SPRING (ROBERT) Collection of autograph letters by, and forgeries attributed to, Robert Spring, including four autograph letters signed, 1862
Lot 90*
SPRING (ROBERT) Collection of autograph letters by, and forgeries attributed to, Robert Spring, including four autograph letters signed, 1862
Sold for £1,000 (US$ 1,712) inc. premium
Lot Details
SPRING (ROBERT)
Collection of autograph letters by, and forgeries attributed to, Robert Spring, including four autograph letters signed ("Robert Spring"), written in his capacity as antiquarian bookseller, to the book collector T.H. Morrell (see his sales with Bangs, Merwin & Co in 1859, 1866 and 1869), offering him printed pamphlets and the like, as well as material by Washington: "do you mean to say you will take all – or only the Washington... Gilbert would have taken every one instantly"; the forgeries attributed to Spring comprising a letter by Washington to Jabez Huntington of Windham, ordering the release of a prisoner, and a letter written from Valley Forge to Captain Jacob Benton; also included is a pay warrant purportedly by Benjamin Franklin, originally sold as a genuine Spring forgery but accompanied by a note by the late Charles Hamilton ("...This is a forgery by Cosey. He did so many of these that I wrote in one of my bks that the amt involved wd have bankrupted Pa. if they had actually been pd...") and a document purportedly signed by Franklin, Adams and others, the Spring letters 6 pages, the first of the letters repaired with tape, other minor wear, 8vo, Philadelphia, 4 April to 17 October 1862

Footnotes

  • The English-born Robert Spring (1813-1876) settled in Philadelphia as a bookseller in about 1858 and is probably the best known of the forgers of Americana, his speciality being autograph material by Washington. A favourite was the prisoner release order addressed to Jabez Huntington of Windham, made out in favour of various prisoners at various dates (as in our collection); many of his forgeries being made to order, in a manner of speaking, so as to dupe individual purchasers with a weakness for family history: for an illustrated analysis, illustrating documents very similar to ours, see Kenneth W. Rendell, Forging History: The Detection of Fake Letters and Documents, 1994, pp. 77-82. The document purportedly signed by Franklin and Adams appears to be by Joseph Cosey (1887-c.1950), probably the most prolific American forger: see the analysis by Charles Hamilton, Great Forgers and Famous Fakes, 1996, pp. 88-120, especially the petition illustrated on p. 106.

    T.H. Morrell was a book collector who held several sales with Bangs, Merwin & Co, including one billed as his Entire Private Collection of Autograph Letters, &c on 1 November 1859.
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  1. Simon Roberts
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
    Bonhams
    Work
    Montpelier Street
    London, United Kingdom SW7 1HH
    Work +44 20 7393 3828
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