The Inside Story of the $8 Million Heist from the Carnegie Library
Our team understands the complex and varied needs of institutional and corporate clients. Between our Appraisal and Advisory departments, we can create bespoke plans, working within institutional missions and processes to ensure their collections are properly insured, protected and cultivated.
We are proud to have advised the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh over the last few years to ensure that their beautiful rare book collection is appropriately insured and worked with law enforcement on the recovery of many volumes for the city of Pittsburgh.
“In the fall of 2016, library officials decided it was time to audit the collection again, and hired the Pall Mall Art Advisors to do the appraisal. Kerry-Lee Jeffrey ….. began their audit on April 3, 2017, a Monday, using the 1991 inventory as a guide. Within an hour, there was trouble. Jeffrey was looking for Thomas McKenney and James Hall’s History of the Indian Tribes of North America. This landmark work included 120 hand-colored lithographs, the result of a project that began in 1821 with McKenney’s attempt to document in full color the dress and spiritual practices of Native Americans who had visited Washington, D.C. to arrange treaties with the government. The three-volume set of folios, produced between 1836 and 1844, is large and gorgeous and would be a highlight in any collection. But the Carnegie Library’s version had been hidden on a top shelf at the end of a row. When Jeffrey discovered why, her stomach dropped. “Once a plump book filled with plates,” she would recall, “the sides had caved in on themselves.” All those stunning illustrations had been cut from the binding.”
Read more at Smithsonian Magazine
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