NEARLY ten 17th-century works by Galileo Galilei are believed to have been stolen from the National Library of Spain.
A report, initiated by the Ministry of Culture, confirms that there are five ‘Galileos’ missing from the Madrid library but believe as many as nine may be lost.
The Ministry of Culture recommended that the search for “five books authored by Galileo Galilei should be sped up as much as possible . . . in order to report their disappearance immediately to the state security forces or bodies”.
They added that the research should as well be extended to other volumes that have not been found since 2014 or to other books that have been missing from earlier dates.
The documents state that the library has a list of 14,809 missing works. Of these, 54 published before 1830 are worth more than €5,000.
After receiving these recommendations, the director of the National Library, Ana Santos, hit back that the Ministry of Culture’s report was ‘full of inaccuracies’.
It comes as after it emerged that the library in Madrid took more than four years to report the theft of a pamphlet by the Italian astronomer and continued to display a forgery the thief had left behind.
The disappearance of Sidereus Nuncius, one of the most valuable works in its catalogue which dates back to 1610, is what prompted the government investigation into missing items from the Madrid Library.
The book is the first published systematic scientific study of celestial bodies using a telescope and is thought to be worth over €800,000.