Antique book returned to the National Library of Sweden

The ALR is pleased to announce that an antique book belonging to the National Library of Sweden has been returned with thanks to Christie’s diligent collaboration and the kind generosity of their consignor.

The book in question is a first edition of Daniel Bernoulli’s Hydrodynamica, sive de viribus et motibus fluidorum commentarii, published in Strasbourg in 1738.

The book was identified as stolen when offered for sale in London towards the end of 2022. It was withdrawn from sale and Christie’s safe-guarded the book until negotiations with their consignor were concluded.

Stolen books can be notoriously difficult to identify. Since books are printed in multiple copies, researchers at the ALR have to rely on unique information to confirm a match. In this case, the ALR had been supplied with copy-specific information by the library which enabled it to compare images supplied by Christie’s and confirm the match.

The recovered book is one of sixty-two books stolen from the National Library of Sweden over several years. In 2004, it was discovered that a former library employee had stolen a large number of the Library’s older and more valuable texts, slowly taking them between 1995 and 2004. Since then the Library has been active in tracking down and securing the missing volumes and so far, they have recovered 18. The stolen books were registered on the Art Loss Register database in 2012 so that they could assist in locating and recovering the books.

The book has now been returned from London to its home in Stockholm so it can once again be enjoyed by the wider public. Please see the image below where Greger Bergvall, one of the librarians, proudly holds the returned book.