Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Literary Hoaxes
Here’s the forty-first installment of LiteratEye, a series found only on The Art of the Prank Blog, by W.J. Elvin III, editor and publisher of FIONA: Mysteries & Curiosities of Literary Fraud & Folly and the LitFraud blog.
LiteratEye #41 – Making a Killing in the Rare Book Business, Texas-Style
By W.J. Elvin III
November 27, 2009
Texans of the old-time cowboy mentality regard stunts like putting an unwary dude on the wildest bucking bronco they can find as just another darn good rip-snortin’ down-home prank.
And, in that vein, two high-rolling Texas book dealers in this story thought saddling the suckers with forged or stolen rarities was a real knee-slapper.
We’ll get to that but first a bit of background.
Forgery and theft are the two major crime concerns in the rare book business. It’s also a field where, as we shall see, one might just get away with murder.
While forgery is often encountered on the LiteratEye beat, theft also has elements of deception. When selling a stolen rare book the thief will predictably explain: “I found it in an attic.”
Book theft has long appealed to the pros because, for one thing, a small easily-concealed rare book may be worth thousands of dollars, and secondly, until recently book thefts were rarely treated as serious crimes. (more…)