Stolen book sparks international dispute

first_imgA book worth £15 000 stolen from Christ Church Library has been found in Japan. The 1552 pocket edition of De Humani Corporis Fabrica by the Belgian anatomist Andreas Vesalius is the only book of 73 not recovered from a theft in the early 1990s. The books were all stolen by Simon Heighes, a lecturer who smuggled books out one by one, and later served two years in prison for his offence. The University traced the path of the Vesalius which was first sold on to Sotheby’s by Heighes and bought by an American book-dealer. It was later bought by Shoten Ohi in Tokyo before being privately sold to a Japanese university. Ohi repeatedly ignored letters from Christ Church before he was persuaded to attempt a retrieval of the book. “I’d love to resolve the problem but I don’t like the way Oxford have treated me,” he said. “They treat me like a criminal.” The dispute has turned into a bitter row between the University and Japan. David Morris, Oxford University’s representative in Japan, said: “The case brings shame on the Japanese educational establishment.” Nihon Shika Daigaku, a wealthy private university of dentistry, has acknowledged that it does have a copy of the 1552 book although it has not been confirmed that it once belonged to Christ Church.”ARCHIVE: 0th Week MT2003last_img read more