Joslin Hall Rare Books

Curious, Unusual, Interesting & Occasionally Useful Books of the 16th-20th Centuries exploring the skills, trades, lives and ways of other times...

 Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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39 matching items

Mills, John Fitzmaurice. How to Detect Fake Antiques. New York Desmond Elliot: 1972. A short but interesting introduction to all sorts of antiques and antiquities and their forgery. Despite the title, there is not enough information here to allow you to spot fakes without further training, but there is definitely enough to entertain or alarm you, depending on your predilections or level of paranoia. Hardcover. 5.5"x8.5", 88 pages, b/w illustrations, dj light wear.

Inventory #: 8109
Price: $ 25.00       

Mussey, Henry R. The "Fake" Instalment Business. New York The University Settlement Society: 1903. "Being an outline of its development, an account of the revival of imprisonment for debt and of the other outrages practiced by dealers under cover of the law, together with suggestions for the destruction of the 'fake' trade". A study of the so-called "fake" trade -a trade which, according to the author, flourished exclusively in New York's East Side Italian immigrant community. Poor immigrants were sold "gewgaws" and jewelry at "outrageously inflated" prices, often 10 to 20 times what the objects were worth, and signed a draconian contract for installment payments. The corrupt dealer then arranged for them to miss a payment and would immediately demand full payment of the balance. If the immigrant could not borrow enough from friends to pay, a corrupt policeman would arrest him, at which point he would either pay up or be sent to what amounted to debtors prison until his friends and family finally settled the bill. The author also includes proposed legislation to correct this scam. This study was reprinted in 1936, and neither printing is common OCLC locates just 3 copies of each. Softcover. 5.5"x9", 45 [1] pages a poor copy, ex-institutional, completely disbound with the pages and front cover all loose, and rear cover missing. In addition the paper is very brittle and the pages and cover are chipping. For all this, a very scarce item in any condition.

Inventory #: 6884
Price: $ 125.00       

Pennington, Samuel. April Fool. Folk Art Fakes and Forgeries. New York Hirschl & Adler Folk: 1988. An exceptionally interesting exhibition of folk art fakes and frauds, a joint effort of the Museum of American Folk Art and Hirschl & Adler Folk, with Sam Pennington of the Maine Antique Digest as Guest Curator. The exhibition is especially effective because in most instances the organizers were able to buy or borrow real pieces to be exhibited beside the fakes. Sam Pennington's introductory essay is a valuable, insightful and entertaining piece of writing, and this remains an essential and cautionary reference which should inform and teach, not instill trepidation. As Pennington writes- "Fakes are not all bad. They add a certain spice to the quest for the antique. I am indebted to Charles Hamilton, the rare documents expert, for the thought that if everything was as it was purported to be, collecting would be a pretty dull sport". Softcover. 8.5"x11", 71 pages, black & white illustrations. A little wear, but overall in fine, nice condition.

Inventory #: 32559
Price: $ 65.00       

Pierce, Patricia. The Great Shakespeare Fraud. The Strange, True Story of William-Henry Ireland. Gloucestershire Sutton Publishing: 2004. "He was just a 19-year-old boy who was poor at academics, but William-Henry Ireland's desire to impress embroiled him in a national scandal. Beginning in 1794, Ireland started forging Shakespearean sonnets, letters, and eventually a play, so that in "finding" them he might impress his father, a fanatical admirer of the Bard. James Boswell and Richard Sheridan were taken in by these newly-discovered "relics," as were many others. But just as Ireland was set to triumph with the production of the spurious play Vortigern, experts finally began to unravel the imposture. Patricia Pierce brings us the tale of a boy considered too unintelligent to have defrauded the public, and who really just wanted to be loved". Hardcover. 5.5"x8.5", 273 pages, black & white, dust jacket. New condition.

Inventory #: 95117
Price: $ 15.00       

Richter, Gisela M.A. Etruscan Terracotta Warriors in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With a Report on the Structure and Technique by Charles F. Binns. New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Papers No.6. 1937. Edition limited to 500 copies. A gigantic (to say the least) scholarly "oopsie". In late 1915 Gisela Richter, renowned expert on Greek and Roman antiquities at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, received a letter from John Marshall, the Museum's veteran purchasing agent in Italy, describing a newly discovered life-size Etruscan warrior figure in terra-cotta which had been discovered in an Italian field. The "old warrior" (he had a white beard and was emaciated, somewhat like, as one observer commented later, a Giacommetti sculpture) was soon followed by a massive four-foot tall terra cotta warrior's head, and there was even talk of a greater treasure waiting to be found... It was, of course, all fakery, carried out on a grand, almost "mythic" scale, a scale meant to make experts put aside all their nagging doubts and see the "Etruscans" as what they were not (namely, ancient). The first two pieces had been created by Riccardo Riccardi and Alfredo Fioravanti, two young men of skill and a certain vision. Riccardo's father and brothers had also specialized in historic pottery, but Riccardo was the true genius of the family, and with his friend Alfredo he set out to produce "masterpieces" that would wow the world's museums. The white-bearded warrior and massive head were the first two, followed immediately after World War One by the capping stroke- a Colossal Warrior in terra cotta, standing over eight feet tall. Riccardo was killed in a fall from his horse before this project was completed and his place was taken by two less-skilled cousins. As with the earlier pieces, the statue had to be fired in pieces as it was much too large for the kiln. It proved, in fact, to even be too large for the room it was being modeled in, and by the time they had modeled up as far as the waist it was obvious that the elegant classical proportions of genuine Etruscan sculpture would have to be ignored -there simply was not enough room for the upper body without going through the ceiling. The odd result- classical legs and a stocky, disproportionate torso, troubled various scholars, but was explained away in a classic fit of wishful thinking. In 1921 the Met. purchased the warrior for an undisclosed price said to have approached 5 million dollars in today's money. Attempts to erase doubts that were already being whispered in art circles in Europe, as well as the hope that the "secret" field they had been found in might be divulged by their "discoverers", delayed the publication of this scholarly study of them until 1937. For Richter, bringing them to the Met. and publishing them represented one of the crowning achievements of her distinguished career, and it was undoubtedly this fact that blinded her to what was becoming all too obvious to other scholars who were not emotionally or professionally attached to the warriors. The talk about their true origins swirled quietly for the next decade or two, but after a visiting Italian scholar was offered a chance to see the statues in 1959, and commented that he did not need to see them since he knew the man who had made them, authorities at the museum decided something had to be done. In 1960 a series of tests concluded that the glazes on all three specimens contained chemicals which had not been in use before the 17th century, and in 1961 Fioravanti signed a confession of the whole affair, and supplied a missing thumb which fitted perfectly. At that point several other "bothersome" points that had been noted over the years began to make more sense- the Colossal Warrior could not even support its own weight, for instance, and when compared to real Etruscan statuary, simply looks crude and even modern. Today the statues are stored far away from prying eyes, but they still provide an entertaining and sobering lesson in fake busting. A much more detailed account of the warriors was written by David Sox in his excellent book "Unmasking the Forger, The Dossena Deception" (1987). Card covers. 9.5"x12.5", 218 pages plus 24 b/w illustrations light soil a nice copy.

Inventory #: 35657
Price: $ 175.00       

Sachs, Samuel II, et al. Fakes and Forgeries. Minneapolis Institute of Arts: 1973. A wide-ranging loan exhibition of paintings, antiquities, ivories, bronzes, prints, icons, metalwork, sculpture, ceramics, glass, and much more. The detailed entries provide much interesting information, and there is an extensive bibliography. Softcover. 8.5"x8.5", about 250 pages, b/w illustrations bibliography light wear.

Inventory #: 30523
Price: $ 40.00       

Scott, Kenneth. Counterfeiting in Colonial Rhode Island. Providence Rhode Island Historical Society: 1960. Silversmiths and others who just couldn't resist the temptation... Hardcover. 6"x9", 74 pages, plus 5 b/w plates. Light wear, a little light cover soil, but a very nice copy.

Inventory #: 9629
Price: $ 100.00       

Sinclair, David. Sir Gregor MacGregor and the Land that Never Was. The Extraordinary Story of the Most Audacious Fraud in History. London Headline Book Publishing: 2003. "Once upon a time, in the heart of Central America, there was a country called Poyais. It was a country exceptionally rich in natural resources, civilization and culture, and was ruled by a brave an enlightened Scottish soldier, General Sir Gregor MacGregor, who had been made its cazique, or prince, after his many heroic exploits in the cause of South America's struggle to liberate itself from the Spanish empire. In 1821 the Cazique of Poyais and his beautiful princess arrived in Britain to promote the virtues of their country and encourage immigration and investment." Within a year Sir Gregor MacGregor had become a celebrity, been honored by the Mayor of London, and had persuaded thousands of savvy investors to subscribe a L200,000 loan he floated on the London Stock Market. He also succeeded in persuading hundreds of settlers to uproot their lives and families, sell everything they owned, and set out on the long and perilous journey to this promised land in two ships. It was a journey from which most of them would never return, because, of course, there was no such country as Poyais... Hardcover. 5.5"x9", 358 pages, b/w illustrations, dj. Light wear.

Inventory #: 34300
Price: $ 15.00       

Spear, Charles. Essays on the Punishment of Death. Boston Published by the author: 1845. 11th edition. A famous anti-death penalty text by a Unitarian minister and reformer. Perhaps most famous today for its dramatic frontispiece, illustrating a condemned forger, bound by chains to a stone pillar in a dungeon, his prostrate wife and three young children at his feet. Hardcover. 5"x7.5", xii + 237 + 10 pages lithographed frontispiece of "The Condemned Forger" woodcut "Preparing for the Execution" in the text. Publisher's blindstamped cloth covers somewhat soiled and worn, contents with some toning, scattered foxing, and rumpled.

Inventory #: 9944
Price: $ 85.00       

Stieb, Ernst W. Drug Adulteration, Detection and Control in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Madison The University of Wisconsin Press: 1966. An excellent, invaluable study. Hardcover. 6.5"x9.5", 335 pages, several b/w plates, rubbed dj.

Inventory #: 2267
Price: $ 50.00       

Tietze, Hans. Genuine and False. Imitations, Copies, Forgeries. New York Chanticleer Press: 1948. An examination and analysis of the shortcomings of some fakeries of master paintings, sculptures and antiquities. Hardcover. 7.5"x10", 80 pages, color and b/w illustrations. Light wear publisher line on copyright page blacked out.

Inventory #: 3010
Price: $ 50.00       

Walter, James. Memorials of Washington and of Mary, His Mother, and Martha, His Wife, from Letters and Papers of Robert Cary and James Sharples. New York Charles Scribner's Sons: 1887.

John Lovari, writing in Karpel, notes- "Apparently an interesting and valuable account of Sharples's connection with the Washington family, with comments on Robert Fulton and his friendship with Sharples and on the two men as artists and scientists. Although this is a seemingly plausible and valid description of the book after a first reading of it, the work, an abridged version of which had appeared in 1886 under the title 'History and Descriptive Details of Middleton's Portraits of Mary, the Mother of Washington', ranks with Clifford Irving's recent 'biography' of Howard Hughes as one of the major hoaxes of the publishing world. Walter was attacked on twelve points of plagiarism, forgery, and fabrication of evidence by the members of the Massachusetts Historical Society". Well, now. Karpel H721.

Hardcover. 6.5"x10", xii + 362 pages, plus 12 b/w plates erratum slip publisher's green cloth with black decorations and Washington's coat of arms stamped in gilt slight wear, but overall a very nice, crisp, clean copy.

With the small printed book ticket of the noted American book collector Grenville Kane, the bulk of whose Americana and Incunabula collections are now at Princeton. In addition to being an important book collector, Kane was also a founding member of the Tuxedo Club, a group of wealthy New Yorkers who summered together at Tuxedo Park in upstate New York the group was responsible for introducing to American Society the new-fangled semi-formal dinner jacket worn at a dinner by the Prince of Wales, and naming it the... yes, that's right.

Inventory #: 8601
Price: $ 250.00       

Wiegand, Wayne A. The History of a Hoax: Edmund Lester Pearson, John Cotton Dana, and The Old Librarian's Almanack. Pittsburgh Beta Phi Mu: 1979. In 1909 bibliographers and librarians were startled by the publication of something called "The Old Librarian's Almanack -A very rare pamphlet first published in New Haven Connecticut in 1773 and now reprinted for the first time". A clever and (partially) innocently-intentioned hoax, the "Almanack" was meant to puncture a few stiff-shirted balloons then being bandied about in the library community. It was filled with such sage advice as, "No person younger than 20 years is on any pretext to enter the library," and "Be suspicious of women. They are given to reading of frivolous romances... you will make no error in excluding them altogether, even though by that act it befall that you should prohibit from entering some one of those excellent females who are distinguished by their wit and learning. There is little chance that you or I, sir, will ever see such a one". The whole affair got out of hand when some people took it a little too seriously... Hardcover. 6"x9", 75 pages, facsimiles.

Inventory #: 7976
Price: $ 25.00       

Yates, Raymond F. Antique Fakes and Their Detection. New York Gramercy Publishing: 1960s. A concise guide for unearthing frauds in furniture, glass, silver, ceramics, jewelry, pewter, clocks, lamps, silhouettes, metalware, etc. Hardcover. 5.5"x8", 229 pages, several b/w and line illustrations, dj. Light jacket wear.

Inventory #: 32982
Price: $ 25.00       

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