Sign Here: How To Get A Swashbuckling Signature

I’m going to stray off-topic here a bit with something I’d like to share with you guys.

I have lousy penmanship, and years ago I got an idea to write a piece on how to have a stylish signature. Inspired by a description of the brushwork of one of my favorite artists, Belle Epoque portrait painter Giovanni Boldini, and being a fencer, the word I stuck on was “swashbuckling.”

I finally got the opportunity to write a piece called “How To Get Yourself a Swashbuckling Signature” for Gilt Groupe’s new Park & Bond website.

For research, I interviewed a calligrapher who gave me a good overview on fresh ways to stylize your signature, and it turned out my own handwriting was not irremediable.

After I turned the story in, I stumbled by chance across a YouTube clip from the old TV show “What’s My Line.” Celebrity guests used to sign their name on a chalkboard when they came on stage. There was talk that P&B might be able to cut a video that would allow you to actually watch guys with cool signatures write their names — all the better to copy their strokes — but it didn’t happen.

But I must have watched 40 or so clips, and here are my favorites. Check out the “John Hancock” of these guys:

Peter Ustinov
Yul Brynner
Vincent Price
Jack Palance
Sugar Ray Robinson
James Garner

Now for the Ivy Style tie-in: Below are the signatures of some of the famous men we’ve written about here, along with links to our stories about them.

I think I like Cyrus Vance, Jr.’s signature the best. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

Miles Davis:

John Gavin:

George Hamilton:

Hugh Hefner:

John F. Kennedy:

Peter Lawford:

John Lindsay:

Donald Rumsfeld:

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.:

Adlai Stevenson:

Bobby Troup:

Cyrus Vance, Jr.:

5 Comments on "Sign Here: How To Get A Swashbuckling Signature"

  1. George Hamilton gets my vote

  2. I commiserate re penmanship. I once signed a credit card slip carefully and rather nicely, and, honest to God, the bank called up to verify it was me.

  3. Mike Wilson | August 22, 2011 at 3:44 am |

    If a shopkeeper ever had to wait for this official signature being appended to a bill, I fear he would go out of business. The most beautiful one I have ever seen –×168.jpg

  4. For those interested check out the book “An Elegant Hand”.

  5. …what weapon?

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