Dealer Stole Rare Maps

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/5508778/5508779" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Rare map dealer Edward Smiley admits to stealing millions of dollars worth of rare maps from libraries around the country.


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

Talk about a mapquest. Edward Forbes Smiley III pleaded guilty this week. Mr. Smiley is a map dealer, esteemed among collectors and libraries for locating rare and valuable maps. His secret? He stole them. Mr. Smiley told a federal court in New Haven on Thursday that he stole 97 antique maps over the past seven years, from libraries and collections in New Haven, Boston, New York, Houston, Chicago, and London. The maps are worth more than $3 million.

Mr. Smiley was arrested last June when a surveillance video captured him removing a map from Yale University's Rare Book Library. Police found his Exacto knife on the floor, though he says the knife had nothing to do with that day's theft. Wormholes convicted him. Tiny wormholes on the map exactly matched the books that had contained them. The rarest map he took was a 1524 drawing of the New World by the conquistador Hernan Cortes. Now, that's a map you won't find next to the Slim Jims at a truck stop.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from