Forged Dickens letters withdrawn from auction


“The script is wrong,” said Dr. Leon Litvak

Two letters purported to have been written by Charles Dickens in the 1850s have been withdrawn from auction in the UK after a leading academic labeled them as forgeries.

Dr Leon Litvak, an expert analyst of Dickens’ letters and manuscripts, told the Guardian: “The handwriting is wrong. The signature that always betrays. I have letters from the same period that will confirm that these are forgeries.”

The letters dated 29 March 1855 and 13 November 1858 were addressed to to Dickens’s beloved during his younger years, Maria Bednellwith whom she had also renewed contact with her husband, Henry Louis Winter.

Litvak, associate professor of Victorian studies at Queen’s University Belfast, has curated exhibitions of Dickens at major institutions and is consulted by auction houses about the authenticity of manuscripts sent to them.

He pointed out that forgeries “were done from time to time” and expressed surprise that the two letters would sell for approx. 800 British pounds. “A letter to Dickens’ beloved should sell for a much higher price,” he said.


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