Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

December 7, 2016

Seizure: Cairo International Airport - Islamic-era manuscripts and antiquarian books


On November 28, 2016 customs agents at Cairo International Airport foiled a plot to illegally export a shipment of antique Islamic-era books.  Suspicious of the 43-box shipping documentation on objects destined for Doha, Qatar, the items being exported were flagged for further controls.  Upon examination by customs officials, the shipment was found to contain a large quantity of antiquarian books and manuscripts.  Based on their initial findings, and the markings on some of the books, the shipment was frozen on suspicion that the objects may have been illegally acquired.  

Tawfiq Massad, Director General of Customs, authorized that the shipment be held, pending a comprehensive review.  His office in turn formally notified the antiquities authorities so that they could explore the collection's authenticity and its legal or illegal export status as it relates to Egyptian law. 

Working with Ahmed El-Rawi, head of the Recuperation Antiquities Section of Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities it was decided that a portion of the books and volumes fell under the protection of Egypt's Laws for rare and ancient books, e.g.

To be the product of Egyptian civilization or the successive civilizations or the creation of art, sciences, literature, or religion that took place on the Egyptian lands since the pre-historic ages and during the successive historic ages till before 100 years ago. --Law No. 8 of 2009, as amended in 2014 on the protection of rare and ancient books and manuscripts, 

Sixty-six rare books and volumes were seized in total; some dating back to the early printing age.  The rare Islamic-era books, having been published during the period needed to be considered as a heritage asset, will be sent to the Egyptian National Library and Archives.  Forty-four volumes, that still bore the stamps of the Al-Azhar library, will be returned to the university's library collection.

July 12, 2013

FBI Looking for Owners of Recovered Art (Books and Maps)

The FBI has posted images of 57 rare books and maps in hopes of finding the owners:
After a well-known dealer of rare maps was caught stealing from a Yale University library in 2006, a subsequent FBI investigation revealed that the man had stolen antique maps and other valuable items from institutions around the world. Most of the pilfered material was eventually returned to its rightful owners—but not all of it. 
We are still in possession of 57 rare maps and books—some dating to the 17th century—and we would like to return them. To that end, we are posting pictures and information about the items in the accompanying photo gallery in the hopes that the individuals or institutions who own them will come forward to claim them. 
“These items have been legally forfeited to the U.S. government,” said Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, who manages the FBI’s Art Theft Program. “Technically, they belong to the Bureau now, but we don’t want to keep them. Even though we have tried to find the rightful owners over the years, we are making another attempt.” 
After Edward Forbes Smiley, III was arrested for the Yale library theft, he admitted stealing and selling nearly 100 rare maps from international collections over a period of seven years. With Smiley’s cooperation, we tracked down most of the dealers and collectors who purchased the approximately $3 million worth of stolen material. But returning the maps to their homes proved to be a daunting task. 
In many cases, the maps were cut from books with a razor and trimmed so they didn’t look like they came from books. Some of the maps had different titles—many in Latin—and could have come from several known copies of the same book. To further complicate matters, many libraries weren’t even aware they were missing items until we contacted them. 
“These maps aren’t vehicles with identification numbers stamped on them,” Special Agent Stephen J. Kelleher, who led the 2006 investigation, said at the time. Special Agent Lisa MacNamara, who is working the case now from our New Haven, Connecticut Division, added, “Our hope is that by reaching out to the public in this way, we can get these historical items back to where they belong.” 
The items still in our possession include rare maps such as an 18th century depiction of the United States, a 1683 street plan of Philadelphia, and several antique books. 
If you believe that one of the maps or books shown in the gallery was stolen from your collection, please contact Special Agent MacNamara at (203) 503-5268, or send an e-mail to artwork@ic.fbi.gov. To claim any of the items, you will need to provide evidence of ownership and positively identify the item in question. That might include—but is not limited to—giving a description of special markings or stamps, wear patterns, specific damage, or other detailed information.