how do I know if "original" Hiroshige is real?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jun 17, 2005
I left my heart in san francisco/ st louis
I just had a customer come in with a framed woodblock print that looks to be original as far as I can tell. Hiroshige was written on the back of the framing, and when I opened it up the last framer had tried to use some archival methods. The print is glued along top to a piece of paper and on this paper is written:
IV-13 Hiroshige Sahaupshita (this last word is barely legible and may be misspelled)
They mounted a rag 2ply board to back of mat before cutting it and also placed a chunk of rag on back between art and cardboard (yes, a chunk- just a piece that partially covers art) so They must have at least thought it was somewhat valuable.
I looked at some prints in our catalogues and tried to compare the writing. There is an inscription on all of the prints pictured that is consistent so I think it must be his name. However, this does not match any of the writing on my customer's print. Now I am not so sure it is what it says it is.
This customer did not know what I was talking about when I commented that he may have an original Hiroshige on his hands. They (he has three more) were a gift fom an aunt and they had been in the family for a long time.
I am just curious if they may really be authentic and if anyone knows what I can look for to determine if they are or not.
The best info would be from an actual collector of such art or an appraiser who specializes in this era. There are many many reprints of these images.

The key will be the paper used to print the image on.
More than one artist has used the name Hiroshige.
Sakanoshita is station #49 of the Tokaido Highway, and the subject of numerous prints.

Here are a bunch of signatures:

Even if it isn't 'original', it could be reprint of value.

Here are some publishers marks:

Authentication is frequently done by comparing the wood-grain pattern to a known original. There are high quality digital references online, but are paid subscription services. There are some medium- quality references available if you can navigate Japanese websites.

The site I've linked is an excellent starting point if you want to do your own research. If you have a scanner or digital camera to get a digital image of the piece(s), there are some knowledgeable individuals on that forum.