In the beginning there was handwriting

Markus Brandes as 14 year old autograph hunter

Markus Brandes was already fascinated by manuscripts and autographs as a teenager — and when he held a few handwritten, personal lines from Mother Teresa in his hands as a 14-year-old, a passion was born. This amazing person had given him valuable moments of her time, and something as personal as her handwriting! The spark had been lit for Markus Brandes to put his life at the service of handwriting. Because manuscripts and autographs are more than collectibles or investments: They convey a piece of individuality, tell stories, and bring the past to life. Through handwriting, we can all participate in this unique individual, in their time and work. You have a little piece of history ...

Markus Brandes shares this fascination with everyone who is interested in manuscripts and autographs. What began as a hobby has long since been professionalized and, thanks to the highest quality, has taken the lead in the international competition. Even more: Markus Brandes was able to distinguish himself as an expert through in-depth specialist knowledge.

He acts internationally as an appraiser for well-known auction houses and was able to quickly expand his formerly small autograph business into one of the world's most renowned addresses.


Teamwork in the service of autographs

One for all, and all for the handwriting: Markus Brandes is supported by his reliable team. In the field of service, well-networked, serious autograph hunters take care of the coveted pieces, whose origin they thoroughly document and whose authenticity they vouch for. Historical pieces are acquired from well-known auction houses, from collections, and individuals. Here, the historian, art, and media scholar Josip Konjevod ensures quality so that the provenance and classification are guaranteed. The smooth administrative processes, as well as the autograph bargains, are in the expert hands of Bärbel Brandes. This ensures that the customer base around the world can rely not only on the quality of the pieces, but also on optimally coordinated, personal service and perfect shipping.


No chance for "black sheep"

Thanks to the ever faster development of the Internet, manuscripts and autographs are just a click away. The downside: Unfortunately, there are also many forgeries in circulation on the international market, because fraudsters suspect a lucrative business with forged manuscripts. But only the original is able to develop the magic of handwriting that is all its own. That is why Markus Brandes forms the Is it real? team together with other experienced specialists. Over a million comparative signatures and hundreds of reference books form the basis of the “Brandes Autographs Archive”, with the help of which Markus Brandes, as a certified expert, professionally and reliably checks the authenticity and certifies it with a lifelong money-back guarantee.


For the fascination of the original

It is not surprising that anxious inquiries often come in as to whether this or that autograph, acquired cheaply somewhere on the Internet, is actually real. Brandes' rule of thumb: “If the autograph is too good to be true, then it is probably not real.” Of course, Markus Brandes, himself a passionate collector, hurts to his soul to have to communicate that a supposed showpiece but it is only a plagiarism — but at least it enables his customers to make an effort to reverse the acquisition. However, due to the increasing number of forgeries that are in circulation, such expertise can only be provided as a service for regular customers. It goes without saying that each of the manuscripts and autographs from the trade has been put through its paces by Markus Brandes, and their authenticity has been proven and certified beyond doubt. After all, trading in manuscripts and autographs is more than just a business: It is a passion, and the mission is to prepare the market for exclusive, real pieces that can reveal their special fascination.


So that it looks good

With the acquisition of a manuscript, the possibilities are by no means exhausted. Markus Brandes offers flexible, creative, and artistic options for highlighting an autograph: With a meaningful photo mounted in a passepartout, a signed paper immediately becomes an eye-catcher. Some pieces are just too beautiful to be hidden in an album. Custom-made frames offer the perfect presentation in accordance with the highest quality standards. There are no adhesives, pollutants, or acids, and special glass protects the writing from fading due to the effects of light. That way, the favorite piece in front of your eyes is a particular joy.



1995 — Foundation of the company Markus Brandes Autographs in Konstanz, and development of the website as the first European online shop for manuscripts and autographs.

2002 — Award in the publication "Germany's most important 1000 Internet addresses and web address book 2002". Together with the leading Swiss autograph dealer Rolf Ramseier, Is it real? is founded.

2006 — Nomination as “European Director 2006” for the world's largest autograph association, Universal Autograph Collector Club, as well as various television appearances and recognition as an expert in court.

2007 — Publication of specialist literature on Albert Schweitzer, Muhammad Ali, Graf Zeppelin, and the Dalai Lama, as well as various specialist articles.

2008 — Relocation to the new company building in Kesswil / Switzerland. Historian Josip Konjevod joins the company.

2010 — AFTAL organization named Autograph Dealer of the Year 2010. Development of the platform as a guide for autograph collectors.

2011 — Award as “Best Autograph Website 2011” from the AFTAL organization.

2013 — Intensification of the cooperation with foundations and gallery owners. Creation of the Swiss Rock & Pop Museum by Roland Grossenbacher, with the help of numerous originals from Brandes' fund. By brokering the Emmy Martin estate to the Albert Schweitzer Foundation / Museum, the reputation and cooperation with public institutions around the world are expanded.

2014 — The Federal Association of Independent Experts (BVFS) awards Markus Brandes an expert. Re-launch of the website and

2015 — Numerous interviews and appearances in the media.

2017 — Event "The Magic of Handwriting" with many prominent guests.

2018 — ARD contribution "About the passion to collect autographs." Invitation to the expert meeting in Beijing, China.

2019 — Portrait in the Coop newspaper (newspaper with the highest circulation in Switzerland). Honorary award of the working group for autograph collectors for special merits.

2021 — Re-launch of the website.

2022 — PADA membership (Professional Autograph Dealer Assosiation).
Fundraising Campaign for Ukraine
Co-founding the digital collectible project
Search-Agent - E-Mail notification system for wanted autographs

Passing of my loved mother Bärbel Brandes (27. November 2022)



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