Description[Benjamin Franklin] Robert Spring Forgery of a Benjamin Franklin Autograph Letter Signed "B Franklin", one page, 7" x 9.5". Passy, April 22, 1779, to Mr. Bradford. In this forgery, "Franklin" apologizes to Mr. Bradford that "the gravel" (kidney stones) has prevented him from meeting King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette. This forged letter (or one exactly like it) was so well-done that it was authenticated in 1865 by William B. Sprague, an early philographer of early American statesmen, who wrote that he had "no doubt of its genuineness."
Robert Spring forged letters by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and other early American statesmen, and was described by Charles Hamilton as being very successful. Often spending hours practicing with a goose quill, Spring mixed his own special ink and employed such tricks as applying coffee grounds to stain his productions to give an ancient look. So successful was he that one of his Washington forgeries was displayed in Independence Hall for some time. Before his death in 1876, Spring was arrested and subsequently vowed to reform. On laid paper watermarked with fleur-de-lis. Usual folds. One hole effaces the "ir" in "their"; fine condition.
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