Saturday, October 13, 2007

Art/Map Thefts Highlighted

In the Sydney Morning Herald, Philip Cornford has an article today on international art theft, which the FBI now says totals some $8 billion annually worldwide, making it "the first biggest crime [in monetary terms] behind drug dealing, arms dealing and money laundering." He notes a recent theft from the National Gallery of New South Wales, in which thieves simply entered a gallery, unscrewed a frame, and walked off with Frans van Mieris' (1635-1681) self-portrait "A Cavalier."

Cornford's piece discusses the links between the stolen-art markets in Australia and Britain, mentioning the recovery of the two Cosmographia maps from Spain's National Library. In that case, he says, no charges have yet been filed. He also examines various strategies for dealing with theft, including offering rewards or ransoms.

Well worth a read.

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