Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Every time you say you don't believe in fairies...
I found this stage-coach flyer from 1706 yesterday, sitting in an ancient frame and perched high up on the shelf of a shop.
I took it down and looked at it through the magnifying glass which I always carry with me, and saw no obviously modern print tell-tales, so became mildly excited.
On the wood panel at the back of the dirty old frame, there was a 19th century book-seller's label saying, 'Melville Fletcher & Son, St. Andrews NB.' I began to think that Mr Bodingfold had travelled further North than York, ending up in Scotland, but then I wondered what the letters 'NB' stood for.
An internet search said that it was New Brunswick. Maybe Mr Bodingfold had gone even further and ended up in Canada? The plot really thickened.
I bought it for a reasonable amount of money, and when I took it home I looked at it a little closer through the glass in the frame. I was drinking a bit of red wine at the time. There was a slightly iridescent sheen on the surface of the paper, and I became a bit more doubtful.
This morning - in the light of day - I took it out of the frame, then took a few photos through my electronic microscope.
There were obviously no print impressions, or indeed any sign of it having been reproduced using relatively modern photocopying machinery. It began to look as if someone had photographed the original with an old-fashioned camera, then mounted it onto a bit of paper.
So I typed some relevant words into a search and found this:
The original appears to be in the Science Museum, London, because they claim copyright of the image.
I now think that mine is a Victorian photograph and, as such, may still be worth the sort of money I paid for it, but not what it would have been if over 300 years old...
Moral: Don't let your excitement and optimism get in the way of hard, logical deduction. You would think after a lifetime of Sherlock Holmes I would have learned this lesson by now, but obviously not.
I sat at the kitchen table and remembered a time when I was about 12 and bought a cow leg-bone in The Lanes in Brighton because the bastard told me it was from a dinosaur. I didn't want to believe it even when my aunt and father laughed at me for being so gullible, and I kept it for years afterwards, eventually swapping it for some other trifle.
I haven't progressed much in the intervening years.