Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2004 Issue

So you want to be a Wise guy

Thomas J. Wise in 1905, at the peak of his prestige.


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.

Keyword:
Searched in: Author Title Show me all records

Rare Book Monthly

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    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
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    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
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    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
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    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [RUTH, George Herman “Babe” (1895-1948)]. Signed photograph. Circa 1930s. 191 x 248 mm. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HARRISON, Benjamin. Document signed (“Benj Harrison”) as governor of Virginia, certifying the service of Daniel Cumbo, a Black Revolutionary soldier. $6,000 to $9,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: ONE OF THE FIRST PRINTED ANNOUNCEMENTS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
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    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: FIRST PRINTING OF LINCOLN’S IMMORTAL GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HIGHLY IMPORTANT MORMON ARCHIVE. ALLEY, George. Archive of 23 Autograph Letters Signed by Mormon Convert George Alley to His Brother Joseph Alley. $10,000 to $20,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [AVIATION]. [ARMSTRONG, Neil A.] Aviation Hall of Fame Gold Medal MS64 NGC, Awarded to Neil Armstrong in 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
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    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: NEWLY DISCOVERED FIRST PRINTING OF "WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE... " FROM THE ONLY NEWSPAPER ACTUALLY ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN LINCOLN’S SECOND INAUGURAL PROCESSION. $4,000 to $8,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: THE MOST IMPORTANT GEORGE WASHINGTON DOCUMENT IN PRIVATE HANDS; GEORGE WASHINGTON’S COMMISSION AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF, 1775, ONE OF ONLY TWO ORIGINALS. $150,000 to $250,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: A VERY RARE ACCOUNT OF BLACKBEARD’S DEATH AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PIRATE ITEMS EXTANT. $3,000 to $5,000.
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    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: EDISON, Thomas. Patent for Edison’s Improvements on the Electric-Light, No. 219,628. [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent Office], 16 September 1879. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [VIETNAM WAR]. The original pen used by Secretary of State William P. Rogers to sign the Vietnam Peace Agreement, Paris, 27 January 1973. $10,000 to $15,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: SONS OF LIBERTY FOUNDER COLONEL BARRÉ ANNOTATED TITLE-PAGE, “WHICH OUGHT TO ROUSE UP BRITISH ATTENTION”. $4,000 to $6,000.

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