Stolen Columbus Letter Returned to Vatican

I missed this story last year:


Columbus’ letter to the royal couple was translated into Latin and circulated widely; 80 of these copies are known to exist today. The Vatican’s document was printed in Rome in 1493 and, centuries later, bequeathed to the Apostolic Library by the collector Giovanni Francesco De Rossi. The letter had been bound with blank papers to make it appear thicker.

In 2011, United States Homeland Security Investigations received a tip from a rare book and manuscript expert who had seen the Vatican’s copy and suspected it was a forgery. Over the course of a years-long investigation, American officials were able to trace the original letter to a collector in Atlanta, who had purchased the document “in good faith” from a New York dealer in 2004, according to the United States Department of Justice.

The collector, Robert David Parsons, had paid a $875,000 for the letter. In 2017, an expert compared Parsons’ document to the one in the Vatican and determined that only Parsons’ was authentic; the other was a very skillfully executed fake.

Go here to read the rest.  The faking of antiquities is a big business.  Modern technology gives us more tools to detect fakes, but also gives con artists the ability to create more convincing fakes.

Published in: on October 15, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Stolen Columbus Letter Returned to Vatican  
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