April 2009 | Ian J. Kahn

Be warned, well executed forgeries currently in the wild...

ABAA dealers Jeffrey Marks and Peter Stern have just released a statement regarding what appears to be at least 15 forged Hemingway inscriptions. These are apparently of extremely high quality and there is evidence that there are other "high point" inscriptions being offered. Forewarned is forearmed.

Their release follow, reprinted with permission from P. Stern:

Jeffrey H. Marks Rare Books and Peter L. Stern & Co., Inc. would like to caution our colleagues and the public regarding what we believe to be a substantial fraud involving forged Hemingway inscriptions. We purchased three of these last year from a European colleague but had only catalogued one, which we subsequently withdrew from sale. Four more showed up at the recent New York fair with European colleagues who had recently purchased them in Italy. Careful examination of these by Jennifer Larson and others revealed clues that led us to conclude that they, along with three we had in stock (but which were not with us in New York), contain forged inscriptions apparently by the same hand.

On being informed of this conclusion, our colleagues did not display these at the fair. We have found several similar inscriptions elsewhere (now, better late than never, that we know what to look for), for a total of at least 15 books. We are concerned that more such books have either been sold or are being offered for sale. We have some reason to believe that there are additional forgeries purporting to be by Fitzgerald, Salinger, Faulkner and others advertised for sale, although whether these are the products of the same forger remains undetermined. Thus far, we have no evidence of these being other than of recent manufacture.

We are seeking the cooperation of our colleagues to investigate the source of these forgeries. As required by the ILAB Code of Ethics, as well as by our own standards of conduct, we have always unconditionally guaranteed autographs as genuine. We have never provided "authentication" for so much as a single scrap of paper. That said, we are willing to examine any inscriptions that our colleagues might feel queasy about, and will provide our opinions so long as it is understood that, should we suspect these to be forgeries, we will be furnished with full and complete details of their origin.

Peter L. Stern
Jeffrey H. Marks

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