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Bob Dylan apologizes for fake ‘hand-signed’ copies of new book

Renowned singer says it ‘was an error in judgment’ to use autopen to inscribe copies of ‘Philosophy of Modern Song’

This July 22, 2012 photo shows US singer-songwriter Bob Dylan performing on stage at "Les Vieilles Charrues" Festival in Carhaix, western France. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
This July 22, 2012 photo shows US singer-songwriter Bob Dylan performing on stage at "Les Vieilles Charrues" Festival in Carhaix, western France. (AP Photo/David Vincent)

Bob Dylan has apologized for using a machine to inscribe copies of his new book that were advertised as “hand-signed” and sold for hundreds of dollars.

In a rare public statement posted to Facebook Saturday, the singer-songwriter apologized to disappointed fans and claimed that he had hitherto always made sure to hand sign his work.

“I’ve been made aware that there’s some controversy about signatures on some of my recent artwork prints and on a limited-edition of Philosophy of Modern Song,” the 81-year-old wrote.

“I’ve hand-signed each and every art print over the years, and there’s never been a problem,” he added.

“However, in 2019 I had a bad case of vertigo and it continued into the pandemic years… With contractual deadlines looming, the idea of using an auto-pen was suggested to me, along with the assurance that this kind of thing is done ‘all the time’ in the art and literary worlds.

“Using a machine was an error in judgment and I want to rectify it immediately,” he said.

The special edition of Dylan’s new book, “The Philosophy of Modern Song,” which was published on November 1 and sold for $599 each, first drew criticism after fans began sharing images of the supposedly authentic signatures online and realized they were suspiciously identical.

This cover image released by Simon & Schuster shows ‘The Philosophy of Modern Song’ by Bob Dylan. (Simon & Schuster via AP)

Last week, Dylan’s publisher Simon & Schuster issued an apology amid the controversy and offered buyers refunds for the book.

“As it turns out, the limited edition books do contain Bob’s original signature, but in a penned replica form. We are addressing this immediately by providing each purchaser with an immediate refund,” the publisher said.

Copies were delivered to costumers with a letter from Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp vouching for the signature’s authenticity.

The incident has raised concerns about other items sold by Dylan that potentially included an automated rather than a handwritten signature.

Castle Fine Art, a UK art retailer that sells prints of Dylan’s paintings, confirmed in a statement that other art covers released by Dylan this year were also found to have been signed using an autopen, a device used to automatically sign documents.

“The affected editions are ‘The Retrospectrum Collection’ and ‘Sunset, Monument Valley,’ which we released this year. We can confirm that all other editions preceding these releases were individually hand-signed by Bob Dylan himself,” Castle Fine Art’s statement read.

Dylan’s “Philosophy of Modern Song” has also been criticized for lacking female representation, with commentators pointing to the fact that out of more than five dozen songs included in the book, only a handful were written by women.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This article contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, The Times of Israel may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

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