Monday, February 4th, 2008
Police have found and returned several rare maps stolen from the Spanish National Library by a researcher/looting son of a bitch.
Among the stolen pieces is a map of the world torn from one of the first printed editions of Ptolemy’s 2nd c. AD “Cosmographia”. One of the first printed editions of anything, actually, given the 1482 publishing date, just 42 years after Gutenberg completed his printing press, and just 10 years before a certain Christopher Columbus used Ptolemy’s maps to get lost on his way to India.
Hand-drawn and beautifully preserved in living color, the world map was cut out of the book by said looting son of a bitch then sold through a variety of art dealer sons of bitches until it was found in an Australian gallery and returned to Spain. There are more still to be recovered.
Eight maps were recovered from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Two others were found in New York and handed over to Spain’s police chief in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Another is awaiting authorization to be returned from Sydney, Australia. At least four that date to between the 15th and 17th centuries are still missing, Rubalcaba said.