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The website 45books.com lists "hand-signed", "autographed" books by former US president Trump for sale:

Screenshot of website showing the front cover of the book Our Journey Together with an encircled image of Donald Trump's signature nearby

OUR JOURNEY TOGETHER (SIGNED COPY) $229.99
Get your hand-signed edition of Our Journey Together. Autographed by President Donald J. Trump, this photo book will become a family treasure! ...
45books.com, viewed 20 November 2021 (bold font added)

The signed copy was mentioned in well-known outlets such as Rolling Stone, Fox News, and The Seattle Times (among others).

I find it questionable that Trump would personally sign books for $155 (gross) mark-up given his alleged net worth of around $2.1 billion.

Are the signed copies of the book personally signed by Trump? Has an autopen machine been used to sign these copies?

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    I also made some edits, most notably swapping the reference to 45books.com which is the seller of the books and makes stronger claims, more in line with the title of the question. Nov 20 at 10:25
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    The site also claims: "Every photograph has been handpicked by the President, as has every caption in the book, including those that are handwritten by him." So even some captions are "handwritten" by Trump, as you can see in the sample pictures. I think it's pretty clear it's a print reproduction. He's not actually going to write the caption half a million times. Possibly his name, I guess, but doubtful.
    – fredsbend
    Nov 20 at 14:27
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    Surely if they are "hand-signed" they must be individually signed by DJT personally. Unless they are fake signatures, and someone else has signed them by hand. An autopen machine is by definition, not "hand-signed" unless the machine has a fake hand, and it wouldn't be "personally signed" anyway. Nov 20 at 16:38
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    Have you tried directly asking the seller? I imagine questions like this would be common among collectors.
    – KobeGote
    Nov 22 at 11:04
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    If he can sign 10 books per minute, that's equivalent to a yearly income of nearly $200M. And it's hardly the most money-grubbing thing he's done. Nov 23 at 4:22
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The claim that the book itself is signed is partially qualified by the book publisher within the same website that the book is sold.

PLEASE NOTE: PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP WILL HAND SIGN BOOKPLATES FOR THESE BOOKS, HOWEVER WE ARE UNABLE TO PERSONALIZE OR ACCEPT SPECIAL MESSAGING REQUESTS.

This adds an air of credence that the signature would be authentic. However, it makes no claims that the signature would not be autopen, and the heavy stroke of the signature in the image definitely lends some suggestion it would be either autopen or printed in a second pass process.

Note that the traditional location for an author signature is the Title page of the book. So a slip-cover signing is already a second rate signature.

Due to my understanding of the logistics of book selling, the only times when pre-sold books and authors collide occur fit into two categories:

  1. The author is self-publishing, so the vanity publisher is shipping the paid-for books to the author's home, who will act as distributor.
  2. The author is attending a "Book Signing" event where they are signing books as part of a publicity stunt in front of press or their fans.

Other means of "getting the book signed" are generally used when the book is being signed as part of the initial purchase from the publisher:

  1. The author signs a "sheet" which is inserted into the book.
  2. The author signs an "adhesive sheet" aka "sticker" which is attached to the book.
  3. The author signs a dust cover, which is then attached to the book.
  4. The author signs the book itself, at a book "gala"

This is why the dust covers are being signed, they are being shipped independent of the books, and then shipped back to the books. That's a good sign, that the signature might be closer to a traditional "book signing" signature; but the seller is very clear in their omission: the seller makes no claims of the means by which the signature is performed. I would imagine that a seller who wanted maximum impact would have the signature on the Title page, and having it one the dust cover makes it trivial to mass sign these, without the author and the book having been in the same room.

The images presented on the website do not favor a hand-signed advertisement (although they may be incorrect). Real ink pens tend to not be under the correct amount of pressure for the entire signature, and so they lack a "print quality" transfer on the strokes as seen in this signature. Note that the image in the circle is either using felt pen at an impressively even stroke pressure or is an image rendering of the signature in question.

That said, a signed book is usually not very valuable. They are usually worthless, unless the following is true:

  1. The book itself is a rare copy (doesn't apply here).
  2. The author never signed books (doesn't apply here).
  3. The author was initially obscure, and then was discovered later, and somehow you have their "early" signature which was rare for that book.

Notice that rarity is driving value here. There is no rarity in a signature you can literally just buy from the publisher. There have been a number of rare book that have seen a decrease in value as their signatures have proven to be forgeries.

A bookbuyer (/r/books reddit source, so beware) quoted

If it has a signed by the author sticker, 99% chance its worthless.

If its signed by a best selling modern author, 99% chance it's worthless.

If its a rare edition or a popular author who wasn't well sold when the book was released, then its probably worth something. As others have said, there are many variables into what makes it worth money.

Source: worked as a book buyer in the US's largest used book store for 5 years. Bought hundreds of rare signed copies for tens to hundreds of dollars. Passed on thousands of common signed copies.

Surprisingly, there are no pictures of the signed dust cover. Not even on collectable book sites, like https://premierecollectibles.com/. With that in mind, his "dustcover signed editions" of previous books featuring Trump typically demand $20 to $30 a copy. Not to fan partisan fires, but this pales in comparison to a limited run "special edition" print of a popular book (signed by a different president) at $1000 (discounted from $1250). So, I would argue that even signed in pen, in front of you, by Trump himself, on the book's Title page, it's not worth the price of the purchase, if he's likely to sign more than 1000 of them.

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  • Considering that a real "Book Signing" signature is on the Title page, a "dust cover signing" wouldn't be seen as very real anyway in the world of book signing, even if it was done in ball point pen with the Author right in front of you. The "no personalization" clause also indicates that these will be mass signed, I wouldn't be surprised (giving how Trump does things) if he delegates the signing to someone else anyway, even if he stands to make lots of money signing these books.
    – Edwin Buck
    Nov 23 at 23:05
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    @Nat Thanks, I'm trying the word qualified in its replacement. The main idea is that even the publisher is letting you know you're not getting the "regular" book signing you would get at a book signing show.
    – Edwin Buck
    Nov 24 at 10:50
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    Worth to note - the add for the book itself says the signature is on the "bookplate" - so almost certainly an sticker of some sort.
    – T. Sar
    Nov 24 at 13:31
  • Isn’t “WILL HAND SIGN” a claim that an autopen will not be used? Is it possible to describe signing with an autopen as “hand signing”? Nov 24 at 17:15
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    You keep talking about signed dust covers, but your quote says "book plates", which I believe refers to the adhesive sheet method of signing. Which is it? 2 days ago

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