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Facade conservation and repair works: Over the next few weeks there will be intermittent noise in the La Trobe Reading Room while work is carried out on the external walls. More information

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Foxcroft Lecture 2014: Forgery of printed documents

Booked out
Wednesday 14 May 2014, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Free
Village Roadshow Theatrette
Entry 3, La Trobe St
Has wheelchair access Has hearing loop

All printing involves copying in some way – but when does printing cease to be reproduction and become the crime of forgery?

Hear Nicolas Barker – editor of The Book Collector since 1965 and author of numerous books and articles about printing, writing and forgery – explore a murky yet entertaining history of fakes and frauds that leads into contemporary debates about originality, authenticity and copyright.

A must-see event for book lovers!

Famous fakes

  • In 1727, the famous 1527 edition of Boccaccio’s Decameron was copied. The typeface used was not the same, but was very similar. The reproduced publication was welcomed as a gesture of pious admiration but before long ignorant or unscrupulous dealers began passing it off as the original.
  • In the 19th century, bibliographer and book collector TJ Wise, along with his co-conspirator Harry Buxton Forman, moved from making facsimiles of pamphlets by William Morris, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and other contemporary writers to manufacturing completely fake texts.
  • In the 1980s Mark Hofmann began forging documents about the early Mormon Church and was later caught passing off a forgery of The oath of a freeman, claiming it to be an original print from 1640, which would make it the oldest surviving print produced in North America.
  • More recently, Italian book thief Marino Massimo De Caro began forging first editions of Galileo. Although in prison for theft, the extent of his forgeries remains to be discovered.

This event will be recorded and the video made available on our website.