forgers database

Among “People of the Book” it is customary to believe what is written in their scriptures. Today, this category of people could include not only followers of Abrahamic religions, but also those who are accustomed to believing a separate category of non-religious writings. As a rule, in such cases, the concept of “holiness” of scriptures is substituted for the concept of “academic authority,” but the principle itself remains the same. As a result, the perceptions of the past and present of the world around us for those who are accustomed to believing scriptures backed by academic authority are shaped by such secular books.

That said, many highly specialised academic specialists are often aware of and report on the abundant practice of deliberate forgery in their particular areas of expertise, but more often than not their focus does not extend beyond their specialisms. For example, the established art historian specialising in Germany has detailed the massive fabrication of German Renaissance artifacts, but at the same time has not even questioned artifacts from other regions and time periods. For example, the major authority in the field of Roman, Jewish and Christian numismatics, honestly wrote about the fact that only separately taken so-called “Paduan” fake coins find a place in almost all cabinets of collectors of antique coins, noting their high quality, but at the same time he did not even questioned the time period of origin of lower quality items. For example, the honorable comparativist and historian of European culture systematised the widespread cases of “editing the memory of nations,” the deliberate falsification of the cultural past (primarily literary heritage) in the process of creating national identities in Europe, but at the same time did not even question the ancient national history in other parts of the world.

By default, preferring not to believe everything that is written in holy religious or academic scriptures, and proceeding from the fact that perhaps almost everything written in them is a deliberate forgery, for myself i decided to try to systematise the data on forgeries and started the project of the database of forgers: forgers of almost all fields of human activity and of all known times.

So far, i’m little by little filling the database with only the persons of generally recognised forgers. Despite the fact that short biographical articles about these individuals often read like fascinating adventurous fiction, in fact, so far it is, with few exceptions, a database of “losers and non-professionals” of their work, that is, those who have been exposed. In the future i plan to begin to fill up the database with alleged falsifiers, having collected enough data on connections with separate persons and organisations of already exposed falsifiers.

Thus, for example, in specialised articles about the Spanish Forger (the name given to an unknown person who created a large number of forgeries of medieval miniatures) it was mentioned that the forged miniatures in the British Museum came through the dealer Wilfred Leonardovich Voynich. At the same time, this fact is not mentioned in the vast majority of biographies of Voynich himself, in which he appears only as a London antiquarian of Polish origin, the discoverer of the famous Voynich Manuscript. At the same time, some researchers have already questioned the authenticity of the provenance of the famous manuscript before its discovery by Voynich, suggesting its fabrication, but most academic researchers still recognsie its authenticity, puzzling over its mystery. The fact that the antiquary sold authentically identified forgeries obviously casts doubt on his other finds, including the famous manuscript.

Also in the future, i plan to start including in the database separate articles about generally recognised forgeries, the authors of which have not yet been identified. Perhaps, in time, filling the database through the field of related persons and organisations will allow to assume their authors through the discovered connections.

At the moment, the database shows a significant predominance of British and Italian forgers (including mention of institutions for their special training, such as the school of forgers in Siena or the academy of forgers that operated in Catania and Acireale), which, in my opinion, does not indicate a low level of quality of forgeries or a special frankness of researchers from these countries compared to representatives of other countries, but that the total number of forgers in these two countries is noticeably higher than in other countries. After all, the generally recognised forgers are only a small part of the total set of forgers.

A record of a forger in the database currently consists of the following fields: name, article, links, also known as, activity years, area of activity, locations, related regions, related persons and organisations, authenticity of fakes supported by, exposed by, attributed authors, notable forgeries, kept in, images. The article is usually quotations from material in the attached links, from which the rest of the fields are populated. This is a project i started for myself, but i would appreciate additions, corrections and revisions from anyone who decides to participate. The project is completely open and therefore anyone who is interested can participate.

The database is available in two languages: Russian and English. At the moment it takes only about 1 megabyte and is stored in a table in CSV format. To display it, i have written a simple javascript web application, the capabilities of which i plan to expand over time. Adding and editing records in the database is implemented through cgi bash-script, with the help of which the added or edited information is saved in a separate file on the server, that is, replenishment of the general database is done manually, with my editing of the added information (and, if necessary, translation). The web application source code and database are available in the repository at, and the collection of images on the page at

You can check out the forger database of the current version at this link:

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