don't believe that Warner Brothers offered any of these for sale at its online store. The introductory price fluctuated.