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  • David Orsam
    started a topic Acquiring A Victorian Diary

    Acquiring A Victorian Diary

    I have tracked down the advertisement placed on behalf of Mike Barrett for an unused or partly used diary dating from 1880-1890 which had to have a minimum of 20 blank pages.

    It was placed by Martin E. Earl in Bookdealer, the trade weekly for books wanted and for sale, issue No. 1044, dated 19th March 1992. An image of the advertisement is reproduced below.

    The request for this diary appears in a long advert - in the BOOKS WANTED section - with a further (by my count) 86 requests by Earl for various books (one can see a couple more in the below image) in a total of (by my count) 104 lines. The way it worked was that bookdealers were given a special rate of 22.5p per line. Given that the ad for the diary was over two lines, it would have cost Martin Earl only 45p to place the ad for the diary, which I assume was included in his margin when he sold the 1891 diary to Barrett.

    On that basis, it seems likely that Mike Barrett never even knew of the existence of this advertisement (and was probably never asked to pay for it). It was simply a cheap way that a bookfinding company like Earl's would find obscure books on behalf of its clients.

    In 1992, Martin E. Earl was based in Oxford. His address and two telephone numbers were provided at the top of the advertisement. The company trading as Martin E. Earl in 1992 appears to have become H.P. Bookfinders in 1995.

    According to the Casebook transcript, Mike Barrett in his affidavit of 5 January 1995 said that his wife used "a firm in the 1986 Writters (sic) Year Book" to find the diary (although he could not remember their name). By this he must have meant The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 1986 (which is certainly how Shirley Harrison transcribes it in her book).

    However, The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 1986 does not include entries for any bookfinding companies (so that there is no entry for Martin E. Earl or, obviously, H.P. Bookfinders). Consequently, Martin E. Earl's details were not found by either of the Barretts in there. However the contact details of Rupert Crew Limited (of which Doreen Montgomery was a director) and also of Pan Books, which Barrett is supposed to have contacted before contacting Doreen, are both to be found in the Yearbook. Perhaps Barrett got confused when he came to write his affidavit.

    We can be certain that either Mike or Anne DID locate and contact Martin E. Earl in March 1992 so that the error with recalling how he (or she) did so would appear to be a good example of an innocent mistake of recollection.

    Finally, I can confirm that in March 1992 Outhwaite & Litherland held auctions once a week, every Tuesday, so that the first auction held after Barrett would have received the 1891 diary would have been on Tuesday, 31 March 1992. The auction (like other auctions in that month), held at Kingsway Galleries, Fontenoy Street, Liverpool, was described in antique magazines as being for "Victorian, Edwardian & modern furniture and effects". It started at 10.30am. Had Barrett taken 11 days to forge the diary as he claims in his affidavit and, had he started work on 31 March, the writing would have been finished on 10 April. He went to see Doreen in London on 13 April.
    Attached Files

  • David Orsam
    replied
    I've already explained, on 10th May, in #4654 of the Incontrovertible thread, why Koppenhaver's extract doesn't relate to the Diary ink but for those who can't concentrate, here it is again in all its glory:

    REPEAT POST

    From RJ's source, namely a 2002 book by Katherine Koppenhaver, entitled "Attorney's Guide to Document Examination" we read this (my bold):

    "In addition to the first manufacturing date of ink, forensic chemists have devised a method of testing ballpoint ink samples to give a relative date of the writing. Ink dating can only determine the approximate date a message was penned on paper. According to Erich Speckin, an ink chemist with Speckin Laboratories in a lecture to the National Association of Document Examiners, "In the field of forensic chemistry advances in technology have made it possible to date ink within six months or less.

    Ink chemists determine the age of ink by the rate of extraction from the paper and the percent of extraction. They measure how fast the ink can be chemically removed from the paper and how easily it is removed. Ink dries chemically in approximately three and one-half years according to Erich Speckin. By using the rate of extraction, ink chemists can determine the age of the application of the ink to within six months. After the ink has completely dried, the chemist can only state that the ink is over three and one-half years old."

    So Koppenhaver was discussing, in 2002, in a book written for American attorneys (thus obviously relating only to the dating of modern documents) a technique for the dating of documents written in ballpoint ink using a method based on recent advances in technology.

    The Speckin Forensic Ink Dating Technique(s) can actually be viewed here in this 1998 video, involving a punch, a backer, a vial, a syringe and/or an oven, a plate, a densitometer and a computer and it bears no relation to the type of simple solubility test that would have been conducted by Dr Baxendale:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKUsdgPOzkw

    Let's move along, nothing to see here.

    No own goals…

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  • David Orsam
    replied
    The clue in the word "scrapbook" is the word scrap! A scrapbook is called a "scrapbook" which is why it's not called a book. If I go into a shop wanting a scrapbook what am I going to be offered if I simply ask for a book?

    Did Eddie say he had found a scrapbook? Unless that is the evidence, he appears to have been telling his colleague that he found a book, just like Vinny Dring said he found two old books in the same premises.

    Leave a comment:


  • David Orsam
    replied
    Diary Defender Sleight of Hand number 278:

    Let's remind ourselves of what was said in #1684. It was this:

    "Still no explanation from David, for why - within 24 hours of Mike's simple but effective reply - he had found out where Eddie lived [and there's no evidence that Feldman knew the address or gave it to Mike - why would he?] and chosen to complicate things himself by going round there to introduce himself as the diary's owner, accuse Eddie of lying and saying he would never do a deal [with Paul Dodd]."

    Now it's all changed. Now it's this:

    "When Feldman later told Mike that an electrician was prepared to confirm he took the diary from the house, his suspicions would have been confirmed and that's when he went round to have it out with Eddie, at his girlfriend's Fountains Road address."

    So, originally, he went there specifically to accuse Eddie of lying. Now he went there to "have it out" with him.. Tomorrow it could be something else.

    On today's account, there is no mention of Mike accusing Eddie of lying. In fact, on the new account he's not going to do that because his suspicions have been confirmed and he now believes that Eddie did find the Diary in Battlecrease.

    And I reproduce my original post back at #1695:

    "We are told (again) that Mike threatened Eddie with solicitors although no evidence has ever been produced of this. Perhaps the world’s leading expert on the subject was in Eddie’s house at the time. What Feldman said about the meeting was this: “Within twenty-four hours Mike Barrett had knocked on the door of the said electrician; he accused him of lying and told him he would never do a deal.” That’s it. Where do the solicitors come from?"

    Answer cometh there not.

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  • David Orsam
    replied
    Diary Defender Sleight of Hand number 277:

    Apparently, nobody suggested that Eddie told Mike what to do with the diary. Except that it was suggested that Eddie told Mike to "do something" with it. Well that is telling him what to do with it!

    And one day Mike asks Eddie for £25 for the Diary, another day they come to some kind of complicated licensing or profit share deal, but today the Diary is handed over for free with a vague promise of a percentage if Mike makes £1 million. The quote: "Just don't forget your mates when you make your first million, Mike, and remember, you didn't get it from me, right?" is the work of a writer of fiction based on no evidence whatseover. I didn't realise this was a thread for budding writers of fairy tales.

    Leave a comment:


  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
    Arguing about what Melvin Harris might or might not have said, however, is pointless because he is not the Lord Almighty.
    Never a truer word...

    If a Diary Defender thinks that it is a simple matter for a document examiner to establish on Tuesday that a forged document had been written on Monday, then let that evidence be quoted from an expert in the field. And we can find out how it is done.

    The huge mistake which I know the Diary Defenders make in their thinking is that they assume that a very recent forgery would be easy for a document examiner to expose so that they can say "This was written yesterday" or "This was written last week". But that's simply not the case. All they can test for is whether the ink is soluble or not and, if so, how soluble. Trying to date it is a matter of judgment but the best they can usually say is within the last few years.
    Here we go again:

    Originally Posted by rjpalmer
    "Ink chemists determine the age of ink by the rate of extraction from the paper and the percentage of extraction. They measure how fast the ink can be chemically removed from the paper and how easily it is remove. Ink dries chemically in approximately three and one-half years according to Erich Speckin. By using the rate of extraction, ink chemists can determine the age of the application of the ink within six months. After the ink has completely dried, the chemist can only state that the ink is over three and one-half years old."--Attorney's Guide to Document Examination by Katerine Koppenhaver (2002)
    Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
    Equally those Diary Defenders seem think it would be so much easier for me to argue in support of a forgery if the Diary had been written in 1990. It would not. An expert wouldn't be able to tell if it was written in April 1992 or April 1990. The technology just doesn't exist to do so, or rather did not exist in 1992 (because I have no idea what can be done today). To repeat, all they could do in 1992 is see whether an ink was soluble or not and how quickly the ink dissolved. As Baxendale told Harris:

    "The pigments dissolved in distilled-water within seconds”.

    And that's it!
    Did things change that much between 1992 and 2002, when Koppenhaver published the Attorney's Guide to Document Examination?

    Baxendale is not the Lord Almighty either, but readers would be forgiven for assuming that's exactly how David sees him.

    Love,

    Caz
    X

    Leave a comment:


  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
    I have no knowledge of Eddie referring to the diary as a book and no evidence has been provided of this. But it is unlikely for a journal or diary to have been described as a book by anyone who wants to try and convey information to someone else because the normal meaning of that is a printed book.
    But this isn't 'a journal or a diary'. To anyone coming across it, it's an old scrap book with writing in it and a single date right at the end. A scrap book [there's a clue here] is just as much a book as a printed book.

    What information do you imagine Eddie would have been trying to convey? He was denying finding anything in the house, but when referring to the physical diary he called it "the book", which is exactly what it would have looked like to anyone seeing the scrap book for the first time, not knowing what might be in it.

    Love,

    Caz
    X

    Leave a comment:


  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
    David is not assuming that Eddie would have told Mike early on exactly how and where he'd got the diary. If Mike had truly had a "light bulb" moment in early 1993 he had already worked out that Eddie had found the diary in Battlecrease.
    Not necessarily, David. He'd have had his suspicions, but if Eddie had told him nothing, he'd still have had to establish if his mate had ever actually worked in Paul Dodd's house. When Feldman later told Mike that an electrician was prepared to confirm he took the diary from the house, his suspicions would have been confirmed and that's when he went round to have it out with Eddie, at his girlfriend's Fountains Road address.

    Love,

    Caz
    X

    Leave a comment:


  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
    Encouraging someone to "do something" with the Diary is the type of thing a friend would say when handing it over free of charge. It's not the type of thing said by someone trying to pass off a stolen item for cash. In that scenario the seller doesn't care what the buyer does with it, he just wants the money. So it would be very odd and unnatural for Eddie to have told his buyer what to do with the Diary.

    In any case, there is not one jot of evidence from anyone in the entire world that Mike Barrett was a "drinking pal" of Eddie Lyons, something which seems to be a diary defender fantasy.
    You wish.

    Nobody suggested Eddie told Mike what to do with the diary. I expect Mike gave him some old chat about his "connections" and Eddie was happy enough to let him take the old book off his hands and do something with it, saving himself the job. "Just don't forget your mates when you make your first million, Mike, and remember, you didn't get it from me, right?"

    Love,

    Caz
    X

    Leave a comment:


  • David Orsam
    replied
    So the truth is finally revealed that Melvin Harris's supposed claims about ink dating cannot be supported because only a summary of a letter he supposedly once wrote to Paul Feldman is available. This is ironic coming from someone who stresses the importance of quoting in full and in context. How do we even know the summary is accurate?

    On the other hand, I have posted a quote from Melvin Harris in which he says, "I have to repeat that there is no known testing method that will date ink-on-paper."

    I don't know why anyone thinks I have a full set of Melvin Harris's correspondence. I do not. I have never seen a letter written by him to Paul Feldman dated 23 July 1993.

    Arguing about what Melvin Harris might or might not have said, however, is pointless because he is not the Lord Almighty. If a Diary Defender thinks that it is a simple matter for a document examiner to establish on Tuesday that a forged document had been written on Monday, then let that evidence be quoted from an expert in the field. And we can find out how it is done.

    The huge mistake which I know the Diary Defenders make in their thinking is that they assume that a very recent forgery would be easy for a document examiner to expose so that they can say "This was written yesterday" or "This was written last week". But that's simply not the case. All they can test for is whether the ink is soluble or not and, if so, how soluble. Trying to date it is a matter of judgment but the best they can usually say is within the last few years.

    Equally those Diary Defenders seem think it would be so much easier for me to argue in support of a forgery if the Diary had been written in 1990. It would not. An expert wouldn't be able to tell if it was written in April 1992 or April 1990. The technology just doesn't exist to do so, or rather did not exist in 1992 (because I have no idea what can be done today). To repeat, all they could do in 1992 is see whether an ink was soluble or not and how quickly the ink dissolved. As Baxendale told Harris:

    "The pigments dissolved in distilled-water within seconds”.

    And that's it!

    Leave a comment:


  • David Orsam
    replied
    I really don't know if Eddie Lyons is steadfastly denying anything, not least because James Johnston is refusing to provide the full transcripts of his interviews with Eddie. If Eddie did find something which was not the Diary he might be refusing to admit to having found it for the exact same reasons that we are being told he refuses to admit to finding the Diary, namely that he sold it illegally. But the important word is "if". It is uncertain whether he did actually find anything.

    I have no knowledge of Eddie referring to the diary as a book and no evidence has been provided of this. But it is unlikely for a journal or diary to have been described as a book by anyone who wants to try and convey information to someone else because the normal meaning of that is a printed book.

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  • David Orsam
    replied
    David is not assuming that Eddie would have told Mike early on exactly how and where he'd got the diary. If Mike had truly had a "light bulb" moment in early 1993 he had already worked out that Eddie had found the diary in Battlecrease. So he's not going to go round to Eddie's house and accuse him of lying about that is he? If he told Feldman that's what he had done he must have been lying to Feldman.

    But if Mike knew the Diary was a forgery then he might well have accused Eddie of lying, saying he would never do a deal, exactly as he told Feldman.

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  • David Orsam
    replied
    Encouraging someone to "do something" with the Diary is the type of thing a friend would say when handing it over free of charge. It's not the type of thing said by someone trying to pass off a stolen item for cash. In that scenario the seller doesn't care what the buyer does with it, he just wants the money. So it would be very odd and unnatural for Eddie to have told his buyer what to do with the Diary.

    In any case, there is not one jot of evidence from anyone in the entire world that Mike Barrett was a "drinking pal" of Eddie Lyons, something which seems to be a diary defender fantasy.

    Leave a comment:


  • David Orsam
    replied
    Those who have been paying attention will know that I have already sorted out the "mess" in Mike's affidavit. For example, he says he purchased a word processor from Dixons in 1985 but we now know it was in 1986 . He says that Tony Devereux died in late May early June 1990 when it was actually over a year later. He says that he decided in "November 1993" to claim that the diary was a forgery when this did not happen until the following year.

    So there can be no doubt whatsoever that the chronology of Mike's affidavit is wrong and needs to be adjusted with known facts. Anyone who says otherwise and sticks rigidly to the dates in the affidavit is being perversely stubborn.

    One known fact is that Mike bought a little red Victorian diary in March 1992, not in 1990 or 1991 as one might think from reading his affidavit. When we adjust the chronology to take that into account then we can well understand why he says it took 11 days to write the diary because this fits perfectly with the time between a likely acquisition of the scrapbook and the very first time the Diary was seen by anyone outside of the Barrett family.

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  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
    Earlier in this thread, we were told by the World's Leading Expert on Melvin Harris what Harris's belief about the dating of documents was.

    In #1577 on 5 April it was said:

    "I wonder what Melvin would have made of the theory that the guardbook was only acquired at the end of March 1992 and the diary written into it and completed just a day or two before being shown to the British Museum's curator of 19th century manuscripts and to a specialist on 19th century literature? I think he might have laughed out loud if he'd had the capacity. His own argument was that writing using a Victorian style gallotannic ink couldn't be dated unless it was examined within a year of the ink drying, or at the outside six months, if certain conditions had allowed for it to have stabilised that quickly. He was presumably wrong about this too, and the scribe either knew it or took a complete gamble that they wouldn't come 'unstuck'. Even Baxendale wasn't fool enough to suggest the writing was less than a year old when he examined it, never mind just a couple of months."

    No actual quote of Harris was provided and presumably the Expert was relying on memory as to what Harris said. The point was repeated a week later, on 13 April, in #1652 when it was said:

    "If it's 'literally impossible' to say when ink met paper, why did Melvin say it was possible, within six months or a year of the ink drying and stabilising?"

    Without seeing the quote from Harris I obviously couldn't answer that but I have since found two actual written quotes by Harris about dating documents.

    Here is the first:

    "The truth is that once an iron-gall ink has matured on the paper for eighteen months or so, no one, on this planet, is able to date that ink by visual examination."

    So that refers only to dating by visual examination.

    Then we have the second:

    "I have to repeat that there is no known testing method that will date ink-on-paper. You can date the RELATIVE ages of ink samples applied to one sheet, and this is of use in detecting additions, but after a very short period (this can be as low as months in fact) you can not give a year for any samples."

    That is what he actually said. I believe it is consistent with what I have always said.
    I wasn't relying on memory for what Melvin wrote, but on my time line of events, which includes a summary of the letter he wrote to Paul Feldman dated 23rd July 1993. No doubt David will by now have his own copy, assuming Melvin kept copies of all his diary correspondence, sent and received, so he should be able to see exactly what he told Feldman about the dating of manuscripts written in a Victorian-style gallotannic ink, and compare it with what I wrote above.

    So basically, Melvin thought it could be impossible to give a year for any samples in as little as six months from the date they were written, which implies that the year 1992 could have been given if the writing had been any less than six months old when tested by anyone competent to do so, and very possibly if it was under a year old.

    And of course, we had this from our very own rj, by way of support:

    Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
    "Ink chemists determine the age of ink by the rate of extraction from the paper and the percentage of extraction. They measure how fast the ink can be chemically removed from the paper and how easily it is remove. Ink dries chemically in approximately three and one-half years according to Erich Speckin. By using the rate of extraction, ink chemists can determine the age of the application of the ink within six months. After the ink has completely dried, the chemist can only state that the ink is over three and one-half years old."--Attorney's Guide to Document Examination by Katerine Koppenhaver (2002)

    This is our old friend, the 'solubility' test that was conducted by Dr. Baxendale in 1992. The ink 'extracted' from the paper very quickly, leading to the conclusion that it had been very recently applied.
    Nobody apart from David, to my knowledge, has ever suggested or argued, never mind demonstrated that a sample written in a Victorian-style gallotannic ink, as recently as the first two weeks of April 1992, would have been impossible for anyone testing it at any time from June 1992 onwards, to distinguish from a sample written, for example, two or three years previously.

    It would have been sooo much easier for David if he wasn't stuck with his 11 day creation between the last day of March and the 12th day of April 1992, and all because of that damned red diary. I have little doubt that Mike didn't think through the consequences of including this in his affidavit as evidence of a forgery supposedly dreamed up and executed in early 1990, and Alan Gray probably had no idea it was purchased two years too late to have been of any use if the rest was true. I suspect they were working on the basis that any claim to have forged the diary much earlier, or much more recently than 1990 would be less credible, given the expert opinions. Early 1990 was nicely within 2 or 3 years, as suggested by Dr Baxendale, but not so recent that he should have been able to report that it was written within the previous 2 or 3 months!

    I note that nobody wants to touch the Crashaw Connection with a barge pole and I completely understand.

    Love,

    Caz
    X

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