Over six decades after a 16th-century book was allegedly stolen from a museum in Stuttgart, a New York book collector has been ordered to return it. The “Augsburger Geschlechterbuch” is valued at approximately $600,000.
The book was taken from the museum by a United States Army captain towards the end of World War II. The state of Baden-Wuerttemberg filed a claim for the book’s return after auction house Sotheby’s notified it that the book was offered for auction.
Sotheby’s was tipped off to the book’s past after experts discovered the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart insignia on the book’s cover. Prior to the discovery, the museum believed that the book was destroyed in a fire towards the end of World War II. Baden-Wuerttemberg’s State Secretary for Science, Research and the Arts, Dietrich BIrk, is “delighted” that the book will be returned, and has stated that he “hope[s] the return will happen soon.”