National Handwriting Week


National Handwriting Week begins on January 23rd through the 29th. Everyone is invited to find a favorite piece of writing equipment and show off his writing skills. There are no rules as to participation except that you be able to express yourself with writing.

In this time of electronic mail, many people forget that writing a letter to your parents, or lover, always makes a better impression.

About 35 years ago the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association attempted to improve their business of selling pens, pencils, and stationery by honoring the January birthday of John Hancock — the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence. The old expression, “Put your John Hancock right here” became a byword for obtaining someone’s signature on an important (or, not so important) document. His signature was clear, of good size, and legible.

Hancock’s signature as it appears on the engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence

Nowadays, in many schools, children do not pursue continued cursive penmanship practice — preferring to use print script. However, some teachers do appreciate the student’s signing their work with their signature performed in cursive. And, other teachers with an artistic bent may introduce calligraphy training, which is the art of elegant handwriting and/or lettering, in the classroom.

In observance of this time-honored method of communication and the celebration of National Handwriting Week, Las Vegas-based Handwriting Expert Antonia Klekoda-Baker sends out a warning against the perils of handwriting fraud. According to credit and identity protection sources, about 9.9 million people in the United states are victimized by identity theft in one year. Computers can scan original signatures from everyday documents — from a greeting card to an apartment lease to a credit card receipt. Everyone, from that questionable distant relative to your familiar friendly waiter, could have access to your “John Hancock”.

Antonia Klekoda-Baker is an internationally recognized forensic document examiner who has spent countless hours in the courtroom helping the prosecution expose handwriting thieves.

Among Antonia’s clients was the lady who had to leave her home to help her ill parent in another country. Her neighbor drove her to the airport in her car with the promise that he would store the vehicle in her absence. Instead, he sold he car and forged her name to the title. Upon her return, she contacted Antonia who was able to prove the fraud in court.

In another case, a bank employee in Nigeria was unjustly arrested and put in prison for his-supposed embezzlement of funds. The guilty party had legal connections and had been able to frame the bank employee. Antonia proved the innocence of the bank employee by providing proof that he had not made the invalid entries on the documents in question.

These are only a couple of the cases which were aided by Antonia’s expertise. There are countless more.

For the layman, the best way to protect yourself against becoming a victim of handwriting theft is to:

Pay attention to what your signature looks like, and be able to readily identify it if asked.
Try to make a legible and consistent signature. Designer-type signatures can work against you in the event that you are targeted in a forgery investigation.
Use a notary on all official documents and make sure that you personally know your witnesses.
In conclusion, you might want to celebrate National Handwriting Week by writing a letter or a poem to a dear one. Or, you might want to look into how the scientific study of Handwriting Analysis helps you to understand a loved one’s personality. Too, you might want to find that old school yearbook with all those autographs from good friends of yesterday.

How about sending a beautiful fountain pen to your best friend. (Don’t forget the ink.) Wouldn’t that be special!