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Real or Fake: Studies in Authentication

by Joe Nickell

Availablecloth$50.00x 978-0-8131-2534-3
256 pages  Pubdate: 07/17/2009  6 x 9 x .75  76

Many people wonder if an item stored in the attic or found at a tag sale could be a lost treasure. Joe Nickell’s latest book, Real or Fake, offers a general introduction to the principles of authentication. Illustrating methods used by the pros and recognized by hit shows such as Antiques Roadshow, Nickell educates readers with the specific information necessary to begin forgery detection. Real or Fake focuses on three categories of potential treasures: documents, photographs, and other artifacts. Nickell critiques famous examples from each group to explain how his suggested techniques can be used to unmask fakes. The objects examined and tested for authenticity in the book include Jack the Ripper’s diary, a draft of the Gettysburg Address, notes by Charles Dickens, a film of an alien autopsy, and debris from the Titanic. Nickell’s extensive knowledge of the field is accessible to everyone—from the general reader to the aspiring scientist—who wants a better understanding of how the experts determine if a suspicious heirloom is real or fake.

Joe Nickell is the author of many books, including Detecting Forgery, Unsolved History, and Real Life X-Files.

An expert on antique ink and paper, and the forensic analysis of historic documents. -- New Yorker

Joe Nickell is the embodiment of the Mythbusters, Sherlock Holmes, and Richard Feynman: one part lab tinkerer, one part field sleuth, and one part theoretical genius. -- Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic Magazine, columnist for Scientific American

This new book, Real or Fake, will be of special interest to family historians." --Kentucky Ancestors

"Nickell advocates a multifaceted approach that looks at provenance, content, material composition, and scientific analysis." --Maine Antique Digest

"It’s all interesting reading. More importantly, it’s informational, giving an overview of what it takes to ferret out the truth." --Antique Week

"If you are interested in antiques then this book is a nice addition to your library." --The Lone Star

"A well-written and useful book...The most rewarding parts of this book...are the author’s recollections of his own youth." --Technology and Culture

"With more than 60 photographs, countless stories, examples and tips from the experts, you can easily pick up and enjoy this riveting book from any chapter." --Antique Trader

"Enthusiasts will find it insightful and helpful, serious investigators will appreciate its heuristic value, stimulating them to make further inquiries." --New York-Pennsylvania Collector

"Reading the book will help you appreciate the procedures followed by the experts and it will prompt your more careful examination of those documents, photographs, or artifacts you observe in shops, at shows or in a museum." --Collector

"Real or Fake is the real thing when it comes to understanding the world of authenticating artifacts." --Kentucky Monthly

"Nickell brings a unique set of talents to autograph sleuthing: A Ph.D. in English and a serious art and chemistry background, work experience as a private investigator and more "stints" in more jobs than any person has a right to claim, combined with first-rate analytical skills, make him a formidable autograph sleuth." -- Manuscripts