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Alexander Howland Smith
Transcript of Alexander Howland Smith
Where did the forgeries take place?
What did Alexander do?
• Visit second hand bookshops and bought all kinds of old books with blank fly leaves, when these materials ran out, he resorted to modern paper.
• He sold them to bookshops, auctions and pawnshops, usually at modest prices.
• Forged manuscripts from various historical people, such as Mary, Queen of Scots, Oliver Cromwell and Sir Walter Scott.
• Forged the signatures without tracing the originals.
• Created poems, autographs and historical letters.
• The exact amount of Smith's forgeries is unknown. They were widely sold in the British Isles and abroad and are still occasionally sold as real in the British Isles and the USA
How did he do it?
Made the documents appear old by dipping them in weak tea.
On June 26, 1893 Smith's trial begun,
not charged with forgery but selling the forgeries under false pretenses,
The jury convicted Smith but recommended leniency and he was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
Who was Alexander Howland Smith
Known as the "Antique Smith"
A Scottish document forger
Began to sell his forgeries in 1886 and continued for the next five years
Reason for forgery: To make $$$
How forgery was detected
Letters were dated wrongly, sometimes after the death of their supposed writer
Had been written on modern paper with new writing implements.