This database is for books reported stolen after 15th June 2010. Books reported before this date are, for technical reasons, listed with minimal detail. For fuller information about these items please contact your local ILAB dealer or National Association or ILAB direct. ILAB dealers, please login for full database.

Cette base de données concerne les livres signalés volés depuis le 15 juin 2010. Pour les livres signalés avant cette date, veuillez contacter votre libraire LILA ou Association Nationale. Pour les libraires de la LILA, veuillez vous connecter pour accéder à la base complète.

The Girolamini Thefts in the Press: August 2013 to January 2014

Click here to find a press review with links to articles and TV features from Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, UK, the United States, Australia and Vietnam

Latest news about the Girolamini Thefts (posted October 2013)

More than a year has passed since the discovery of the thefts and forgeries of books from the Girolamini Library. According to the judges, the director of the Library, Marino Massimo De Caro was primarily responsible for the thefts. He was arrested and convicted to seven years in prison in the first of several trials that he will have to face. This trial also involved his accomplices. The trial against several booksellers (including 3 ILAB affiliates), who according to the prosecutors have helped him in selling the stolen items, has been postponed to an as yet unspecified date.

ILAB and ALAI are very concerned about two major issues. First of all, the Italian authorities have not or cannot satisfy our repeated requests to provide us with a list of the stolen books, probably because such a list does not appear to exist. As the trial sentence indicated, De Caro himself has confessed to destroying all of the paper catalog cards recording the stolen books, and apparently no other inventory exists. This brings up the prospect that books from the Library may surface on the market for years to come, with little or no warning that they have been stolen. ILAB maintains a database of stolen books but apparently these books seem destined never to be recorded there. We strongly urge our affiliates to perform due diligence when buying books from an unknown source.

The second issue is that apparently the Italian authorities are not concerned with the production of the forgeries that De Caro has disseminated throughout the antiquarian book marketplace, especially in the United States. Our worry is that, if nobody will investigate further in this field, we will never know who physically produced those forged books, how many are still circulating, and, last but not least, how they were manufactured, in order that we might be better able to recognize them in the future. The apparent disinterest in investigating this process brings up the frightening prospect that these forgeries might continue to proliferate and appear on the market long after the authorities are no longer interested in the stolen books themselves.

(Fabrizio Govi, ALAI President)

Massive Thefts at the Girolamini Library in Naples (posted July 2012)

Dear Colleagues,

Please read the following message carefully: it concerns a massive theft from an important library in Italy. As soon as more information becomes available we will inform you. Committee member Norbert Donhofer and Italian President Fabrizio Govi are working very hard to get all the necessary information, but in the meantime we must advise everyone to be careful and cautious.

Shortly after the reopening of the Girolamini Library in Naples  in April of 2012 the Director, Marino Massimo de Caro, announced that 1500 books were missing (April 17). On April 20 the Library was  closed by the Naples Public Prosecutor. Marino Massimo de Caro has been suspended and was investigated for embezzlement. On May 18, 1000 books, 240 of which have ownership stamps from the Girolamini Library were found in storage in Massimo Marino de Caro’s home city of Verona, and on May 24 Mr. de Caro was arrested on the charge of embezzlement along with four others; a search warrant is out for a fifth. In the meantime Massimo Marino de Caro has confessed to the theft of thousands of books from the library and is cooperating with police in tracing them.

A number of stolen items from the library have been confiscated by the authorities in Munich (16 items), London (28 items), New York and Tokyo (uncertain numbers).

According to what is currently known and what Massimo Marino de Caro has confessed so far, it is very likely that the number of stolen books from the Girolamini Library is higher than 1500 but no definitive list of missing items has been published by Italian authorities so far. It appears also to be clear that the stolen books were spread out via the trade in several countries, in both Europe and elsewhere.

A number of the books can be recognized by a red library stamp (with a Madonna in the center) but not all books bear this stamp.

Italian authorities have requested assistance from the public prosecutor’s offices in several countries so far. They have also asked Interpol headquarters at Lyon, France, for assistance.

We would therefore strongly advise our members to check their purchases of – mostly – Italian books from the 15th to the 17th centuries if these volumes were purchased  in the time period between  January to May of 2012.

We will provide our members with a list of stolen books from the Girolamini Library as soon as Italian authorities have published such a document. This is the direct contact to the Italian authorities.

Carabinieri Comando Tutela Patrimonio Culturale
Reparto operative

Via Anicia 22

00155 Roma – Italia

phone +39 06 585631 / fax +39 06 58563200 /

The responsible officer in charge is Colonello Raffaele Mancino. This gentleman knows who we are, what we are doing and he greatly appreciates our efforts.

Please keep also in mind that the stolen books were not only spread out to auction houses and the trade by Marino Massimo de Caro and his helpers, who have been arrested meanwhile, but also by other persons who simply had been used by De Caro and his gang. It is therefore thinkable that trustworthy persons have offered books to you!

Arnoud Gerits (ILAB Immediate Past President)

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