Swedes Find Stolen Atlas in New York
- "He was entrusted to guard Sweden’s cultural heritage, but instead this senior librarian spent years surreptitiously stealing and selling scores of its rare and precious books. When the thief, Anders Burius, was finally caught in 2004, the media called him the “Royal Library Man,” and his sensational crime and subsequent suicide became the subjects of a government inquiry, a radio documentary and, last year, a television mini-series.
"Now, for the first time, one of the missing books — the earliest printed atlas of the Americas — has been recovered by Sweden’s Royal Library after a librarian there noticed that it was being offered for sale last year by a New York map dealer, W. Graham Arader III."
"Mr. Arader had bought the atlas, published in 1597 by Cornelius Wytfliet — one of only nine known copies in existence — at Sotheby’s in London in 2003, for about $100,000, without knowing its shadowy history, he said. He estimates its value at $450,000. "
"Mr. Burius had been at the Kungliga Biblioteket, or Royal Library, for 10 years before a chance request from a patron about a map of the Mississippi River drew attention to a missing volume. A library inventory discovered that at least 56 rare and valuable books had been taken, including a 1633 edition of John Donne’s poems; a copy of Thomas Hobbes’s philosophical masterwork, “Leviathan,” from 1651; and the astronomer Johannes Kepler’s 1619 work “Harmonices Mundi.”"