A Spanish company has bought the rights to make 898 official replicas of the Voynich manuscript. Another unofficial replica already exists – mine.

The Voynich manuscript is a single-item. Nobody except the Beinecke Library in New Haven, Connecticut, can call himself the owner of this outstanding book.


The Siloé Voynich replica

However, now that Spanish publisher Siloé has purchased the rights to produce official Voynich manuscript copies, there will be at least people who can call themselves Voynich replica owners. Check here (English) or here (German) for details. Thanks to Dr. Ralf Bülow, Prof. Gerhard Strasser, Thorsten Voß and Uwe Loock for pointing out this story to me.


Siloé, which specialises in making facsimiles of old manuscripts, has permission to produce 898 Voynich replicas. The company located in the city of Burgos is obliged to work very accurately. Every stain, hole and sewn-up tear in the original parchment will be reproduced. It goes without saying that such a sophisticated workmanship has its price. According to the media reports linked above, Siloé plans to sell the replicas for €7,000 to €8,000 apiece. Nearly 300 people have already put in pre-orders.

The English edition of newspaper El País quotes Siloé’s Juan José García, saying: “We first heard about the Voynich Manuscript in 2005 and immediately knew we wanted to copy it. What really excited us about it was that it is one of the most requested books in the world for exhibitions, so it’s much simpler for an institution like the Beinecke Library, rather than having to loan the codex out all the time, to be able to say that there is an exact replica that a Spanish publisher has printed that you can use. This was a good argument for persuading them to give us the project.”


My unofficial Voynich replica

The concept of a Voynich manuscript replica is far from new. I had this idea already a few years ago, when I was looking for an exciting crypto exhibit, and I realized that to tinker a Voynich replica was much cheaper than to buy an Enigma. I started to work on such a replica in 2010.

As a first step, I printed all the manuscript pages (they are available online) with a color laser printer.


Next, I cut all the pages to the right size and dunked them into cold coffee for making them look old:


These are the dried pages filed in a folder:


This is how the replica looked after a provisional binding:


After having it bound by a professional book binder, my Voynich replica looked even more genuine than the original:


Here’s a short video about my replica titled “My Voynich Manuscript:

My Voynich replica has had several TV appearances. I used it for many presentations, Science Slams and Photo shootings.


My Voynich manuscript replica is certainly not the most professional one but it does its job. When I display it, it usually attracts more attention than a genuine Enigma, although it cost me only 0.1 percent of the price.

Further reading: An extraordinary encrypted book: George Orwell’s “1984” enciphered in color

Kommentare (27)

  1. #1 Klaus Schmeh
    27. August 2016

    Mark Romo via Facebook:

    It blows my mind, not only that someone won the rights to that thing, but that someone WANTED the rights to it.

  2. #2 Thomas
    27. August 2016

    Never thought of coffee for that purpose!

    Off topic: A (new?) attempt to solve the Voynich manuscript:

  3. #3 Klaus Schmeh
    27. August 2016

    Bart Wenmeckers via Facebook:

    I can see people wanting to buy them but apart from access how’s the licensing work? I assume its uuet the furrent own getting paid to provide access and a limit agreed as to not de value the original. It sounds pretty amazing how much detail will be reproduced.

  4. #4 Klaus Schmeh
    27. August 2016

    I have already looked at this solution proposal. This was my comment:

    If this treatise is correct the author has made two sensational findings at once: he has found hidden messages in the illustrations and he has solved the Voynich text. To be honest, I think that neither is really the case.

    1) Hidden messages
    Hidden messages have been (alledgedly) found in many objects, including the Bible, Shakespeare’s plays and the pyramids in Egypt. Even in the VM hidden messages have been found before. I once wrote a research paper about this topic, which I called parasteganography (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01611194.2011.632803). From my research I know that it is possible to find a (non-existing) hidden code almost everywhere. Honestly, the hidden code described here does not look real to me, either. The letters identified don’t look to me like somebody really has hidden them in the drawings.

    2) Solution
    One of the sentences found by the author is: “”Ma dabla tre apla retorta ret in apla fill to gea ret add ort ri in brin cut a ret add apla tre pot a ret put a plant abris a hea plam pl tre a.” Sorry, but this does not look like anything meaningful to me. The translation “Take (or find) the tree with double trunk …” is by no means compelling. I really don’t think that the creator of the VM had this meaning in mind when he wrote the text.

  5. #5 Tomtoo
    27. August 2016

    I watched some years ago on Tv something about the volnich and I was not so interested. But I did download it 1h before and its so beautyfull.
    Who ever made it looked exactlie on the plants to tell something. Think about how old.this book is. I think the book likes to tell something universal. Like alchemists.
    Who ever wrote it was realy intelligent. And i think the plants are importent its not just nice drawings. Its not about art.
    Dont get me wrong i dont want to say that there is any kind of truth in it. But I have the imperession that the author wants to tell some kind of finding.
    Look at the plants how they bifurcate that’s not art.

  6. #6 Richard SantaColoma
    27. August 2016

    Your own handmade copy has caught the spirit of the manuscript well, I think.

    I wish the publisher much luck with the sales of this “official copy”, but I am skeptical they will find enough enthusiasts willing to spend so much money on one. Perhaps the Beinecke would purchase one for display… maybe the Villa Mondragone could buy one for their place, too. It would be a tourist draw, and relate to their history.

    Of course they MUST send a copy to any Voynich bloggers, so they (we!) can promote it! I suspect I would be the last one on the list, for some reason, though…

  7. #7 Tomtoo
    27. August 2016

    Sry here is a link

    To explain that maybe a little better.

    Now look at the plants in the VM. And later the rotation like if you would look from up to down on a plant.
    I think its some kind of a science book. Not like we see science today for shure. More like alchemie.

  8. #8 Klaus Schmeh
    27. August 2016

    Richard SantaColoma via Facebook:

    Yours, and two more! Dennis and Elonka showed off their copies in Frascati, in 2012.

  9. #9 Dampier
    27. August 2016

    Siloé plans to sell the replicas for €7,000 to €8,000 apiece.

    That’s ridiculous. In the end it’s just a normal book with reproductions. That price is not justifiable at all.
    Sounds like a rip-off to me.

  10. #10 Tomtoo
    27. August 2016

    Get the. Pdf its absolutly legal. Its the message right ?
    Whats the message ? I don’t care about the material what it is printet on.

    I think like you too 😉

    What was the idear behind this absolutely interesting book? Its dated lets say 1400-1500?
    What was the writer like to tell ? Look at the bifurcation of the plants ! Its not an typically Art like painting.
    I don’t loolk at the moment on the text.
    Very nice !

  11. #11 Klaus Schmeh
    27. August 2016

    Mark Romo via Facebook:

    Despite the way I put it — at times I can be straight-forward to a fault more than eloquent — I didn’t mean it negatively.

    I meant that one couldn’t reproduce it so easily without investing a significant sum of money for techniques that wouldn’t compromise the original; then, it would be difficult to sell it to a broad public, as it can’t be read or decrypted.

    I imagine a collector wanting to own that book, not an investor.

  12. #12 Peer
    27. August 2016

    It would be funny, if the real message is in the paper itself that has been used (type or format), because that information would be lost in a copy….

    (It would mean that text and pictures are a red hering to obscure the real message in the paper. )

  13. #13 tomtoo
    28. August 2016

    oh yes ! even to imagine this is fun.

    but to be serioues i dont think so.

    thats not fun. think about a person around 1400 that liked to diskripe some fundamental laws in nature. (from his point of view). ??


  14. #14 TWO
    28. August 2016

    tea works even better…..

  15. #15 tomtoo
    28. August 2016

    @ TWO
    Tea is ok !

    its a puzzle. what i did read is that the book is from around 1500 right ?
    how should i know if this is the truth ?
    but lets imagine its the truth

    The plants are not drawn in a artistik way. pls look at the bifurcations.
    a artist would not care so much.

    pls dont get me wrong. but i would enjoy to solve this puzzle togheter.

    Looks like this gives a long journey.; -)

  16. #16 tomtoo
    28. August 2016

    suche den baum mit der doppelverzweigung. und jetzt schau auf die bilder. warum soll das so weit ab vom author sein ?

  17. #17 tomtoo
    28. August 2016

    es könnte ja auch heissen “suche einen. Ast mit einer Doppelverzweigung”.

    Wie gesagt zu den Bildern würde es passen.

  18. #18 peer
    28. August 2016

    @tomtoo: I dont think so either. Especially since it would be very difficutl to get anything more complex than a vewry simple message across. But its nice to dream…

  19. #19 tomtoo
    28. August 2016

    some kind of a quantum krypt in 1400 !


  20. #20 tomtoo
    28. August 2016

    .. like “dont copy me in 2000 its useless”


  21. #21 Notula
    28. August 2016

    @Klaus Schmeh

    Ob die Kalkulation von Siloé angesichts der exorbitanten Produktionskosten und der immer schmaler werdenden Budgets öffentlicher Bibliotheken aufgehen wird, wage ich ein wenig zu bezweifeln. Ebenso ob sich genügend Privatkunden finden werden, die sich so eine Edition gönnen können. Na ja, ist immer noch weit billiger als eine originale Kroko-Kelly Bag von Hermès. Ich persönlich würde die Kelly mit Kußhand vorziehen.

    Was sich Beinecke dabei gedacht hat, ist mir auch etwas schleierhaft. Falls es deren Argument, wie in dem – nebenbei grottenschlechten – WELT-Artikel angeführt, tatsächlich ist, sich lästige Besucher vom Hals zu halten, dann ist das ebenso widersinnig wie arrogant und abwertend. Sollen sich die Leute doch sonstwo anstellen, um einen Blick auf ihr Kultobjekt werfen zu könnnen, oder so? Immerhin hat sich Beinecke in puncto wissenschaftlicher Bearbeitung und Beschreibung des Manuskripts bisher nicht mit Ruhm bekleckert. Man kann ja schon sehr dankbar für die Digitalisierung sein, die jedem kostenlos zur Verfügung steht. Und eigentlich reicht die ja auch, wenn man den Codex ernsthaft entschlüsseln will und nicht an Botschaften vom Sirius glaubt. Mir jedenfalls genügen die Scans erst mal völlig. Die Kelly dagegen – seufz…

    PS: Gratulation zu Ihrem Selfmade-Voynich! Echt cool!

  22. #22 Giuseppe BIANCHI
    28. August 2016






  23. #23 Klaus Schmeh
    28. August 2016

    >Immerhin hat sich Beinecke in puncto
    >wissenschaftlicher Bearbeitung und Beschreibung des
    >Manuskripts bisher nicht mit Ruhm bekleckert.
    Ich verstehe auch nicht, warum es trotz des enormen öffentlichen Interesses bisher nur sehr wenige naturwissenschaftliche Untersuchungen (eine Radiokarbon-Analyse und eine Mikroskop-Analyse) gegeben hat, die bisher noch nicht einmal in einer Fachzeitschrift veröffentlicht wurden. Meines Wissens könnte es schon interessante Rückschlüsse zulassen, wenn man das Manuskript unter Infrarot-Licht betrachten würde – von zahlreichen anderen Untersuchungsmöglichkeiten ganz zu schweigen. Ich hoffe, dass sich hier noch etwas tun wird.

  24. #24 HF(de)
    28. August 2016

    Giuseppe is able to write with very big letters. I think he has a PhD on youtube. 🙂

  25. #25 Notula
    29. August 2016

    @Klaus Schmeh

    Es war wohl genau dieses enorme Interesse (insbesondere der weltweiten Voynich Community), das Beinecke dazu veranlasste, dem öffentlichen Druck nachzugeben und wenigstens eine – wenn auch ziemlich rudimentäre – materielle Datierung zu unternehmen. Letztlich ist das auch eine Image-Frage, denn weder Beinecke noch Yale können es sich dauerhaft leisten, einen Codex nicht einmal annähernd einordnen zu können.

    Im krassen Gegensatz dazu steht der eklatante Mangel an wissenschaftlichem Interesse, der für Beinecke eine mindestens ebenso große Rolle spielen dürfte, den sie aber größtenteils selber zu verantworten haben. Die fehlende Bereitschaft, das Manuskript nach allen Regeln der Kunst zu untersuchen und es für seriöse Forschung zugänglich zu machen, zeigt letztlich den niedrigen Stellenwert, der ihm beigemessen wird. Was bis zu einem gewissen Grad sogar verständlich ist, denn tatsächlich sind beim VM keine inhaltlichen Sensationen zu erwarten. Andererseits ist es ein in seiner Art sehr außergewöhnlicher Codex und ein Zeitzeuge, der das Interesse der Fachwelt verdient hätte.

    Ich glaube nicht, dass sich Beinecke noch zu weiter führenden Untersuchungen entschließen wird, und zwar aus den o.g. Gründen. Für die Analyse eines Manuskripts, mit dem man keine akademischen Meriten ernten kann, dürfte sich der Aufwand nicht lohnen. Da ist eine Lizenzvergabe für eine Faksimile-Edition deutlich lukrativer und populärer.

  26. #26 John Lamping
    30. August 2016

    There is going to be an official printing by Yale University Press this fall for $50, perhaps a more affordable price.
    Voynich Manuscript | Yale University Press

    Also, there is a company called Ambush Printing that makes several Voynich replica publications, they range in price from $9.99 to $30,000.
    18″ x 24″ print

    The six page foldout of the Voynich Manuscript, printed on high-quality vellum-style paper. 18″ x 24&…
    Voynich Manuscript Reproduction
    Date: 1490 est. Author: Unknown Language: Unknown The Voynich Manuscript dates back to the early 1…

    Voynich Manuscript Vellum

    The company in your blog post, Siloe, has some news about the publication, but it is in Spanish.

    Also, here is a link to a Canadian TV drama show called “X Company” about Canadian efforts in WWII. The show’s website includes a cipher machine simulator.
    X Company

  27. #27 Giuseppe BIANCHI
    Arquata Scrivia
    23. September 2016