The Autograph Print Display Story...
Pat Barnard, began publishing aviation art in the 1970’s. He was a pilot himself and always an aviation enthusiast. He had designed and formatted publishing packages for the Readers Digest and other major organisations before forming his own publishing business, the Military Gallery. He was the first publisher to specialise in aviation art, and it was he that first came up with the idea of getting pilots and aircrew to sign prints.
During the 30 years he ran the business he met and became friends with a huge number of the leading aviation personalities who survived WWII – Battle of Britain pilots, Aircrews from RAF Fighter and Bomber Command, USAAF Fighter and Bomber Crews from Europe and the Pacific Theatres, and many of the surviving top-scoring Aces of the Luftwaffe. We believe he was acquainted with more personalities from the era of WWII aviation than almost anyone.
When Pat Barnard sold the business and retired in 2003 he retained a personal collection of aviation art collectables – Original Paintings and Drawings, Prints, Books, Letters, Pilot Autographs, and other aviation related militaria. Virtually everything he collected was actually signed by the historic characters that fought in WWII – He knew personally almost every one those who gave their autographs to his collection.
Some of these items he will never part with, such as the sliver salver inscribed and given to him by General Jimmy Doolittle, a similar gift from Bob Morgan who flew the famous B-17 Flying Fortress The Memphis Belle, a Spitfire painting by Robert Taylor signed for him by Douglas Bader, and a big collection of books written by the great aces which were personally dedicated to him. But much of the rest of his remarkable collection, which has been stored in cabinets in a temperature-controlled warehouse, some of it for over 30 years, is now being made available to collectors through this website. It contains a veritable gold mine for those that collect genuine autographs, art and memorabilia relating to aviation from the Second World War.
After many discussions with Pat Barnard he has agreed to let us pass on of the bulk of his valuable cache to other collectors – rather than leave it hidden away in storage cabinets – on one condition: That we should make the prices “genuinely affordable to genuine collectors” – his very words!. That is what Military Signature Archive website is all about. In fact, taking Pat literally, some of the items –in particular the pilots’ autographs – are offered today at no more than their cost more than 30 years ago!
Collectively, the single most valuable classification in the collection is the Pilots Original Autographs. Valuable because, almost without exception, these distinguished, often rare personal autographs are no longer available elsewhere with the same unquestionable provenance – at any price.
These autographs (signatures, if you prefer the expression) were all given by WWII pilots and aircrews back in the 1980’s. They were personally gathered by Pat Barnard, mostly in person and, unlike a lot of signatures offered for sale today on the internet, you can be assured these are 100% genuine!
Back in the 1980’s a quantity of these autographs were sold in bound profile sets as part of a military charity fund-raising programme. Following this successful exercise all remaining signed profiles were withdrawn from the market to “mature like wine”, as Pat put it!
Occasionally second-hand versions appear on the market today (usually priced between $700-1000), but our aim has been to find an attractive way of getting these highly collectable autographs into the hands of genuine collectors at truly affordable prices. We also wanted to present them in a format they can be placed on permanent display in collectors’ homes and places of work, rather than tucked into an album or hidden away in a storage cabinet where nobody sees them.
So, after many months of experimenting with designs, the Autograph Print Display was developed. We deliberately use the word Display because that is exactly what each product is, each Original Signature Print Display is an assembled collection of Original Autograph (or Autographs), with carefully chosen relevant artwork, appropriate and authentic all-metal pilots wings, and in many cases, authentic enamelled Service and Command badges and miniature medals which are exact replicas of those worn by veterans on ceremonial occasions.
All these components are treble-mounted in laser-cut museum-quality board and presented ready for framing. Where customers want their Print Displays to arrive framed we’ll do that for you Free – and our volume purchases enable you to buy your frames at near wholesale prices!
Aviation Autograph Prints are available in the drop-down under The Gallery in the main navigation menu. We add to these Print Displays on a regular basis, widening and varying the number of signatures and print Displays for collectors to choose from as the weeks and months go by. Collection Prices start at just £59, so we are pleased to say our low entry price meets Pat Barnard’s condition that everything we offer should be “affordable”!
By the way, if you have read the article “15 Smart Reasons To Invest in Pilot and Aircrew Autographs Today” in the Authenticity section (please see Menu), you will get some idea of just how LOW and ATTRACTIVE our prices really are!
Just one more thing:
All the autographs are issued in very small editions. In some cases there are only just a few of the items available – for example, there are only a handful of Autograph Print Displays with the original signatures of aviation pioneer and aircraft designer Sir Tommy Sopwith. The signatures of Sir Arthur Harris and Douglas Bader are now very rare and collectible, as are many others in the Military Signature Archive. Most are in limited supply, so if you are looking for genuine pieces of aviation history, this may be your last chance – certainly at really affordable prices!
The concept of Aviation Autograph Prints provides a new, unique, and quite different way to collect genuine pieces of history. We hope you agree and will want to start, or add to your own collection by owning some of the rare and valuable autographs we managed to wrestle from Pat Barnard’s private archive. The low prices of signatures, which are almost certain to appreciate, are designed to help you get started.
All of us at the Military Signature Archive strive to give our customers the best possible personal service, and part of my remit is to make this happen for you!