Tolkien Collector's Guide
Tolkien Signatures on eBay???
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By garm

Re: Tolkien Signatures on eBay???

Nov 16, 2009 - in Signatures and Autographs
Joined:
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Posts: 686

Collector wrote:

"long, if you are skeptical about these "Higgins" you have not too much idea about Tolkiens life. These letters are original. Dr. Higgings was his family doctor and they gone several times on holidays to Milford."

I know a bit about Tolkien's life; Wayne and Christina know far more. Neither they nor I have heard of Dr. Higgins except for the ebay letters. Could you tell us where your information comes from?
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Re: Tolkien Signatures on eBay???

Nov 17, 2009 - in Signatures and Autographs
Joined:
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From Essex, England
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Shirrif
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Collector wrote:

"long, if you are skeptical about these "Higgins" you have not too much idea about Tolkiens life. These letters are original. Dr. Higgings was his family doctor and they gone several times on holidays to Milford."

Apart from the fact that the evidence for "Dr Higgings" (sic) as Tolkien's family doctor is very thin. Was he a GP, what was his practice, where did he live (it is convenient that these eBay letters do not have any envelopes)?

And the problem that Wayne and Christina have mentioned that the letter-headed paper has the wrong letter-head and none are dated. Why would Tolkien type one line of text and then hand sign it? Surely he would hand write the whole text and sign it (much harder to fake though).

I can see no provenance for these letters so have to believe that they, like a lot of 'signed' Tolkien material, are fakes.


Re: Tolkien Signatures on eBay???

Nov 17, 2009 - in Signatures and Autographs
Joined:
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Posts: 4

Laura, are you skeptical about these letters only because you suposse one friend are not writting letters to another friend? In order to know if a hand sign letter is a fake or not you must do a very deep study, you need a handwriting expert survey. I dont know about Ebay, I never check there, but are you doubting about Allington Antiquarian Books??.
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Re: Tolkien Signatures on eBay???

Nov 17, 2009 - in Signatures and Autographs
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Posts: 4

Garm, Dr. Higgings was the family doctor of Tolkiens family, and a personal friend. If you never heard about him....

Say no more...
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Re: Tolkien Signatures on eBay???

Nov 17, 2009 - in Signatures and Autographs
Joined:
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Posts: 4

Trotter, I dont know about ebay, I never was there. But it is very dificult to fake a book or a letter from 1968, I never bought a letter/book looking a simple picture, I need to study them.

I have a "sleeping book" (sic Laura) from Tolkien, 1ed. Blue ink. and it is very real, all you need is to do a study from a handwriting expert survey.

Thanks to everybody, this a very interesting chat.
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By laurel

Re: Tolkien Signatures on eBay???

Nov 17, 2009 - in Signatures and Autographs
Joined:
Oct 30, 2009
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Posts: 516

Hello Collector
I am sceptical about these letters as the sellers story just didnt make sense. Ask yourself - why would Tolkien compose letters in Milford to a number of people and then leave them in the loft? Would you do that?

I have never heard of Allington Antiquarian Books but assume you have a connection?

I appreciate that there are experts in handwriting and indeed this is one way of establishing providence but more often than not i find gut instinct kicks in and when the story and facts dont add up then something is wrong.

To be honest i trust the guys who post on this site more than anyone.

I look forward to finding my sleeping book with a genuine tolkien signature in it. I guess my odds are fairly good as there seems to be a lot out there.

An interesting chat indeed.
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Re: Tolkien Signatures on eBay???

Nov 17, 2009 - in Signatures and Autographs
Joined:
Jun 6, 2006
From Essex, England
Group:
Shirefolk
Fellowship
Shirrif
Posts: 2305

"Collector wrote:

Trotter, I dont know about ebay, I never was there. But it is very dificult to fake a book or a letter from 1968, I never bought a letter/book looking a simple picture, I need to study them."

I didn't mention eBay but it is actually very easy to fake a signature or letter from 1968 and has been done numerous times. Some fakes are very convincing and can even fool hand-writing experts.

An example is the "Hitler Diaries" where three independent handwriting experts claimed that the signatures were genuine. The forger in this case went to a lot more trouble than the "Higgins" letters.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler_Diaries

Look at this article about collecting Tolkien Signatures.

http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/fascimilesignatures.htm

"Collector wrote:

Garm, Dr. Higgings was the family doctor of Tolkiens family, and a personal friend. If you never heard about him....

Say no more..."

It looks like everyone apart from you is in the "never heard about him...." category. Please can you tell me where to find out any information about him that links him to Tolkien or even that he ever existed?


By garm

Re: Tolkien Signatures on eBay???

Nov 17, 2009 - in Signatures and Autographs
Joined:
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Posts: 686

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.
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Re: Tolkien Signatures on eBay???

Nov 17, 2009 - in Signatures and Autographs
Joined:
May 27, 2006
From California, USA
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Thain
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Posts: 1869

Hello Collector, and welcome to the forums!

Sorry to have been in lurk mode for the past few months (on my own website, no less!) but I am very happy that everyone has kept busy.

This has been a great conversation so far. I am hoping Collector can share some additional information or background on why you think these letters are real - have you seen the letters in person? Have you had a handwriting expert (Tolkien signature specialist) look at these particular letters?

A few of these specialist/experts have weighed in on these forums already, all on the "forgery" side of the fence. Anything helping to move the needle back towards "real" would be helpful if you can provide solid information.

Thanks all!
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- Jeremy


By Jlong

Re: Tolkien Signatures on eBay???

Nov 18, 2009 - in Signatures and Autographs
Joined:
Oct 6, 2008
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Posts: 594

Also, we have seen other reputable auction houses selling "supposed" Tolkien letters before. I think we all remember the infamous "moon-lather" letter that was being sold by Bloomsbury Auctions: http://www.bloomsburyauctions.com/detail/664/246.0

If the collectors on this site wouldn't have identified that as a forgery, it would have almost certainly sold at auction.

Collector, I still have yet to see any evidence put forth about this Higgins fellow.
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