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