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22 September 2020

World Book Heritage. 88. Fakes and forgeries.

World Book heritage

A series of talks on
the history of the written word

88. Fakes and forgeries.

(Contents list)
Definition: a work created or modified with deliberate intention to deceive. This excludes copies made in good faith for purposes of study, such as facsimile reprints and writings that have through history become associated with the name of a great classical author or a church father.

Reasons for forgery:
  1. Forgeries as a hoax. These often arise from the desire to fool experts.
  2. Forgeries to gain recognition. This is often by writers who feel unjustly neglected when published under their own names.
  3. Forgeries to further a cause. This can be to exalt or denigrate a religion political party or race.
  4. Forgeries for financial gain.

1. Forgeries as a hoax.

George Psalmanazar (1679-1763) was a Frenchman who travelled to England pretending to be a native of Formosa and in 1704 published a book on the island which he had never visited. The year after his death was published Memoirs of *** in which he confessed it to be "a forgery of my own devising, a scandalous imposition on the public, and such, as I think myself bound to beg God and the world pardon for writing".

William Lauder (c.1680-1771) was a Scottish literary forger who attempted to prove Milton guilty of plagiarism by quoting modern Latin authors into which he had interpolated translated sections of Paradise lost in 1750. The secret log book of Christopher Columbus was allegedly placed in a strong wooden box by Columbus believing that his last hour had come. It was fished up by a trawler in 1890, conveniently timed for the 400th anniversary of the voyage of discovery.

The Cidade Calenixness or The Dialogue of Jesus and John is less pardonable as it abuses the faith of simple people by fabricating a document making subsequent disillusionment all the more bitter. It is a supposed copy of a papyrus in the British Museum strikingly confirming the Christian Science teachings of Mary Baker Eddy. It was printed in popular magazines in 1904 and received a wide circulation in the United States.

The Ern Malley poems were started as a joke and were then taken seriously. They were offered to an Australian magazine in 1944 was the works of a recently dead poet. They were actually written by two young soldiers taking the rise out of modern poetry.

2. Forgeries to gain recognition.

Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770) is the most famous example of this. The Thomas Rowley poems in medieval English were attempted to be passed off as the work of a medieval cleric, but Chatterton proved to be a genius in his own right, initially taking in critics such as Horace Walpole. However Chatterton fell on hard times and committed suicide at the age of eighteen.

Samuel William Henry Ireland (1777-1835) was born in London. Tempted by his father's enthusiasm for Shakespeare, he forged the autograph of the poet on a carefully copied old lease. His audacity grew with the credulity of those he duped. He forged private letters, annotations in books and much else besides. Boswell actually knelt to kiss his relics when they were displayed at his father's house in 1795. He went on to produce a historical play Vortigern at Drury Lane in 1796. The colourless production damned him at once. He confessed to his father, who had begun to suspect his activities and died broken- hearted. The son went on to produce other works but ended his life in poverty.

Charles Bertram (1723-1765) duped the antiquary William Stukeley into identifying an account of Roman Britain by one Richard of Westminster as being the lost chronicle by Richard of Cirencester who had resided in Westminster in the 14th century. He cunningly had it published together with the genuine works of Gildas and Nennius and it had considerable influence on historians until the 20th century although they had been revealed as a fraud in the Gentleman's magazine in 1866.

James MacPherson (1736-1796) posed as the translator of the Ossianic poems. Even today it is felt that they may have had some basis in Gaelic bardic tradition but they were largely a work of MacPherson's own imagination. Nevertheless they had a great influence on the Romantic movement, being extensively quoted in translation in Goethe's Leiden des jungen Werthers.

Pseudonymous apocryphal scriptures. Spurious epistles started to appear early n the Christian era – there are even epistles of Pontius Pilate to Herod and the Rpman emperor. The epistle of Lentulus which describes Christ's appearance has inspired many artists. The false decreta1s of Peudo-Isidore, probably originating in the archdiocese of Reims in the ninth century, had a powerful influence on the consolidation of the temporal power of the popes in the middle ages.

Forged charters are common from medieval monasteries to defend traditiona rights that had been called into question or to extend the territory claimed by religious houses. The authenticity of some of the earliest Devon charters is questionable. A similar document from the age of print is Hospitals : the order of the hospitals of K. Henry VIIIth and K. Edward VIth ... viz. St. Bartholomew's, Christ's, Bridewell, St. Thomas's which is dated 1557, but which, although it has authenitic type from that period, has been shown on watermarke evidence to have been printed in the 1690s at a time when there were enquiries into the constitution of Christ's Hospital and it was felt that it would bolster the Hospital's claims. It could have been a reprint of a missing original manuscript.

The Protcols of the elders of Zion. are a fabrication made in tsarist Russia purporting to be evidence of a Jewish conspiracy to obtain world domination. They are often used in evidence by anti-Semitic movements.

Short narrative of the horrid massacre in Boston. was printed by Edes and Gill in Boston in 1770. The Boston authorities forbade the printers to distribute copies lest it prejudice the trial of Captain Preston. Shortly after reprints made by William Bigley in London arrived at Boston. As it was forbidden to sell their edition, Edes and Gill printed a cancel title page in imitation of the London edition and substituted it for their own.

3. Forgery for financial gain. This is as old as printing itself. The works of the Venetian scholar printer Aldus Manutius were pirated in Lyon in the first years of the 16th century, reprints of Strawberry Hill books were made after Horace Walpole's death by the printer at his private press when they were sought by collectors. The 18th century Dublin piracies of works by London publishers can be recognised on typographical grounds, although many do openly bear the imprint of the Dublin publishers. More easy is the production of spurious manuscripts and many fake autographs have appeared on the market over the years. It requires little ingenuity, the ability to imitate another writer's style or hand, preferably on scraps of old paper, often to be found as blank leaves at the end of old ledgers.

Constantine Simonides (1820-1867) was a Greek adventurers, very knowledgeable in palaeographer and a master calligrapher who varied his trade in genuine manuscripts with strange concoctions of his own including the original manuscript of Gospel of Mark, and early manuscripts of Homer in an archaic script. The also claimed to have written the Codex Sinaiticus.

Major George de Luna Byron alias de Gibler (1809?-1882) claimed to be the natural son of the poet Byron by a Spanish countess. He successfully produced and disposed of many manuscipts ascribed to his alleged father and well as Shelley, Keates and others.

John Payne Collier (1789-1883) knwn as "the old corrector" claimed to have discovered manuscripts of Shakespeareana including a playhouse copy of The merry wives of Windsor.

Alexander Howland Smith (1859-1913), also known as "Antique Smith", was a Scottish document forger in the 1880s who was responsible for forgeries of Robert Burens, Sir Walter Scott, Mary Sturart and other Scottish characters. In 1893 he received twelve months in prison for his pains.

Denis Vrain-Lucas (1818-1882) was a French forger who produced autograph letters for the academician Michel Chasles. He claimed that they were the remnants of the library of Count Boisjourdain saved from a shipwreck when he was emigrating to America in 1791. They were being sold to him a few at a time by an old man. They included letters from Charles V to Rabelais and letters from Pascal proving that he had discovered the law of gravity before Newton. Chasles publicised the letters and read them before the Académie. The uproar that followed resulted in his conviction, two years in prison and a fine of 500 francs, although he had sold Chasles 30,000 manuscripts laced with some genuine ones for 140,000 francs. It is hard to see how Chasles was duped by some of them. They included letters of Plato, Cleopatra, Pontius Pilate, Mary Magdalene, the resurrected Lazarus – all on French paper and in the French language. In 2004, the journal Critical Inquiry published a recently discovered letter written by Vrain-Lucas from prison in 1871 to Chasles, giving the forger's perspective on these events. This itself proved to be a forgery.

The Hitler Diaries were a series of sixty volumes of journals which were purchased in 1983 for 9.3 million Deutsche Marks by the West German news magazine Stern. They sold serialisation rights to several news organisations. including The Sunday Times, who asked the historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, to authenticate them, which he did. However at the press conference to announce the publication, he announced that on reflection he had changed his mind, and other historians also raised questions concerning their validity. Rigorous forensic analysis by specialists in the Bundesarchiv and in St Gallen confirmed what the forensic experts had been telling the management of Stern, the diaries were poor forgeries, with modern components and ink that was not in common use in wartime Germany. They proved to have been forged by Konrad Kujau, a committed Nazi and dealer in Nazi memorabilia, between 1981 and 1983. In 1984 Kujau was sentenced to four and a half years in prison.

We will deal with our last forger at greater length as he is closer to home for the community of English literary scholars, librarians and bibliographers:

Thomas James Wise (1859-1937) was born in Gravesend, the son of a commercial traveller and the eldest of four children. In 1866 the family moved to Holloway. Wise was misleading about his family and education but was probably educated at home.

Hermann Rubeck, an essential oil merchant in the City offered him a junior post and he remained associated with the firm for the rest of his life, becoming an expert in that field. He was thrifty, saving money by walking and stealing sugar lumps from cafes. Though he was earning under £4.00 a week he was living at home and able to save.

Collecting books was an early enthusiasm. He soon graduated from the barrows in Farringdon Market. Observant, curious, he asked booksellers many questions and was soon to be seen in the West End shops. He paid £45 for a superb copy of Shelly's Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats and soon after that £40 for a set of two other Shelley items. This created a stir, but Wise realised the potential of the antiquarian book market. He was also making his way in business and by the age of thirty was chief clerk. A room in his house was set up as a library. He would entertain there and study long hours.

His first publication appeared in 1882, his own poems in an edition of 35 copies, in a keepsake style. In 1883 he published Keats Ode to a nightingale. These were printed by William Fullford of Pentonville Road, but he was soon discarded for a printer with a wider range of types.

He began to contact descendants of authors to obtain manuscripts, for example the son of Sir John Bowring to whom Mary Shelley gave the manuscript of her husband's Hellas. He also became a book dealer on the side, although he always denied this; he "only sold duplicates".

The Browning Society was founded by F. J. Furnival in 1881. Wise had begun to collect Browning in 1880 and became an early member. At the age of 24 he was elected to the committee in 1884. He was introduced to Browning and claimed that he was a friend, although his letters to Wise are neutral in tone. He refused him a copy of the first edition of Pauline although he later reluctantly agreed that the Society should publish a type facsimile of it. Wise offered the services of Richard Clay and Sons for this.

Wordsworth attracted his attention in 1884, although he professed to dislike his poetry. He bought a copy of the first edition of his poems (1807) in the original boards and had it rebound in morocco. The Lyrical ballads had many cancelled leaves and unamended first edition copies were very rare – Wise had two copies. He also had one unique variant with a cancel of pages 97-98 with corrections not otherwise known until 38 years later. This was later found to be printed in an old style face only cut around 1860, like some of Wise's other productions. The also forged To the Queen although, as he himself remarked, genuine works privately printed had the poet's inscription on each copy, none of these did. He also collected many genuine manuscripts.

The Shelley Society was founded in 1885, also by Furnival. Wise was an active member from the start. The programme of type facsimiles was in his hands. Hours of proof reading (even the errors were meticulously copied) gave him much bibliographical know-how. The programme proved to be expensive and the Society soon ran into debt, but Wise was having extra copies printed on the side, often on vellum, and he also printed nineteen pamphlets of papers read to the Society. He also pirated Poems and sonnets in a limited edition of thirty under the pseudonym of Charles Alfred Seymour to avoid copyright problems with Lady Shelley, and he also pirated Shelley's letters.

Forgeries probably began before 1888. The archives of Clay and Sons were burnt but the diary of a member of the Shelley Society for 11 January 1888 says: "Wise is still proceeding on his wild career of reprinting or pirating Browning, Shelley, Swinburne &c." He also reports Wise's anger at the low prices booksellers were prepared to pay for these items. He distributed these pamphlets indirectly, some through the firm of Rubeck, the British Museum purchased some, others were given to selected libraries, to give them an air of respectability. Giuldhall Library has a good collection of Wise pamphlets.

Wise knew the leading 19th century literary and bibliographical scholars, mainly on a working level, although he did not hesitate to use them for his own ends.

Henry Buxton Forman (1842-1917), the editor of Keats and Shelley provided much assistance to him to the extent that he has been implicated in the production of many of the forgeries, for example Tennyson's The last tournament (1896).

Sir Edmund Gosse the literary critic and bibliophile gave much advice to Wise, whom he esteemed as a bibliographer.

Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909), the poet showed Wise his collection of Shelley and the Elizabethan dramatists when he was introduced in 1888 and was persuaded to accept a forged copy of Cleopatra.

In 1890 Wise married and moved to Ashley Road, Crouch End. He was moving up in the world. His publishing activities at this time were usually anonymous. He would buy manuscript letters or verse, publish them in limited editions, usually with cursory editing, and sell them hot. Early on he borrowed manuscripts, copied them and published them surreptitiously. Shelley, Ruskin, Swinburne, Borrow and Conrad were all hot sellers. In all he was responsible for some 300 items, including at least sixty forgeries and twenty piracies. He claimed that he published to make works available in print for students but some fifty were never deposited with the British Museum and some 200 illegally bore no imprint. Also records that these works frequently fetched tens of guineas show that he was not uninterested in commercial gain. Also when he gave copies away it was often to obtain manuscripts in return. There was also sharp practice in producing "first editions" of previously published material and he was loose in describing the numbers of copies printed of limited editions. With the aid of Clement King Shorter, editor of the Illustrated London news and book collector, he obtained a valuable haul of Brontë manuscripts. Wise was able to publish several items, he sold others and kept some for exchange. As a result much is no longer untraceable. Through his acquaintance with Robertson Nicol the editor of The bookman he was able in 1892 to use that organ's columns to boost the value of his own publications and answer the attackers of "manufacturers of rare first editions" who "resurrect from well merited obscurity some worthless tract and trumpet it about as a masterpiece".

John Henry Wrenn (1841-1911) the Chicago banker came to know Wise in 1892 and over the next twenty years he helped him build up his library. When he wrote the preface to the library catalogue Wise claimed that he was a friendly collaborator, but he was really his bookseller, and made a lot of money from his association with him. He sold him most of his forgeries, lied about prices he had paid, invented imaginary booksellers and systematically defrauded him. Wise also passed his forgeries on to another American collector W. H. Arnold, a Tennyson collector. "I obtained one Tennyson rarity after another, most of which at the time were unknown to American collectors" he wrote.

Around this time he began to use Herbert Gorfin, a lad in Rubeck's office, to help in despatching and as a go-between. He later set up as a bookseller and in 1910-12 Wise sold him remaining copies of the forgeries which Gorfin disposed of gradually over the years.

The Society of Archivists and Autograph Collectors was founded in 1893 after the demise of the Browning and Shelley societies. Monographs were published on the styles of writing of literary figures to aid in the detection of forgeries but at the same time Wise was continuing his forgeries and piracies, for example an "early" edition of Swinburne's Grace Darling which had originally appeared in the Illustrated London news.

Wise divorced his wife in 1897. She had deserted him in part because of his obsession with his bibliographical work. He moved from Ashley Road to Kilburn but before his move he printed a list of his limited editions which amounted to a thinly disguised bookseller's catalogue. Suspicions were raised about piracies in the Athenaeum in 1898. Messrs Constable described Some college memories by Robert Louis Stevenson as a piracy to which Wise was forced to give an unconvincing defence. Also in the Athenaeum the bibliographer Robert Proctor condemned Sir Galahad, a Christmas mystery by William Morris on typographical grounds.

Wise's second more successful marriage took place in 1900 and he also moved to Hampstead. By now his forgeries were largely in the past. Between 1900 and 1910 he secured many of the choicest items for the Ashley Library. There was a flow of mint Elizabethan quartos onto the market, for which he outbid American collectors. Most copies were far better than the British Museum's and Wise had most of them rebound in morocco. However he was never completely at home in Elizabethan bibliography. He missed many rarities and others had evidence destroyed by "making up", something he bitterly regretted later. He continued buying until the 1930s but most of his acquisitions were before the post-War boom.

The standard edition of the works of Ruskinbegan to appear in 1903 edited by Edward Tyas Cook and Alexander Wedderburn. They condemned four pamphlets as piracies and proved that the 1852 edition of The National Gallery on typographical grounds must have been reprinted from the 1880 text.

After 1910 Wise concentrated his attention on publishing the treasures of his Ashley. The final Catalogue of the Ashley Library was published in eleven volumes between 1922 and 1936, each volume being introduced by a prominent literary figure and it became a standard reference work for the study of English literature. He also produced a series of author bibliographies including Coleridge, Tennyson, the Brontës, Shelley, Keats and Byron. Wise had become respectable and respected. He had privileged access to the stack of the British Museum, was president of the Bibliographical Society (1922-24) honorary fellow of Worcester College, Oxford and a member of the Roxburghe Club.

In 1934 a serious attack on his reputation was launched by the publication of An enquiry into the nature of certain nineteenth century pamphlets by two young booksellers John Carter and Graham Pollard. In a forensic examination of the typography of the pamphlets they proved that a large number of rare first edition pamphlets from 19th century authors were fakes and printed by Clay and Sons much later than the dates claimed. A particularly noteworthy forgery, which attracted their suspicion, was an edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese said to have been published in Reading in 1847. Although Wise was not directly accused, the fact that his name was linked to the first appearance of many of these editions in bibliographies made his guilt clear. Wise of course denied this but failed to provide any convincing refutation.

Shortly after Wise's death in 1937 his widow sold the Ashley Library to the British Museum for £66,000. When the Elizabethan quartos were compared with the British Museum's copies it was discovered that over 206 book leaves were missing, 89 of them matching tear marks on leaves in the Wise volumes. The collection of Elizabethan drama Wise had built up for Henry Wrenn, housed in the University of Texas also included sixty books completed with thefts from the British Museum library. The moral of this tale for custodians of rare book collections is that nobody should be trusted, not even the most eminent of bibliographers.

Types of forgery

Forged association copies. These are easily made, for example adding an authors signature and other comments to a book, but older examples can be difficult to verify, for example forgeries of manuscript prayers by Luther in a genuine 1531 edition of his Deudsch catechismus.

Forged bookbindingsSixteenth century bindings are popular subjects for forgery, especially Grolier bindings. They were imitated in the nineteenth century, notably by Louis Hague, a Flemish bookbinder. Beside copies of complete bindings additions to genuine old bindings are not unknown. Often the additions do not fit; devices and ownership mark are awkwardly placed. Royal arms and devices are often added.

Forged prints Bogus prints can be found of subjects people throught there should be prints of, for example the fortifications of London during the Civil War. An entire blockbook has also been fabricated; Die Streiten Christi with fourteen leaves, ascribed to Maiz and dated to 1430, was actually produced in the mid-nineteenth century and has been attributed to Georg Kaspar Nagler (1801-1866). Distriuted in very few copies this may not have been designed as a forgery but more as a light-hearted jeu d'esprit by an eminent art historian.

Complete reprints of early books. This is rare as it does not normally pay to attempt such a major task. There is a notorious example, an edition of the play Soliman and Perseda originally printed by E. Allde for E. White in 1599, which was actually printed about 1815. Some copies actually have the imprint on the verso of the title as required by law: J. Smeeton, printer, St Martin's Lane. He also printed an apparent facsimile of John Bon and Mast Person in 1807. This has a separate leaf with a note by Richard Forster from whose copy of the 1548 edition the reprint was made. Soliman and Perseda is a page for page reprint of the 1599 quarto. The ornaments have been roughly reproduced but the type is too regular and the paper is much later. But many were deceived and it is difficult to know whether it was printed with fraudulent intent. Some good facsimile reprints can be mistaken for earlier editions despite modern imprints, for example those of the Shelley Society with which Thomas James Wise was involved. Type facsimile reprints were popular in the nineteenth century, for example the Clarendon Press in 1807 produced a reprint of the first folio of Shakespeare. There are also many facsimiles of historic newspapers, for example the Trafalgar Times. Some were produced for centenaries of newspapers, others put out as advertisements by a Cheapside tailor in the late 19th century, others produced at international trade exhibitions. A series of "great newspaper reprinted" appeared in 1972.

Perfected copies, that is to say imperfect copies made good. This can be done:
1. By facsimile from the same edition. This is a clear gain and photographic facsimiles are often as good as the original, except for possible variants.
2. By genuine leaves from another copy of the same edition. This is also good, except that is the danger of confusion as a cancel, and the problem of variants is also there.
3. By leaves from other editions. In the 19th century there was much clumsy making up of copies but mny books passed through several editions in very similar line for line make-up and it may be difficult to distinguish.

Bogus items, either complete or partial.
1. Unique copies of books lacking a title page which have had a title page concocted form the half-title, headline and colophon, perhaps with extra information from the Stationers Company register or other sources. There is a title page in the British Library: "The Queenes Maiesties Entertaiment at Woodstock [ornament] At London, Printed for Thomas Cadman. 1585." The title page is a direct crib from the headline and colophon, down to the stop after the printer's name.

2. Insertion into a defective copy of sections that are apparently facsimile but in reality made by transcribing text from another edition in the type and style of the one to be completed. This is rare as few are skilled enough. One forger, an honest facsimilist was paid £12 in the nineteenth century for supplying a single leaf. The Navivité de nostre seigneur Jhesu Christ (c.1540) had a leaf meticulously copied in manuscript in imitation of the black letter original.

3. Often in modern books after a few copies have been printed off alterations are made, for example to the title page or dedication, the original leaves being suppressed. These advance copies are not often intended for the general public. They may be author's proof copies, or publicity for libraries or wholesale suppliers. They are in reality proofs and not first issues but are highly regarded by collectors. As the difference is normally limited to a few leaves and similar type and paper is easily available it can be profitable to insert leaves characteristic of proofs and even replace the decorative wrapper with an apparently provisional typographical proof cover. These can be virtually impossible to distinguish except by direct comparison with a proof, if such exist. After a few years though the paper may discolour differently than the main body of the text. An earlier example of forged title pages occurs with the first edition of Alice in wonderland. The first edition of 1865 was withdrawn except for a few copies donated by the author and others reissued with a cancelled title page for sale in the United States. Forgeries of the first English edition are known with non-conjugate frontispiece and title page.

4. Bogus first editions, as produced by Thomas James Wise. Manuscript poems in periodicals and other works are printed with dates prior to that of the first known edition.

Detection of forgeries. This is important for the editor of a text and also for librarians who should be able to warn readers of fakes in their collections. There are three main strands to detection:

1. Textual examination. This is the only possible way when a work claims to be mo more than a copy of a genuine original. This was done brilliantly by Richard Bentley in Dissertations on the epistles of Phalerus (1699) when analysis of the text showed that the letters were written not by a tyrant in the sixth century BCE but by a Greek sophist of the second century CE. It was also used by Sir George Warner giving evidence at the trial of Antique Smith when he was able to demonstrate errors in dating.

2. Palaeography and diplomatic. This has developed from the rules formulated by Jean Mabillon in De re diplomatica (1681). It is now possible to assign various scripts and formulas to particular periods and localities and to compare writing purporting to come from the same pen or chancery. This can help to determine whether a document was written at the date it claims.

3. Scientific examination of materials. Particularly for printed books this can help to show whether they belong to the period in question. However this is of little use for the contemporary forger or the forger who takes trouble to acquire authentic materials.

Guides to detecting inserted leaves.
1. The paper seldom corresponds exactly, except where a blank leaf from the same book is used. Even here there is guidance from the correspondence in chain-lines and watermarks, as in the detection of normal cancelled leaves.
2. Creases on successive pages remain once the corners are turned back. Lumps and wrinkles in the paper leave impressions on adjacent leaves when sheets are pressed by the bookbinder.
3. Wormholes. It is easier to produce wormholes in an inserted leaf than to plug them. This is difficult to do well and can be distinguished by holding the sheet to a light. Patterns of holes can vary through the volume and may be difficult to match convincingly. It is also possible that the paper may have been attacked while still in sheets.
4. Water stains, rust spots etc. Water stains usually go through a number of leaves, as do rust spots and foxing to a lesser extent. This can be avoided by taking a book to pieces, bleaching and resizing. Washing is always a cause for suspicion, but stains are seldom completely removed. Broad patterns are always better than small patches.
5. Patching must be looked for when only part of a leaf is damaged. Edges can be pared back and joined with minute amounts of paste. Even if this is well done, it shows darker when held to the light. The attached portion may them be filled in with brush or pen facsimile, often very well done. Under a magnifying glass the edges of written letters are often smoother than their printed neighbours, without the angular indentations caused in printing by the fibrous nature of the paper.

Analysis of materials.

1. Paper. Esparto was introduced in 1861, chemical wood in 1874. Under the microscope these can be easily distinguished. This method was used by Carter and Pollard in their Enquiry into Thomas James Wise in 1934.
27 pamphlets dated 1842-1881 contained esparto, some dated prior to 1861
27 pamphlets dated 1855-1875 contained esparto with traces of chemical wood, probably manufactured after 1883.
27 pamphlets dated 1842-1873 contained chemical wood, first imported from Sweden in 1874. They included the 1847 Reading edition of Sonnets from the Portugese.

2. Inks. These are susceptible to analysis, for example the dates of introduction of various dyes, such as eosine for red ink in 1874. In the case of the Hitler diaries measurements were taken of the evaporation of chloride in the ink which showed the diaries had been written within the previous two years. For the ink, Kujau bought two bottles of Pelikan ink, one black, one blue, and mixed them with water so it would flow more easily from the cheap modern pen he used.

Type design. This goes through fashions. As there were relatively few typefounders in England it is possible to date the appearance of types quite precisely by their appearance in specimen books, but it is not so easy to identify and trace a typeface to a specific printer. However once this is done it provides good evidence as most smaller printers only had one font of text type of a given size until machine composition was introduced towards the end of the nineteenth century.

Certain peculiarities enabled Carter and Pollard to track down Wise's forgeries. They noticed that the printer of the Wise pamphlets used a "broken backed" letter "f" and a peculiar narrow "?", a hybrid not featured in specimen books. In the latter part of the nineteenth century modern style types used kerned "f" and "j" which were easily broken. The idea of a kernless type first occurred to Richard Clay of Clay and Taylor who commissioned the firm of P. Shanks and Co. to cut a kernless "f" which bent the stem of the letter back like a hook. This was first used in 1883. The narrow "?" was less easy to trace. It did not appear in any of the 27 designs of kernless fonts on the market to 1895, so it must have been a sort belonging to a single printer. It was recognised by accident that the type was used in a reprint of Alaric at Rome made by Clay in 1893 and was identical to the hybrid font of the notorious 1847 Reading edition of Sonnets from the Portugese. Clay admitted that they had printed both pamphlets but were unable to confirm the identity of the customer as all ledgers prior to 1911 had been destroyed.
This page last updated 6 October 2020