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V16 2013 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 16, Number 51, December 15, 2013, Article 12

THEFTS SHOCK THE RARE BOOK WORLD

American Numismatic Society Librarian Elizabeth Hahn submitted this report about some strange goings-on in the world of rare books. Thanks! -Editor

Although not specifically numismatic, there have been some interesting recent news updates in the antiquarian book world in regards to that major book theft in Italy (where thousands of rare books were stolen from the Girolamini library), and possibly of interest to E-Sylum readers. The New York Times> reported on it at the end of November:

Rare Books Vanish, With a Librarian in the Plot (www.nytimes.com/2013/11/30/books/unraveling-huge-thefts-from-girolamini-library-in-naples.html)

And more recently, this week's New Yorker has a fascinating article about a specific case of forgery involving Galileo's "Sidereus Nuncius" (also involving the man charged in the Girolamini case, Marino Massimo De Caro):

A VERY RARE BOOK (www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/12/16/131216fa_fact_schmidle)

(You need to be a NYer subscriber to read the full article, but it's worth reading even the abstract). This past weekend, there was also a symposium at the Library of Congress on this topic, and a summary of the papers is online (I understand that a webcast of the papers will be posted sometime in the near future):

LC Authenticity Symposium: A Brief Report (www.finebooksmagazine.com/fine_books_blog/2013/12/lc-authenticity-symposium-a-brief-report.phtml)

Some interesting issues addressed specifically in the New Yorker article are how cases of forged antiquarian books are much less frequent because of how time consuming it can be to accurately reproduce each detail of text within such a book. I'd be curious to hear if there have been any cases involving forgeries of numismatic books! (Obviously there are plenty of cases involving numismatic items and counterfeit paper money, but what about books?).

The next article is an excerpt from the New York Times piece. -Editor


Wayne Homren, Editor

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