SMITH (ALEXANDER HOWLAND, 'ANTIQUE') Collection of forgeries by or attributed to Alexander Howland ('Antique') Smith, including forgeries of letters documents and verses by Mary Queen of Scots, James VI, Oliver Cromwell, Montrose, Argyle, the Jacobite Earls of Panmure and Mar, the Jacobite Alexander Gordon, Rob Roy, Allan Ramsay, Oliver Goldsmith, William Wordsworth, James Hogg, Walter Scott, [c.1885-1892]
Lot 85*
SMITH (ALEXANDER HOWLAND, 'ANTIQUE') Collection of forgeries by or attributed to Alexander Howland ('Antique') Smith, including forgeries of letters documents and verses by Mary Queen of Scots, James VI, Oliver Cromwell, Montrose, Argyle, the Jacobite Earls of Panmure and Mar, the Jacobite Alexander Gordon, Rob Roy, Allan Ramsay, Oliver Goldsmith, William Wordsworth, James Hogg, Walter Scott, [c.1885-1892]
Sold for £6,875 (US$ 11,544) inc. premium
Lot Details
SMITH (ALEXANDER HOWLAND, 'ANTIQUE')
Collection of forgeries by or attributed to Alexander Howland ('Antique') Smith, including forgeries of letters documents and verses by Mary Queen of Scots, James VI, Oliver Cromwell, Montrose, Argyle, the Jacobite Earls of Panmure and Mar, the Jacobite Alexander Gordon, Rob Roy, Allan Ramsay, Oliver Goldsmith, William Wordsworth, James Hogg, Walter Scott (mostly to John Ballantyne), Robert Tannahill, Robert Southey, Thomas Campbell, Thomas Moore, PB. Shelley, Thomas de Quincey, T.B. Macaulay, H.W. Longfellow, W.M. Thackeray, and Charles Dickens; plus a fine and extensive range of Smith's Burns forgeries, with over thirty poems – all 'signed' – including the supposedly autograph printer's copy of "Poems chiefly in the Scottish Dialect by Robt Burns/ No 2/ Mr John Wilson/ Printer/ Kilmarnock" (comprising 'The Holy Fair', 'Epistle to James Smith' and 'Address to the Devil'), and favourites such as 'Address to a Haggis', 'Ye Flowery Banks o' Bonnie Doon', and 'To a Mouse', several bearing attestations purportedly by James Hogg, [c.1885-1892]

Footnotes

  • Alexander Howland Smith – known as 'Antique' Smith – was an affable heavy-drinking lawyer's clerk who fabricated his forgeries in Edinburgh in the late 1880s. He was exposed when an article appeared on them in the Edinburgh Evening Dispatch in November 1892 and a reader recognized his handwriting. He was brought to trial on 26 June 1893, accused not of forgery but rather of selling forgeries under false pretences. He was found guilty and, the jury recommending leniency, sentenced to twelve months imprisonment.

    This is a fine and unusually extensive study collection, including a representative run of the Burns forgeries for which he is best known and which bedevil the market to this day (notwithstanding Smith's fondness for 'signing' each poem – which Burns did not share – and the unvaryingly upright ascenders of his lower-case 'd's). His endorsements – often in the name of James Hogg the 'Ettrick Shepherd' – are usually in a handwriting similar to that his Scott forgeries.

Saleroom notices

  • A copy of 'Poems and Letters in the Handwriting of Robert Burns' (published by The Burns Club of St. Louis, 1908), is included in the lot.
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Contacts
  1. Simon Roberts
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
    Bonhams
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    London, SW7 1HH
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