Comparison of document examiners’ opinions on original and photocopied signatures


  • Bryan Found Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences
  • Doug Rogers
  • Allan Herkt



Original signatures, photocopied signatures, Examiners’ opinions


There is a lack of empirical evidence concerning document examiners’ ability to perform handwriting compari sons on photocopied writings. This study aimed to compare the accuracy of examiners’ opinions on 260 original questioned signatures and on the same signatures that had been photocop ied. Six of the examiners from the Document Examination Section of the New Zealand Police participated in the study, which comprised two trials. Each trial was constructed ac cording to the accepted process of comparing a group of known (specimen) signatures with a group of questioned signatures where the writer was known to the experimenters but not to the document examiners. One trial contained originals of the specimen and questioned signatures and the other comprised photocopies of the same specimen and questioned signatures. No errors regarding authorship were made for original or pho tocopied signatures, and there were no instances where an identification/elimination opinion was reversed between a photocopy and its original. Only 2.3% of opinions relating to an original signature differed in any way from that offered for its photocopy. The high correct rates for questioned genuine signatures were similar for original (100%) and photocopied signatures (98%). The correct opinion rate regarding the proc ess of production of original and photocopied, simulated, ques tioned signatures combined was 99.7%. The results provide evidence that examiners are able to make comparisons on a complex signature with the same accuracy and similar sensi tivity when using either originals or photocopies.

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2019-12-31 — Updated on 2019-12-31


How to Cite

Found, B., Rogers, D., & Herkt, A. (2019). Comparison of document examiners’ opinions on original and photocopied signatures. Journal of Forensic Document Examination, 29, 83–89.

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