Radio carbondating a scam

Essentially, the trick of being a great con artist is to find something in which people want to believe, and then give it to them, preferably at the highest possible price.

Perhaps the greatest example is the Shroud of Turin which, despite carbondating evidence that it was constructed in the 13th or 14th centuries, still has its adherents.

Ireland is largely forgotten now, but he is notable because he was the only schoolboy ever to successfully forge an entire Shakespeare play and have it performed on a London stage.

Ireland, born in 1777, was influenced by the literary forgers Chatterton and Macpherson and started out by forging the Bard's signature on a lease using blank sheets of paper taken from folios and quartos of the Elizabethan period and a special ink which had been treated to simulate age.

The diaries were revealed to be fakes almost immediately and Kujau was jailed for four years. Kujau's deception was lavish and ambitious, rivalled only by that of William Henry Ireland.Stern took the bait, and bit hard: a fee of DM 85,000 (about £34,000) was agreed for each diary volume.There were - or would be, as soon as Kujau could find the time to write them - 58 volumes.A Modigliani self-portrait, which de Hory ran up in one hour during the 1950s, sold for 0 to the Dalzell Hatfield Gallery.One month later, a Chicago art collector named James Alsdorf paid almost ,000 for it.

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The resulting book, Nat Tate, American Artist, is essentially a single extended joke at the expense of art critics, a hoax which is simultaneously both literary and artistic.

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