The Zamorano Club is Southern California’s oldest organization of bibliophiles and manuscript collectors. Founded in 1928, it sponsors lectures and publications on bookish topics. Most noteworthy among the latter is the Zamorano 80 (1945)—a member-selected and -written catalogue of the most significant books in California history—recently complemented by Zamorano Select. The Club was named in honor of Agustín V. Zamorano (1798-1842), a provisional governor of Alta California and the state’s first printer.
Annual Zamorano Lecture
Detecting Contemporary Book Forgery
Tuesday 14 January 2014
Huntington Library (Ahmanson Classroom, Botanical Center)
In 2005 a spectacular book appeared on the market: a copy of Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius (1610) in which the author announced the existence of the moons of Jupiter, craters on the Earth’s moon, and other astronomical discoveries that would revolutionize our view of the universe and our place in it. This copy was autographed by Galileo, and in place of the text engravings were original drawings, possibly by the author. Despite some doubts about its authenticity, it was bought by a prominent New York book dealer and its value was estimated at over $10 million. An international panel of experts put it through a battery of tests and published two volumes of scholarly articles supporting the contention that it was a “proof copy” of this landmark publication. Two years ago, however, Nick Wilding, a professor at Georgia State University, announced that the entire book was a forgery—signature, drawings, even the paper it was printed on. Without ever seeing the book itself, he used photographs to demonstrate that the book had to be of recent manufacture. Furthermore, over a dozen rare scientific books recently sold are also turning out to be fakes. The scheme was traced back to Marino Massimo De Caro, an Italian library director currently serving a prison sentence for making irregular deacquisitions. At the Zamorano Lecture, Dr. Wilding will describe the “low-tech” bibliographical methods and lines of reasoning he used to expose the fakes.
The event is free but space is limited and reservations are required. Tickets will be available from around 20 December. Go to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/ and search “Zamorano”. If you have any question, please contact Juan Gomez at the Huntington.