Collector Pleads Guilty and Admits To Stealing Maps Worth About $3M
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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A renowned dealer in antique maps admitted in federal court yesterday to stealing nearly 100 rare maps worth about $3 million in a case that sent librarians and investigators scurrying to review collections and recover stolen treasures.
E. Forbes Smiley III, 50, of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., pleaded guilty to one count of theft of major artwork in the theft of a map from Yale University. He admitted taking 97 maps over eight years from the New York and Boston public libraries, the Newberry Library in Chicago, the Harvard Uni versity library, and the British Library in London.The oldest maps dated back to the 1500s and some are the first records of settlements, territories, and discoveries in America, say experts.
“They are the most important maps imaginable,” a map dealer based in New York, said Graham Arader.
One map was the first to show the name New England and another depicts the most accurate map of Louisiana after the Louisiana Purchase, Mr. Arader said. There also was a map from France, recognizing America for the first time, Mr. Arader said.