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Re: Tolkien Signatures on eBay???

Subject: Re: Tolkien Signatures on eBay???
by garm on 2009/11/17 11:34:47

I don't really need to have Dr Higglns' existence to be confirmed - looking at the letter on ebay, and taking into account Wayne and Christina's excellent analysis, I don't believe Tolkien wrote it. That goes for the three letters at Allingtons, too.

As to whether it's a fake: I saw an interesting item on the Antiques Roadshow the other day. An expert was explaining the difference between a fake and a forgery. In his words, a fake is something which already exists and is altered to seem to be something it's not, whereas a forgery is something which is made to deceive.

To give an example of a fake in Tolkien terms, there was the case of a so-called 'signed copy' of TH which Christina Scull wrote of in her article 'Sophisticated Tolkien: Or, the Integrity of the Book'. (Tolkien Collector 23, p.23). The vendor described the book as having Tolkien's signed bookplate. In fact, the 'signature' looked as if it had been cut from one of the pamphlets from Tolkien's library. A Fake - something made up to look like something it's not.

On the other hand, the 'Higgins' letter which we're discussing seems to me to have been made in order to deceive; and I have no hesitation in believing it to be a forgery. Just my opinion.

As for the ones for sale at Allingtons: I've no doubt they're a reputable dealer, who bought the letters in good faith. But even the best of us make mistakes sometimes.