Former head of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association David Slade was sentenced this afternoon to a prison term of twenty-eight months for the theft of books from the library of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild. A report in The Times reveals some of the titles in question: "Among the books put up for auction between 2003 and 2007 [at Dominic Winter] were a Chaucer title sold for £15,000, another book entitled Voyages from Athens to Constantinople, which fetched £33,000, and four gospels that sold for £21,000. In addition an autographed 1st edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom by TE Lawrence was auctioned for £22,000."
Slade pleaded guilty to stealing the books during a period when he'd been hired to catalog the collection. The thefts were later discovered when the collection was inventoried.
Judge Christopher Tyrer told Slade "There was no question of you having any permission to remove them. Instead what you indulged in was significant plundering of Sir Evelyn’s books and did so over a significant period of time and in flagrant breach of the employment you had undertaken."Judge Tyrer also ordered that the unsold books be returned and that the Lawrence title be returned by its purchaser. No word on the other titles which were sold.
Slade's attorney told the court "David Slade is nearing his 60th birthday and is a ruined man and he knows it. He faces losing at least £100,000 of his assets and it is of deepest shame to him and his family that he is here. At a time when most men his age are looking forward to retirement he knows he faces financial ruin and a prison sentence." He claimed that Slade's actions were motivated by a desire to pay down credit card debt.
It's hard to say anything about this case other than wow.