Spain´s National Library´s Unreported Galileo 2014 Book Theft

Spanish Authorities are investigating the theft of a 410-year-old pamphlet written by Galileo from the National Library in Madrid after the staff were made aware in 2014 that it had been stolen and replaced with a copy – but did not report it until 2018.

The pamphlet titled ‘Sidereus Nuncius,’ was written in Latin and published in Venice in 1610. It is believed to be the first scientific pamphlet published based on the information collected using a telescope and included the findings that the moon was mountainous.

“Security protocols are being updated, and new information regarding the case will be released after the meeting at the end of this month,” said a spokesperson from the Biblioteca Nacional de España or the National Library of Spain.

Picture shows Galileo Galilei’s ‘Sidereus Nuncius’ pamphlet that was stolen from Spain’s National Library located in the capital Madrid. (Biblioteca Nacional de Espana/Newsflash)

It is not the first time it was stolen. It vanished from the library in 1987, but the authorities successfully located it and returned it the following year in 1988.The discovery of the second theft was made in 2014 when specialists at the library carried out a routine check on the condition of the pamphlet only to find that it was a high-quality forgery and not the original.

However, the team that made the discovery chose not to inform the head of the library and decided to investigate the case independently.

The team reportedly checked who borrowed the pamphlet between 1988 and 2014 and found that the booklet was passed through numerous hands.

It was not her staff at the library that informed Santos, but an unnamed American investigator told Santos that the original pamphlet was stolen and forged sometime after the 1987 robbery.

As per Santos and her informant, the original was returned to the library in 1988 following its theft the year before.

This suggests that the pamphlet was stolen and replaced with a forged one between 1988 and 2014.

No information about how the pamphlet was stolen has been made public yet.


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