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£2 Million of Antique Books Stolen in Cat Burglar Heist

By February 13, 2017News, The Classics

Antique books worth £2 million have been stolen in an audacious burglary, likened to a scene from Mission Impossible or a spy novel.

Allesandro Meda Riquier was storing books at a warehouse near Heathrow Airport, ready to be flown to an event in California, he had 51 books, worth £1 million stolen in the robbery in which 160 publications were stolen.

It’s reported that three raiders climbed onto the roof in the warehouse, drilled through the skylights and abseiled in, avoiding motion and sensor alarms. It may sound like the plot from a spy novel, but some precious works have been stolen.

Among the publications stolen was Mr Riquier’s second edition copy of De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium dating from 1566 (pictured), reported to be worth £215,000 and described as the Jewel in the haul. Important books by Galileo were also taken in the theft, plus two rare editions of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Obviously the collector is very upset to lose these irreplaceable volumes acquired through years of serious book collecting. He says the theft affects not only the loss, but the profession of book collectors and cites a German colleague who has lost 90% of his collection.

The raiders were meticulous, prizing open the storage boxes and checking the books against the stock list, taking only the most valuable editions. It’s reported that the selected books were then raised carefully to the roof in holdalls on ropes and driven away in a waiting van. Police think the precision of the crime means the volumes were probably stolen to order, but the works including many from the 15th and 16th century may now be impossible to sell in any reputable auction house.

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