Joe Nickell

Real or Fake

The man who is “the embodiment of the Mythbusters, Sherlock Holmes, and Richard Feynman” weeds out the treasures from the shams in artifact investigations (Michael Shermer, founding publisher of Skeptic magazine).
Detailing how the pros determine whether an Abraham Lincoln signature is forged or if a photograph of Emily Dickinson is genuine, Nickell, a leader in forgery detection and forensic investigation, provides the essential tools necessary to identify counterfeits. In this general introduction to the principles of authentication, Nickell provides readers with step-by-step explanations of the science used to detect falsified documents, photographs, and other objects, illustrating methods used on hit shows such as Antiques Roadshow and History Detectives.
Including fascinating cases drawn from Nickell’s illustrious career, Real or Fake combines historical and scientific investigations to reveal reproductions and genuine objects. Nickell explains the warning signs of forgery, such as patching and unnatural pen lifts; chronicles the evolution of writing instruments, inks, and papers; shows readers how to date photographs, papers, and other materials; and traces the development of photographic processes since the mid-nineteenth century. Lavishly illustrated with examples of replicas and authentic objects inspected by Nickell, Real or Fake includes case studies of alleged artifacts including Jack the Ripper’s diary, a draft of the Gettysburg Address, notes by Charles Dickens, Jefferson Davis’s musket, and debris from the Titanic.
“An expert on antique ink and paper, and the forensic analysis of historic documents.” —The New Yorker
“Nickell advocates a multifaceted approach that looks at provenance, content, material composition, and scientific analysis.” —Maine Antique Digest
333 printed pages
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