• Sweden's news in English

US to return stolen Swedish books

The Local · 24 Jul 2013, 07:34

Published: 24 Jul 2013 07:34 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

New York District Attorney Preet Bharara will present the two books, one of which is 330 years old, over to the library's CEO Gunilla Herdenberg in a ceremony in Manhattan, officials said.

The books, which have an estimated combined value of $100,000, were among at least 56 stolen from the library between 1995 and 2004 by the former head of its manuscript department Anders Burius, who committed suicide shortly after confessing to the thefts in 2004.

The books were sold through Hamburg-based German auction house Ketterer Kunst, with 13 of them going to buyers in the United States.

FBI agents have been trying to track down the missing works and last year succeeded in negotiating the return to Sweden of a 415-year-old atlas that was put up for sale at auction in New York in 2011.

The books that will be returned on Wednesday are a 1683 "Description of Louisiana" by French missionary and explorer Louis Hennepin and a German collection of American artist Henry Lewis's illustrations of Mississippi that was printed in Dusseldorf between 1854-58.

They were bought from Ketterer in the mid-90s by Stephan Loewentheil, an antique book dealer based in Baltimore, Maryland who only learned that the books were stolen when the FBI got in touch with him last year, long after he had sold them.

"Although as a bona fide purchaser, I didn't have any legal liability, from a moral standpoint it bothered me," Loewentheil told AFP.

"So I tracked them down and fortunately the people I had sold them to were willing to sell them back to me, and I repurchased them at my own expense.

"Our clients love books and people who love books tend to want to do the right thing, so they were happy to sell the books back to me.

Story continues below…

"All theft is bad, but for me cultural theft is the worst because you are stealing the patrimony of a nation."

AFP/The Local/at

Follow The Local on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Presented by Invest Stockholm
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm

You might think it’s hard to make friends in a new city. But if at first you don’t succeed – try something else!

Injured Swedish photographer protected by 'guardian angel'
Swedish photographer Paul Hansen on another occasion. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Photographer Paul Hansen thanked his lucky stars for surviving sniper fire while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

How Sweden is trying to smooth relations with Saudis
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven meeting Saudi Arabia's Trade Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has visited Saudi Arabia a year and a half after relations turned frosty in a major diplomatic row.

My Swedish Career
'Swedish people love it, but they find it quite odd'
Scottish entrepreneur William Macdonald. Photo: Michael Campanella

Meet the web developer and entrepreneur using traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing to break the ice with Swedes.

Swedish photographer shot near Mosul
Hansen was being operated on in the Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday. Photo: Nora Lorek/ TT

Paul Hansen, a photographer working for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, has sustained light injuries after being hit by what appears to be a sniper while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission- free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Swedish terror suspect ‘planned airport attack’
Swedish terror suspect Osama Krayem. Photo: Facebook

Swedish national Osama Krayem, linked to the deadly attacks in Paris on November 13 and in Brussels on March 22, is now suspected of having plotted to attack also the Schiphol airport in the Netherlands.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available