View Full Version : Spoils of war return home

09-07-2009, 08:22 AM
Catherine Hickly of Bloomberg News reports that, “A New York court ordered a book collector to return a 16th-century volume valued at $600,000 to a museum in Stuttgart, more than six decades after it was stolen by a U.S. army captain at the end of World War II.”

The rare book collector, Rod Shene, purchased the book in 2001 from a St. Louis dealer for $3,800. The dealer, Sheldon Margulis, had originally purchased it from the nephews of U.S. army captain John Doty when they where cleaning out their uncle’s estate, according to a 2007 report in St. Louis’s Riverfront Times.

Shene subsequently approached Sotheby’s auction house in New York in the hopes of reselling the book. On inspecting the book, Sotheby’s saw that it was stamped with the insignia of the Stuttgart Staatsgalerie’s collection, and notified the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, owner of the collection, who filed a claim for the “Augsburger Geschlechterbuch.”

According to Bloomberg News, the “Augsburger Geschlechterbuch” is a “bound volume of drawings and prints showing prominent families of Augsburg in different costumes and situations. It is one of several treasures lost by Stuttgart at the end of the war.” The book appears to be “typical product of the sixteenth century, when publishers would compile images of the local nobility, then sell the prints to other noble houses and to the middle class,” according to Paul Crenshaw, assistant professor of art history and archaeology at Washington University, as quoted in the Riverfront Times.

The book was believed to have been destroyed during fires associated with the fighting at the end of World War II. John Doty, a U.S. Army captain who was stationed in Waldenburg, Germany where the treasures from the Stuttgart Staatsgalerie were stored for safekeeping during the war, stole the book according to the court opinion. Doty, who died before the lawsuit, had told his nephews he salvaged the book from a fire started by Allied soldiers.

According to Bloomberg News, “Dietrich Birk, Baden-Wuerttemberg’s State Secretary for Science, Research and the Arts, said he was “delighted” at the ruling. ‘I hope the return will happen soon.’”

Source: http://mhpbooks.com/mobylives/?p=4784

09-08-2009, 01:21 AM
This is a pretty old story.

There is a lot more info available.

The guy used it for some interesting activities.