The Fortsas Biblioahoax. Revised and Newly Annotated by the author with Bibliographical Notes and Comments.

Evanston, Illinois: The Press of Ward Schori, 1986. A limited edition of 378 copies. In 1941, an edition of 128 copies was printed for members of the Carteret Book Club of Newark; the second printing was 200 copies for a total of 328. The text is set in eleven point Fairfield with Centaur for the title page. The paper is neutral pH white 80-pound Brockway Text. Title page printed in brown and black, signatures hand sewn. The three-part case was designed and hot stamped in gold by well-known Chicago fine binder John LaRiviere. Small stain on lower front cover. Pages deckled-edged. Prospectus laid in. A fine copy. Tan cloth over brown boards stamped in gilt. Octavo. [6], 88, [+1, colophon]. Item #16169

The Fortsas Hoax was an incident that occurred in Binche, Belgium, in 1840. Booksellers, librarians, and collectors of rare books throughout Europe received a catalogue describing a collection of rare books to be auctioned. According to the message, "Jean Nepomucene Auguste Pichauld, Comte de Fortsas", had been a collector of unique books — books of which only one copy was known to exist. The auction was to be held on August 10. On the appointed date, numerous collectors and intellectuals gathered in Binche. They learned, however, that the offices of the notary where the auction was to take place did not exist — nor did the street upon which the offices were supposedly located. Notices which had been posted around Binche claimed that there would be no auction after all, because the town's public library had acquired the books; however, those attempting to visit the library to view the collection discovered that Binche possessed no public library. Later it was discovered that there had never been a Comte de Fortsas. It was eventually revealed that the hoax had been planned and carried out by retired military officer Renier Hubert Ghislain Chalon, who enjoyed playing elaborate pranks on intellectuals. Ironically, the original catalogue of fictitious unique books Chalon had sent to his victims has itself become a sought-after collectors' item. It has since been reprinted several times.

Price: $100.00

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