Rubber Stamp Signatures - Questioned Documents - Norwitch Document Laboratory
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Rubber Stamp Signatures

Rubber stamp facsimile signatures are an everyday item in many office environments.  They are normally employed as a time-saving device by an authorized individual.  Their use is often occasioned when there are numerous documents to be executed or in the absence of the true signatory.  The authorized use of a rubber stamp signature on a document conveys the same intent and legality as if the document had been signed by the specific individual in original ink.  However, the unauthorized use of a rubber stamp signature is simply, and legally, a forgery.
 
To the Forensic Document Examiner, a rubber stamp signature, no matter if authorized or not authorized, is not a genuine signature.  A genuine signature is one produced by an individual in his own hand leaving behind his own name, or mark, or a symbolic writing representing his name or mark.  A genuine signature may be found on machine copied documents, but somewhere in the genealogy of that machine copy there was an original signature.
 
Facsimile rubber stamp signatures have been in use for over one hundred years and have been manufactured by several different processes and materials over those years.  Normally, today, they are produced with a photopolymer process, or to a lesser extent, in hand cut or laser cut vulcanized rubber.
 
Rubber stamp signatures are rather easily identified by the inherent flat, two-dimensional appearance.  Their application results in the appearance of a static impression rather than the dynamic appearance of a hand written free-flowing signature.  There is an absence of any impression from a writing implement.  Beginnings and endings of letters generally have a blunt or rounded appearance.  There may even be a shaded or delineated area in places around the signature where the stamp was “rocked” back and forth or otherwise applied unevenly leaving behind an inked impression of the stamp edge.
 
Additionally, flaws in the manufacturing process, such as air bubbles in the polymer or dirt or other foreign material in the mold, may be readily observed in the stamping.
 
Multiple signatures produced by a single rubber stamp can be placed one over the other and exact register may be observed.  Because we never write or sign anything exactly the same way due to individual variation, exact register never occurs in multiple genuine signatures.
 
Sources for rubber stamps are many.  Most office supply stores and mail-order houses can supply facsimile rubber stamp signatures for a nominal fee.  All that is necessary is a model signature, either original or from any previously executed document.
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