Copernicus Tempts Thieves Worldwide


BookWire has an interesting Story on the rash of rare book thefts. Keep your eye on the rare books room!

Copies of one of the world\'s rarest and most valuable books have been disappearing a rash of mysterious thefts that have perplexed police from the former Soviet Union to the United States.

At least seven of the 260 known copies of the 1543 edition of ``De revolutionibus\'\' have disappeared in recent years, including one copy each from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and the Mittag-Leffler Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, according to Owen Gingerich, a professor at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. Five copies remain missing.
Some police have speculated that a ring of thieves and collectors is behind the rash of thefts or that the books may have been stolen on some collectors\' orders.

However, Gingerich says there is no evidence to suggest an international conspiracy to steal copies of the treatise, which describes Copernicus\' then-revolutionary theory that the Sun, not the Earth, was at the center of the universe.