Skip to main content

The League and its national associations have a long history of preventing book theft and of catching book thieves, both at national and international level. This also applies to stolen maps as well as documents, manuscripts and other related material. We work closely with booksellers, libraries, museums, the police, national governments and other institutions. Our intention is that thieves will have nowhere to dispose of their ill gotten goods.

This database is for books reported stolen after 15th June 2010.

TO ENTER OR REPORT A THEFT: If an ILAB bookseller, please login with your bookseller login and enter under "ADD A STOLEN BOOK" in the backend.
All other enquiries and help, please email:



Message from INTERPOL JERUSALEM - Fake Jewish Books in circulations since 2007

20 February 2019: ILAB has been informed by the INTERPOL Jerusalem branch of a series of fake Jewish books in circulation since 2007. 

Please read the information below and contact the authorities if any suspicious material appears in the book trade. 

INTERPOL Jerusalem (Internet) (I-24/7) 
Tel: +97225429275 

INTERPOL General Secretariat, Command and Coordination Centre (Internet) (I-24/7) 
+ 33 4 72 44 76 76 


In 2007 an Israeli citizen was caught by the Israeli Customs Authority while attempting to smuggle from Jordan to Israel fake antiquities: "books" made of lead, imprinted with Jewish motifs and written in a mix of ancient Hebrew, Greek and Latin letters. Since then, the internet has been flooded by similar objects and other types of "Jewish" books, and there have been additional smuggling attempts. These fake objects are also for sale in the Jordanian market, where such books are offered for sale to tourists. 

The Antiquities Theft Prevention Unit (ATPU) of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) noticed a massive increase of the phenomena since the beginning of the civil war in Syria. During the last five years, the ATPU has been dealing with, at least, one book offer each week. Most of the books' background stories talks claim that it was found in Syria under synagogue remains or in a secret cave in an unknown archaeological site. Many times, the owners of the books also state that the items were already smuggled out of Syria to either Jordan or Turkey by Syrian refugees - to make it sound more available. During the last year the ATPU were notified by members of Jewish communities in Europe who were offered to purchase such books. 

Since 2007, and more often since the beginning of the civil war in Syria, the Antiquities Theft Prevention Unit (ATPU) of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), received hundreds of offers from Syrian, Jordanian, Turkish and Israeli nationals to buy these lead-made books and other fake books of   various types. The books are made of lead, paper, parchment or another material. They are all imprinted with Jewish motifs, mostly copied from known ancient Jewish coin motifs: Menorahs (6-branched candelabrum), palm trees and branches, Shofar (ram's horn), and also with a Star of David (which became a Jewish symbol only around the 18th century AD). The lead-made books are also imprinted with text: In the lead books the text is in gibberish, written in a mix of ancient Hebrew, Greek and Latin letters with no actual meaning. In the paper and parchment books the texts are written only with Hebrew letters - usually modern letters, with some actual words but with no logical sentences and or syntax. Most of the books are heavily decorated, many times with gold-like Jewish motifs to increase their attraction. 

After the first successful interception of the smuggled lead book, the IAA approached several experts in order to examine the book's authenticity. 

All the lab tests pointed out that the lead is ancient - dated to 11th-13th century AD, and that the raw material came from lead mines in Sardinia. Yet, palaeographic examination of the letters and texts showed that the books are fakes. Moreover, there is no known parallel object which has been found in scientific archaeological excavation. The conclusion of this examination was that the lead was looted from an ancient building's roof tiles or pipes, then melted down and remade as a "Jewish" ancient book. At times, in order to increase the credibility of a book, it is offered with some authentic low quality and low value ancient coins which were allegedly found with the book. 

Jewish Books

Thefts of Collections

Thefts Of Collections

Thefts at the Swedish Library at Vitterhetsakademiens, Stockholm

The Swedish Library at Vitterhetsakademiens in Stockholm has informed ILAB on the 26th September 2018, that during a recent inventory project of the library's rare Numismatic book collection, located at The Royal Coin Cabinet - National Museum of Economy, it was discovered that several books are missing, most probably stolen.

The case has been reported to the police.

ILAB-affiliated booksellers as well as book buyers are asked to be vigilant and inform ILAB or the directors of the library if any of the stolen objects re-appear in the book trade. 

See full list of stolen books enclosed (PDF).

Contact Details Library:
Annika Peurell
Head Librarian 

Enhetschef Vitterhetsakademiens bibliotek
Riksantikvarieämbetet/Swedish National Heritage Board

Box 5405
11484 Stockholm
Telefon: +46 (0)8 5191 8338

Contact Details ILAB:
Angelika Elstner
ILAB Secretariat 

[...] Read more
Thefts Of Collections

Update July 2018: Thefts - Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Many will be aware of a large theft from the Oliver Room at the Carnegie Library which was covered extensively by the press in the United States and the United Kingdom. The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) urges booksellers and collectors to read the enclosed list of items stolen and immediately contact the offices of either ILAB or the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) if you are able to help in any way to recover the stolen books. 

ILAB affiliated booksellers are expected to adhere to a strict Code of Usages and Customs to which deviations are not tolerated.

John Schulman of Caliban Books has resigned his membership and therefore is no longer a member of the ABAA or an ILAB affiliate. 

Contact details ILAB:

Contact details ABAA:

ILAB will communicate a further update in due course.


Carnegie Library Pittsburgh_Loss Report for ABAA and ILAB 

Carnegie Library Pittsburgh - Collection Markings vs2 (1)

[...] Read more
Thefts Of Collections

Books stolen from Senate House Library, University of London

Books are from the collection of Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence (1837-1914). They were stamped while in his possession, usually in two ways. One stamp recorded the accession number, corresponding to the number in Durning-Lawrence’s accessions register. The other stamp impressed the letters 'D S' in mauve, with a distance of 15 mm between the D and the S. These letters indicate location, and correspond to the numbers in the 'dis. Shelf’ column of Durning-Lawrence’s accessions register. Senate House Library A general reference to Durning-Lawrence library markings appears in: K.E. Attar, “Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence: A Baconian and his Books”, The Library, 7th ser. 5 (2004), 294-315. Senate House Library markings present on the books are (1) a label, ‘Durning-Lawrence Library’, measuring about 10 x 57 mm, pasted on the front pastedown; (2) a University of London Library bookplate, 118 x 99 mm, on the front free endpaper.

A list of sixteen titles formerly reported to ILAB is incomplete. This report lists the extra books and provides an update on the former list. See PDF for download. 

Reference to a ‘Spanish list’ is to a list of books advertised for sale by Soler y Llach, Barcelona.


[...] Read more
Thefts Of Collections

Stolen memorabilia relating to the late Pierre Mendes- France, former French Prime Minister

Stolen in West London on 24 th April 2018, memorabilia relating to the late Pierre Mendes-
France, former French Prime Minister (valued collectively at £47,000), including:
- RAF identity tags and identity card
- RAF log book
- French Air Force log book
- 5 letters signed by Winston Churchill
- Personal diary
Crime reference 6519743/18
LSAD ref. 54558
Any information about this object contact DC Colin Moore (email:

[...] Read more
Thefts Of Collections

Theft Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Latest update 17 April 2018:
Detectives from the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, located in Pittsburgh PA, are currently investigating the theft of multiple rare books, folios, maps, plates, etc., which occurred over an extended period of time.
Many of these items may have stamps or other markings reflecting ownership by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and would also not likely be marked for deaccession.
A number of these items may have also been sold by or through Pittsburgh area booksellers.
ILAB members are being alerted about the theft.


- Listing of all stolen items (Excel), reflecting descriptive information, i.e., author, title and description, is also attached herein. A smaller number of the listed items are portions of items, such as maps, plates or drawings, removed from an otherwise intact item.

- The library's collection markings and bookplates (PDF)

Should any ILAB member identify having purchased or otherwise having knowledge of the disposition or current location of any of the listed items, detectives request one of the following Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office detectives be contacted:

Det. Fran Laquatra                           
(412) 388-5305                          

Det. Perann Tansmore                  
(412) 388-5307                            

Det. Lyle Graber                               
(412) 388-5316                          

Detectives do not have reason to believe that anyone who might have purchased any of these items was aware that these items had been reported stolen.

[...] Read more

Listing of Latest Stolen Books

Published 05 Nov. 2018

Freie Künste. Fachblatt für Lithographie, Steindruckerei und Buchdruckerei.

“Freie Künste. Fachblatt für Lithographie, Steindruckerei und Buchdruckerei. 8 Bände aus den Jahren 1892 bis 1913. Wien, Heim, 1892-1913. 4°. HLwd. d. Zt. (3) u. Lwd. d. Zt. (5). (ehem. Bibl.-Expl.) Mit zahlreichen Textillustrationen und Buchschmuck im Wiener Jugendstil, dazu ca. 150 überwiegend far bige Tafeln mit verschiedensten Reklame- und Werbeentwürfen, meist in Farblithographie.
Außerordentlich seltene Zeitschrift aus der Blütezeit des Wiener Jugendstils. Hier vorhanden die Ausgaben der Jahrgänge: 1892, 1899, 1903, 1905, 1906, 1909, 1911 u. 1913. - Etwas gebräunt u. mit Mittelfalz bzw. vertikaler Faltspur, Jg. 1906 gelockert, Beilagen nicht koll., Jgge. 1892 u. 1899 ohne die graph. Beilagen, sonst gut erhalten.

[...] Read more

Published 02 Nov. 2018

Handschrift auf Pergament mit anhängenden Siegeln zweier Bischöfe.

Größe, gefaltet ca. 10 x 20 cm. Die Urkunde war Teil eines Konvoluts mit Handschriften (Auktion 27, Katalognummer 125)

[...] Read more

Published 12 Oct. 2018

La Pucelle d'Orléans. Poème héroï-comique en dix-huit chants

In-12 de 252 pp., maroquin rouge, filets dorés sur les plats, dos lisse orné d'un décor à la grotesque doré, pièce de titre de maroquin vert, coupes et bordures décorées, tranches dorées (reliure de l'époque).
Orné de 18 figures libres. Bel exemplaire en maroquin de l'époque.

Published 10 Aug. 2018

EMMA: A Novel

First edition. Three volumes. 12mo. Beautifully bound to style by Aquarius of London. Full speckled calf, double ruled in gilt to the upper and lower boards. Five raised bands, elaborate gilt decorated compartments, title and volume numbers in gilt to red and green morocco labels to the spine. Plain endpapers, gilt inner dentelles. Original half title present to volume three. Faded ownership name to the top edge of title page of volume II and the occasional short closed tear and finger mark throughout. A very attractive example.

[...] Read more

Published 11 July 2018

Memoire sur le Pais des Cafres et la Terre de Nuyts [and] Second memoire sur le Pais des Cafres et la Terre de Nuyts

Two volumes in one, small octavo, pp. 84 + 78, [ii]; later calf. First title-page a little dusty and with two early signatures, light marginal water stain on a few leaves in the second work.