So you want to be a Wise guy
What Mr. Wise and Mr. Foreman left behind has been carefully studied and the rather limited number of things they forged and, in other cases legitimately issued, now comprise a universe of forgeries and collateral material that can be deemed complete at about 500 or so items. For the collector of this material the emphasis becomes acquisition, a tremendous simplification over the "identification" model that requires collectors to either do substantial work personally or place great confidence professionally in a dealer for advice.
This means that a collector can focus on obtaining the material rather than identifying it, the ongoing curse of many book collectors and collections. In other words, we are today left, in the material of Thomas J. Wise, with an almost perfect collecting opportunity so long as the collector is not troubled with the fact that many of the essential items are forgeries. They are in fact real forgeries and have become rare in their own right.
Attached to this article is a simple search screen for a data source we recently added to the Americana Exchange Database (AED). It is one of Scribner's rarer catalogues: No. 131 published in 1945, "Nineteenth Century Pamphlets with an Appendix of Wiseiana" a catalogue of "an almost complete set of the late Thomas J. Wise's forgeries." This is a small catalogue, 74 items described in 30 pages. The default is "Show me all the records." To see them simply select SUBMIT. To search for a specific term or phrase in the author or title field first select the field and then enter a search term.
For those who pursue this material, this catalogue is another item to find. For those who enter these waters for the first time, I'll send you on with a quote from the great book collector Mae West: "I used to be Snow White but I drifted." The same can be said for Thomas Wise. If you go down this road stay on track.