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

Listing of Latest Stolen Books

Published 20 May 2019

A General History Of The Robberies and Murders Of the most notorious Pyrates...[Vol. II titled The History Of The Pyrates...]. 2 Volumes.

8vo. pp. 11 p.l., 17-320; 7 p.l., 413 [pp. 145-160 omitted in pagination & pp. 257-272 repeated], [3]ads. 2 (of 3) engraved plates by B. Cole in Vol. I & folding engraved map in Vol. II. woodcut ornaments & initials. contemporary calf, rebacked, endpapers preserved (paper in Vol. I & map in Vol. II lightly embrowned, a few scattered spots in Vol. II). London: Printed for Ch. Rivington, J.Lacy, and J.Stone, 1724 & London: Printed for, and Sold by T.Woodward, [1726 or 1728].

[...] Read more

Published 07 May 2019

The Birds of Australia

Volume 2 of 3

[...] Read more

Published 17 April 2019

THE FLORENTINE HISTORIE. Written in the Italian tongue, by Nicholo Macchiavelli, Citizen and Secretarie of Florence. And translated into English by T. B. [Thomas Bedingfield] Esquire.

FIRST ENGLISH EDITION. Folio. (11.1 x 7.5 inches). x11,222pp. Lacking last, blank, leaf. Decorated with woodcut engraved ornamental title page and engraved head and tailpieces. Tiny (3mm deep) chip to the fore edge of the title page and the first few leaves are just a little browned but overall a lo vely clean and crisp copy with good margins. Finely bound in recent 'Grolier' period style full calf binding. Spine with five raised bands. Compartments ruled, lettered and fully decorated in gilt. Burgundy title label, gilt. Triple blind ruled border on boards, surrounding a triple blind ruled panel which frames an elaborate decorative onlay and gilt design. A lovely copy in a fine period style binding of this rare work.

[...] Read more

Published 10 Jan. 2019

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 27 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