• <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States, pamphlet, 1862. Sold May 7 for $11,875.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. Sold May 7 for $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> E. Simms Campbell, A Night-Club Map of Harlem, in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. Sold May 7 for $27,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. Sold May 7 for $17,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. Sold May 7 for $5,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> The Black Panther: Black Community News Service, 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. Sold May 7 for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike, silver print, 1968. Sold May 7 for $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> March For Freedom Now!, poster for a protest on the 1960 Republican Convention. Sold May 7 for $17,500.
  • <center><b>Morphy Auctions</b><br>Founders & Patriots: Arms, Militaria, Documents, Artwork & Rare Imprints from the Era of the American Revolution & the War of 1812<br><b>May 27, 2020</b>
    <b>Morphy Auctions, May 27:</b> Extremely rare, signature of Patrick Ferguson, famed rifle inventor and British officer. $20,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Morphy Auctions, May 27:</b> 1776 Battle of Sullivan's Island watercolor, attributed to James Peale. 11 1/2 x 17 3/16. $10,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Morphy Auctions, May 27:</b> John Hancock-signed commission of Ensign Aaron Butler, 1777. $8,000 to $16,000.
    <center><b>Morphy Auctions</b><br>Founders & Patriots: Arms, Militaria, Documents, Artwork & Rare Imprints from the Era of the American Revolution & the War of 1812<br><b>May 27, 2020</b>
    <b>Morphy Auctions, May 27:</b> A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston, Perpetrated in the Evening of the Fifth Day of March 1770… London, [1770]. $7,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Morphy Auctions, May 27:</b> Original manuscript of 1761 Massachusetts Bay Tax Act. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Morphy Auctions, May 27:</b> Wine receipt for Washington's Council of War, May 24, 1778, leading to Monmouth Battle. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <center><b>Morphy Auctions</b><br>Founders & Patriots: Arms, Militaria, Documents, Artwork & Rare Imprints from the Era of the American Revolution & the War of 1812<br><b>May 27, 2020</b>
    <b>Morphy Auctions, May 27:</b> [Siege of Boston]. “A Muster Roll of The Company Under the Command of Captain Josiah King in Colonel David Brewer’s Regiment, to the First of August, 1775.” $5,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Morphy Auctions, May 27:</b> Congressman Brigham describes George Washington's Mount Vernon estate and its slaves. $3,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Morphy Auctions, May 27:</b> [British Army. Uniforms and Organizaton] "Gen[era]l. Disposition of The King’s Troops with the Number, Uniform and Colonel [of Each Regiment, 1763]. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <center><b>Morphy Auctions</b><br>Founders & Patriots: Arms, Militaria, Documents, Artwork & Rare Imprints from the Era of the American Revolution & the War of 1812<br><b>May 27, 2020</b>
    <b>Morphy Auctions, May 27:</b> Revolutionary era paper money, continental and state (lot of 55). $2,500 to $5,500.
    <b>Morphy Auctions, May 27:</b> Rare 1782 loyalist military passport from Charleston, SC. $1,500 to $3,000.
    <b>Morphy Auctions, May 27:</b> [Stamp Act.] Rare 1765 stamp for 2 shillings and 6 pence. $1,250 to $2,500.
  • <b>Koller International Auctions: Books [and] Manuscripts & Autographs. June 15, 2020</b>
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> INCUNABULA -Fridolin, Stephan. <i>Schatzbehalter.</i> With 96 (including 5 repeated) full-page text woodcuts. Nürnberg, 1491.<br>€ 39 470 / 57 020
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> Kokoschka, Oskar. <i>Die Träumenden Knaben (The Dreaming Boys).</i> With 11 original lithographs. Vienne, 1908.<br>€ 35 090 / 52 630
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> Third Bessarion Master (active in Lombard in the third quarter of the 15th century). Leaf from a gradual, 1455-60.<br>€ 21 930 / 30 700
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> Picasso, Pablo - Delgado, José alias Pepe Illo. <i>La Tauromaquia o arte de torear.</i> With 26 original aquatints and 1 original etching by Picasso.<br>€ 21 930 / 35 090
    <b>Koller International Auctions: Books [and] Manuscripts & Autographs. June 15, 2020</b>
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> Linschoten, Jan Huygen van. <i>Itinerario, Voyage ofte Schipvaert naer Oost ofte Portugaels Indien…</i> Amsterdam, 1595.<br>€ 17 540 / 26 320
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> CHILDREN’S BOOKS - Meggendorfer, Lothar. <i>Nah und Fern. Ein Tierbilderbuch zum Ziehen.</i> With 8 coloured, lithographed plates.<br>€ 530 / 790
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> DANSE MACABRE - Bille, Edmond. <i>Une Danse macabre.</i> With 20 coloured woodcuts. Lausanne, 1919. Large folio.<br>€ 610 / 880
    <b>Koller, Jun. 15:</b> Dexel, Walter. A collection of 7 invitation cards from the Kunstverein Jena, each typographically designed by W. Dexel. Jena, 1924-1928. Each 10.5 x 14.8 cm.<br>€ 530 / 790
  • <b>Gonnelli:</b> Books & Graphics 26th – 27th – 28th May 2020.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 27th, Travel and exploration.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 27th, Musical books, autographs & printed music.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 26th, A collection of Piranesi’s etchings. € 50 to € 16000.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 28th, Books from XV to XX Century.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 28th, Hansel and Gretel and other stories by the brothers Grimm illustrated by Kay Nielsen. € 1000.
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> May 28th, Artists’ books from Dalì, Marini & others.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2005 Issue

Barrage Of Thefts Hits Rare Book Rooms

Noimage

none


Bellwood wasn't the only individual to be sentenced to prison for book theft in December. On the 17th, 69-year-old Eva Moeller-Kristensen was sentenced to 3 years in prison for selling 77 stolen books. Mrs. Moeller-Kristensen is the widow of the former head librarian at the Denmark Royal Library. Frede Moeller-Kristensen had helped himself to many volumes from the library in the 1960s and 1970s, but had never tried to dispose of them. You might call him a "collector." When he died, his wife was faced with the question faced by many widows of collectors: what do you do with this stuff? She made the seemingly logical decision that other widows might make with such a valuable collection. She asked Christie's to sell them. Unfortunately for her, Christie's became suspicious, tracked down the source of some of the volumes, and turned the widow in. So while the actual thief was never caught or punished, he did leave his wife, son, and daughter-in-law (the latter two were accomplices) an inheritance they wish they had never received.

The Local, an online publication from Sweden, reports that a 48-year-old man who died in a violent explosion in his apartment on December 8 had admitted to book theft a few days earlier. The explosion, at first thought to be a tragic accident, was instead a suicide. The thief was evidently known and trusted at Uppsala University's Carolina Rediviva Library. Some of their books were found in the wreckage. The stolen books were said to be from the 16th and 17th centuries.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Lee Simpson was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison on January 22 for years of stealing books from libraries, altering them to disguise their ownership, and selling them to unsuspecting buyers, often online. Apparently his late father had been a book collector, so Simpson was able to make it appear that the books had come from his estate. It is believed that he had cleared over $150,000 over the years, much to support a gambling habit.

Finally, Peter Breithaupt, a former night supervisor at the Kenyon College Library in Ohio, recently pleaded guilty to selling books stolen from that library. While Breithaupt did not have access to the library's special collections, he was able to persuade custodians to let him in unsupervised. His case touches on a fear perhaps even greater than that of the traditional black market: eBay. Breithaupt made his money by posting his books for sale in the vast, unsupervised ocean of anonymity that has become a means of disposing of stolen goods. The listings are so numerous that it is hard for anyone to spot the illicit ones, crime victims, law enforcement, and eBay alike. Fortunately, there are always some eyes on the lookout, and if you go to the well too many times, you get caught. This happened to Breithaupt when someone from Georgia noticed a copy of a book from Kenyon's library for sale. Unfortunately for Kenyon, this didn't happen until 50 books had already been sold, with a value estimated at over $50,000. The best was a 1528 copy of Ptolemy's Almagest, sold for $4,750.

What can we conclude from this recent spate of library theft cases? First the good news, for collectors, dealers, and even the libraries: the old and rare books they have been collecting have become quite valuable. Thieves are attracted to value, not bargains. And since most aren't collectors themselves, there is obviously a healthy market for this material.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Autographs<br>May 27 & 28, 2020</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers 27/28 May 2020:</b> Darwin (Charles). <i>On the Origin of Species,</i> 1st edition, London, 1859. Original cloth, one of 1,250 copies. £15,000 to £25,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers 27/28 May 2020:</b> The Gentleman’s Magazine, or Monthly Intelligencer, 276 volumes, 1731-1894. With all the America maps, and the first British publication of the US Declaration of Independence. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers 27/28 May 2020:</b> Washington (John). <i>Eskimaux and English Vocabulary, for the Use of the Arctic Expedition,</i> 1st edition, London, 1850. Sabin 101906. £3,000 to £5,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Autographs<br>May 27 & 28, 2020</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers 27/28 May 2020:</b> Churchill (Winston S.). <i>Ian Hamilton’s March [and] London to Ladysmith,</i> 1st editions, 1900. Signed by the author. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers 27/28 May 2020:</b> Wallace (Alfred Russel). <i>Is Mars Habitable?,</i> 1st edition, London, 1907. Extremely rare in the dust jacket. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers 27/28 May 2020:</b> Montes de Oca (Rafael). <i>Ensayo ornitologico de los Troquilideos o Colibries de Mexico,</i> 1st edition, Mexico City, 1875. With 12 hand-coloured lithographs of hummingbirds. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Autographs<br>May 27 & 28, 2020</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers 27/28 May 2020:</b> Agrippa (Camillo). <i>Trattato di scienza d’arme,</i> Venice, 1568. One of 50 lots from the Leon Paul Library of Fencing. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers 27/28 May 2020:</b> Clarke (Sir Alured, 1744-1832). Manuscript document signed as commander of British forces in Georgia during the American War of Independence, Savannah, 18 June 1782. £300 to £500.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers 27/28 May 2020:</b> [Slave Narrative]. <i>The Life and Sufferings of Leonard Black, a Fugitive from Slavery,</i> 1st edition, New Bedford MA, 1847. £300 to £500.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Autographs<br>May 27 & 28, 2020</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers 27/28 May 2020:</b> Finaughty (William). <i>The Recollections of William Finaughty, Elephant Hunter 1864-1875,</i> 1st edition, Philadelphia, [1916]. One of 250 copies. £500 to £800.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers 27/28 May 2020:</b> Gold (Charles). <i>Oriental Drawings: Sketched between the Years 1791 and 1798,</i> 1st edition, 1806. With 48 fine hand-coloured aquatints. £3,000 to £5,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers 27/28 May 2020:</b> George II (1683-1760) & William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire (1720-1764). Manuscript exchequer document signed, 1757. £700 to £1,000.
  • <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>June 23, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [SUPREME COURT JUSTICES]. A very extensive collection of 203 letters, documents and signatures. A COMPLETE COLLECTION OF THE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES, JOHN JAY THROUGH WILLIAM REHNQUIST. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> ZATTA, Antonio. <i>Atlante Novissimo.</i> Venice: Antonio Zatta, 1775-1785. ONE OF THE FINEST WORLD ATLASES issued in Italy in the 18th century. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [CHICAGO HISTORY] -- [COLUMBUS, Christopher]. Monumental historiated and embroidered panel of the MADE FOR THE 1893 COLUMBIAN EXHIBITION IN CHICAGO. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>June 23, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [MONASTERY HILL BINDING]. AINSWORTH, William Harrison. <i>Historical Romances.</i> Philadelphia, n.d. A fine early exhibition binding by the Monastery Hill Bindery. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM]. New York: Tiber Press, [1960]. 4 volumes. LIMITED EDITION, number 119 of 200 COPIES, EACH SIGNED BY THE POET AND ARTIST. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> GRATIANUS, the Canonist. <i>Decretum.</i> Venedig: Petrus de Plasiis, 25 January 1483. Second quarto edition. FIRST PAGE ILLUMINATED BY A CONTEMPORARY ARTIST. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>June 23, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [ABOLITIONISTS]. <i>William Lloyd Garrison. The Story of his Life.</i> New York, 1885. ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS FROM SEVERAL NOTABLE ABOLITIONISTS neatly bound in throughout. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> ANSON, George. <i>A Voyage round the World, In the Years 1740... 1744.</i> London: John and Paul Knapton for the author, 1748. FIRST EDITION. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> Blank railroad ledger, "Compagnie des Chemins de fer de l'Ouest" (spine title). N.p., 1909. A MONUMENTAL 20th-CENTURY ART NOUVEAU BINDING. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>June 23, 2020</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [MINIATURE ROOM] -- [FLEMING, John (1910-1987)]. Miniature of his 57th Street Library and Gallery. JOHN F. FLEMING'S BARONIAL 57TH STREET GALLERY. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [SANGORSKI & SUTCLIFFE BINDING]. CHESTERTON, G.K. <i>Five Types: A Book of Essays.</i> London, 1910. LIMITED EDITION, number 3 of 30 copies on vellum SIGNED BY GEORGE SUTCLIFFE. $400 to $500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Jun. 23:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. <i>When Adam Delved and Eve Span....</i> [Ancoats Brotherhood, 1894-5]. LIMITED EDITION, one of 250 copies printed. $500 to $700.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions