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Saturday, February 25, 2017

A "Mission Impossible" Rare Book Heist


Back in September, I blogged about the world’s most expensive books (http://schatjesshelves.blogspot.ca/2016/09/worlds-most-expensive-books.html).  I was reminded of this post when I read about the rare book heist that took place near London at the end of January.

Three thieves apparently climbed onto the roof of a warehouse and bored through reinforced skylights before rappelling down 40 feet to avoid motion-sensor alarms.  The operation is estimated to have taken 3 hours!  They absconded with more than 160 antiquarian books valued at over $3 million (CAN).

Among the books stolen were early works by Galileo, Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, and Dante   Alighieri.  The most valuable item in the stolen haul was a 1566 copy of Nicolaus Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, the book that first explained that the sun, not the earth, was the centre of the universe. 

One rare book dealer, Alessandro Meda Riquier, lost 51 books valued at about $1.5 million (CAN).  CBC Radio’s As It Happens had a short interview with Mr. Riquier:  http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-monday-edition-1.3980337/this-was-a-big-job-thieves-nab-3m-worth-of-rare-books-in-mission-impossible-style-heist-1.3980340.