Saturday, May 05, 2007

1823 Tanner Atlas Stolen

The following announcement appeared on Ex-Libris this afternoon:

"Atlas description: Philadelphia: H.S. Tanner, 1823. Folio (22 5/8 x 15 3/4 inches). Letterpress half-title, 1p. index and 18pp. text. Engraved title with vignette of the "First Landing of Columbus in the New World", 22 fine hand-coloured double-page engraved maps. Contemporary red half morocco, the flat spine divided into six compartments by double fillets, lettered in the second, the other compartments with repeat decoration of a single centrally-placed square arabesque tool, modern cloth box with morocco lettering-piece on its spine.

The atlas was stolen between April 20 and April 22, 2007. Unfortunately, our institution had yet to agree on what to do with the atlas (keep or deaccession/sell at an auction), so it does not have any markings on it. It does have a library catalog sticker with a number (we did not have a chance to record this number) on its binding a quarter of the way from the top. There are specific condition notes to this atlas: a majority of the pages have some sort of water-like stains both large and small throughout, which are mostly contained along the edges of the 18 pages of text. All of the maps are in good condition with a few water stains, with the exception of the large map on the last pages. This fold-out map has binding tape holding it together, when folded open the pages are crisp along the creases. The exterior has general wear throughout both red leather coverings. The binding has some damage and a library catalog sticker. As expected with a piece this old, there are the usual fading and yellowing marks throughout.

We are working with the Clarkstown Police Department of Rockland County, NY. Their general line is (845) 639.5800. This incident has been reported to the FBI, who will report it to Interpol among other international forces they work with. We highly suspect it is still in the downstate NY region and if sold, among the same region."

1 comment:

David said...

Not to dump on librarians or to lay blame without cause, but how did this thief get past the person on duty in the rare book room? Forbes Smiley III wasn't even that bold: he just stole individual maps. Atlases simply aren't that easy to walk away with. Anybody with a whisper of a clue would notice a folio tucked under a shirt, and besides don't you have to sign in and out of the special collection's room? Of course, I don't have all the details, but from what you've written it seems like someone should be cleaning out grease traps at Micky D's, instead of working among the rare bookstacks.