Autograph letter signed : Padua, to an unnamed person of rank, 1607 Sept. 12.

Record ID: 
Accession number: 
MA 8613
Nicotra, Tobia, author.
1607 Sept. 12.
The Dannie and Hettie Heineman Collection. Gift of James Rose, 2014.
1 item (1 p.) ; 25.8 cm

Previously attributed to Galileo Galilei. In 2022, Nick Wilding determined that this letter is a forgery by the 20th-century Italian forger Tobia Nicotra. The evidence is the following: 1) the paper upon which the letter is written bears a watermark that can be dated to Bergamo in 1790. Other Nicotra forgeries were written on similar Italian paper dating to the late eighteenth century, including a document held by the University of Michigan containing a 1609 draft of a letter and a set of notes recording Galileo's telescopic observations of the moons of Jupiter from January 7-15, 1610, which was also identified by Dr. Wilding as a forgery in 2022; 2) Galileo never signed his correspondence "lettore delle Matematiche" (lecturer of Mathematics), nor did he ever start a letter with "Sicome" (because); 3) the letter closely matches the wording and content of a (now-lost) Galileo letter. Reproduced in facsimile in Isographie des hommes célèbres, ou Collection de fac-similé de lettres autographes et de signatures, Tome 1, A-H (Paris: Alexandre Mesnier, 1828-1830), this letter, which is dated August 24, 1607 and is apparently not a draft, was sent three weeks before the Morgan's letter. Nicotra may have copied the handwriting and content of the August letter when forging the September letter.
See collection files for transcription and translation.


Watermark: Letters "BMO" surmounted by a shield enclosing letters "AS."


Writing to the father of a prospective student of high rank and offering "honorable lodging" in his house, noting that for the past four years "the Most Illustrious Cavaliere Alessandro Montalbano" had been one of the students who lodged with him and would "finish his studies this very year." Signed "Galileo Galilei / Lecturer in Mathematics."

Purchased by Dannie Heineman at the Gribbel sale (Park-Bernet, 8 December 1947, lot 276); given by him to Marian Rose; given by her to James Rose; gift of James Rose in 2014 and added to for The Dannie and Hettie Heineman Collection in 2014.