‘A Notorious Gentleman Thief’

Map thefts are a part of a greater whole: the theft of antiquarian books. The Guardian profiles a book thief who has managed to elude capture, William Simon Jacques, “one of a handful of highly intelligent, well-educated criminals who operate in the somewhat murky world of international antiquarian book traders, collectors and curators. They successfully plunder priceless tomes, manuscripts and ancient maps, while the players in this closed world — the national and international libraries, the dealers and the victims themselves — largely remain silent about what is going on.”

Forbes Smiley and Farhad Hakimzadeh are also name-checked; also revealed is the fact that Hakimzadeh, before he raided the British Library and unbeknownst to the Library, “had stolen almost £100,000 worth of books from the Royal Asiatic Society 12 years before. But in an out-of-court settlement, which included a gagging clause on both sides, Hakimzadeh paid the RAS £75,000 and details were not sent around the international library alert system.”

Via MapHist and Tony’s map thefts page.