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Below are some cautionaries when considering the authenticity of historical documents.

All About Fake Boer War Telegrams

Rare Telegrams Explained

Do not be fooled into thinking - no matter how tempting the sellers are trying to make it sound - that you are buying a historic document that has, in any way, a personal connection with Lord Roberts.

By comparing the writing on the telegrams you can see that the signature has no resemblance whatsoever, to the signature of Lord Roberts himself.

The reason - Lord Roberts never touched this telegram and probably never even laid eyes on it.

Wow! A Rare Find!

Look at the old and tattered telegram form... so brown with age...

And such a private and personal message from one great man to another!

Oh and he even signed it "Lord Kitchener"!

Gotta have it before anyone else discovers this historic, one-of-a-kind treasure!

Bahhh! humbug!

1902 Lord Kitchener Telegram to Maharajah of Jaipur


1902 telegram from Lord Kitchener, from Malabar Point, Bombay to the Maharajah of Jaipur which reads:

Many thanks for your Highness kind message.  I am delighted to be in India and am looking forward to meeting at Delhi.

After commanding the British Army in the Boer War, Lord Kitchener was appointed Commander in Chief of India in 1902.  This is a historical document.

Telegram is showing some normal wear and the edging (as seen in scan) is folding, but the words written are still crisp and easy to read.  This document is 104 years old and is good condition!!

Measures approx.:  8 1/2"  X  10 1/2"


A RARE & WONDERFUL find and would be a unique addition to any collection!!  DON'T Miss Out!!

A typical "come on" by an ebay seller trying to entice the novice memorabilia collector into spending big bucks for a supposedly personal document sent by a famous person a long time ago...

Whenever Roberts, or any general, wanted a telegram sent he called for an aide.

"Major, kindly send a telegram and tell Lady van Pompoussass, I'd be delighted to come to dinner on the weekend."

"How shall I sign it sir."

"Oh the usual. Roberts is fine."

"Very good sir. I'll do it right away."

The major would then head off to the telegraph office and tell the clerk.

"Corporal, kindly stop watering the plants. I need you to take an urgent dictation, right now, from the Commander-in-Chief Lord Roberts. It is to be given priority classification over all other messages on the line, and must be sent instantly."

"Very good sir. What shall I write."

The clerk would then pull a blank telegraph form from his desk and take dictation from the major who would compose it on the spot to carry out what he remembered Lord Roberts telling him.

The writing - for reasons made clear from Kitchener's own hand, above - was usually the clerk's own, to make sure that HE could read it, instead of allowing the customers to scrawl something illegible, that he couldn't make out later. And it was also he, of course, who also signed it, in this case, Roberts.

Which ends up making telegrams sound like they're the most private personal messages of great men, being on old crinkled brown paper and all.

They're a seller's gold mine to the unwary.

Don't be fooled anymore, by bogus telegrams. Promise! They crop up all over the place, waiting for the next sucker...

Is this telegram really "From Lord Kitchener"

Compare the signature and writing from two real signatures and a genuine letter from Lord Kitchener and decide for yourself.

Above you can see from Lord Kitchener's awful scrawl, why telegram agents wouldn't allow him, or even his aides, to write out their messages and force the telegrapher to try to decipher, later, just what they were trying to say.

The lovely schoolgirl scrawls on telegrams, even when purporting to be "From Lord Kitchener," were really written by Pvt. Jeremy Grunt in the telegraph unit, down by the railway station, unseen and unsung by the great men whose telegrams he wrote down and sent off.

Often the telegrams were not signed even by the telegrapher. So telegrams, which sellers are trying to make out as if they were personal letters signed by great men, are really at the low end of autograph memorabilia - unsigned messages, written and sometimes signed, by unknown drudges in the bottom ranks of the British Army.

The best one can say is that someone - we will never know who - wrote and sent this message apparantly at Lord Kitchener's behest.

Bahhh! humbug!

Orig Telegram from Lord Roberts of Kandahar re Fighting

(LORD ROBERTS) British military commander who commanded British forces in Afghanistan during Robert Baden-Powell's service in 1881-1882. He later became the Commander-in-Chief in India (1885-1893) during the South African War (1899-1902), Also Commander in Chief of British Forces from(1901-1904. An original, fine content - and intriguing - telegram sent by Lord Roberts to an illegible recipient, 1p. oblong 8vo., Hastings, [date obscured by tear], being a Post Office Telegraphs telegram from Ascot, written in pencil by the clerk, and reading, in full: "To [illegible, Kershaw Laundeme? Taundeme?] West Hill Hastings Every young man should fit himself to defend his country and be proud to join the Gallant soldiers fighting abroad. Roberts". Quite wrinkled, with marginal tears, loss over date stamp, and general wear befit of age. Overall good condition, offered as is due to condition. (2)

Authenticity guaranteed for the life of the original purchaser.

This seller will guarantee that it is authentic, meaning it's a document - interpret it however you like - from the period. Notice he does not say outright that it is signed by Lord Roberts, though he leaves the door open for the gullible to believe it.


ROBERT E. PEARY. Autograph Telegram signed: "Peary", 1p, 8x5. Washington, D.C., 1897 July 7. To "Chas. A. Meare, 111 Liberty St., N.Y. City". In full: "Have delayed getting dock. Will not leave St. Johns till Saturday". In 1897, Robert E. Peary was granted leave from the Navy to undertake his first attempt to reach the North Pole, beginning the first leg of the journey from ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND. He began the expedition in 1898, and, although he spent four years in the Arctic, Peary was unsuccessful in reaching his destination. On April 6, 1909, after three unsuccessful attempts to reach the North Pole, Peary and a small party, including his assistant, Matthew Henson and four Inuit, became the first to reach the North Pole. Mid-horizontal fold. Lightly creased. Soiled. Pencil notes (unknown hand) above writing and at lower margin. Tackhead-size holes (all intact) at right margin. Overall, fine condition.

Please note that this item is an original, authentically signed historical document.
Please do not be fooled by others selling copies/reprints as originals.

Here We Go Again!

Another seller at it again! This time a telegram sent in 1897, about Peary's estimated arrival date in St. John's, Newfoundland! That's Canada right?

Wrong! Newfoundland was an independent British colony then; it only became part of Canada in 1949.

Compare the Peary on the telegram with two certified signatures from Robert E Peary, the man some claim discovered the North Pole.

Is it a Match and a Buy?

If You Won't We Will!

Here's why...

People's signatures differ from time to time, especially if one is in a hurry, and standing in a line at the telegraph office, like Robert E Peary really was on this occasion.

How do we know?

By comparing the other words in the telegram, like "delayed," with genuine letters he wrote at other times.

Besides Peary's obvious slant to the left, look at the unique "curl" inside the loop on the "d"s. Very unusual.

Research found us another occasion he wrote "Saturday." Note the mix of a printed "S" with writing, and the "homeless" slash on the "t".

So you can be certain you have a telegram that was really filled out by the hand of Robert E. Peary himself, and signed by him as well.

Triple Check

So in future, check the telegrams - or any historic document - with more than just the signature. Always look for multiple levels of proof: the dates, the writing, the provenance of the document, etc. Google makes it easy to find documentary proof within minutes.

Above all, don't get carried away on an emotional high that you have found something no one else has. Just remember how eminent British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper was sucked in by the phony Hitler diaries.