Two “Kenyan” birth certificates alleged to be those of Barack Obama have appeared in court filings in birther lawsuits. The first, what I call the Bomford certificate, was a hoax made to punk the birthers. Very few still support that document.
The second Kenyan birth certificate, provided by convicted forger Lucas Smith, probably created to make money, is the more interesting and despite its many factual errors, is still revered by many birthers. Today someone calling himself “the pressman” sent me an email discussing problems with the typography of the form. Even though the Smith certificate has been thoroughly discredited, since it’s “nail in the coffin” week here at Obama Conspiracy Theories, I present this argument for your evaluation (URLs added and a typo corrected by me).
Most composition and printing during the late 50’s was done via letterpress. The small code on the bottom right of the form would indicate the internal form number or in this case, V for version number V452 and M32. The use of the capital M is also used for the number 1000, or perhaps the quantity printed at that time 32000. Or it could be the year it was printed 1932. Printers still use these identifiers on forms for governments. Take a look at a tax form and see all the small codes on those.
So, this establishes that the base birth certificate had to have been printed on letterpress equipment and not offset. That would mean that the type was either machine set on a linotype, or handset, since photocomposition was a ways off in the future. This is where the trouble starts. The font used for descriptions is Caslon1. or a variant of that. It was originally designed by William Caslon, and the font was available in both linotype and handset during the 1940’s, but this particular version is not of that era. Like I said, it is a variant, and this version is Adobe Caslon1, which was not available until the late 1980’s as a digital font.
The typewriter font appears to be American Typewriter which is also a digital font. Due to the distortion of the paper, the it looks wider in some instances. A 12 pica typewriter font should be uniform in width.
If a real typewriter was used, the ribbon on this certificate had to be brand new. All the letters are complete and very dark. Normally, unless a typewriter from that era was brand new some letters would have deviations due to age of the typewriter, and ribbon condition. All of these look like a brand new typewriter. New equipment in Mombasa?
The nail in the coffin that this is a forgery comes from a type issue we take for granted these days. In the line at the top which reads, Mombasa. British Protectorate of Kenya…. The give away is the kerning of the letters n and y in the word Kenya. The y is nestled beneath the n and it is impossible to duplicate that on a Linotype or in handset. No ligatures exist for that combination in metal or in mold. I know this for fact. When digital computer fonts are designed, the metrics or mechanical way letters sit together are refined into what is called kerning pairs. Two letters that will look better when set is what type designers do for a living. The word Kenya has this kerning pair of the n and y. This can only be done on a computer. There are a few other instances of this kerning issue in the document as well.
One other thing to consider. What is the actual size of the document? You cannot use the PDF for extracting that info, because it has been distorted by copying many times and poor scanning. European paper sizes are much different than US paper sizes.
I will examine this closer when I have a moment, but off the cuff, it’s a fake.
To illustrate the writers point, here are two images: the first showing “ny” from the Smith certificate, and the second showing “ny” from a book printed in 1942 I happened to have in my library. The descender on the “y” actually tucks under the “n” in the Smith certificate, but clearly not in the book example.
Older articles on this alleged Kenyan birth certificate:
- Orly files yet another Kenyan Birth Certificate in Barnett case
- Lucas Smith “certificate” makes African genesis less plausible
- Baby Obama delivered by neighbor?
1Update: The font isn’t Caslon. It’s something from the Garamond family. The uppercase “W” clearly distinguishes between the two.