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£500,000 atlas by Ptolemy is stolen

(Daily Telegraph London, November 7, 1997)
=A3500,000 atlas by Ptolemy is stolen

By Susannah Herbert in Paris

ONE of the earliest printed atlases, Ptolemy's Cosmographia, has been
stolen from France's National Library, prompting fears that its rare
maps may be torn out and sold on the open market.

The book, one of the few surviving copies of an edition printed in
Bologna in 1477, is worth between =A3300,000 and =A3500,000. Yesterday,
the London book specialists Maggs described the book as "marvellous".
John Collins, a Maggs director, said: "The tragedy is that something
like this will be very hard to find. The thief can simply remove the
maps and sell them individually."

The Cosmographia, written by the 2nd-century Greek astronomer and
mathematician Ptolemy, was last called from the bookshelves at the
National Library on Aug 1 by a researcher who consulted it in the
map-room alongside other volumes. After he left, the librarian took
the books back, recording their return in the register and replacing
them in the stacks.

The Cosmographia's absence was discovered last month during a routine
check. Police are investigating.

Museum Security Network

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