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Stolen Letter From Columbus Returned to Italy From Library of Congress

Image: Stolen Letter From Columbus Returned to Italy From Library of Congress
A Carabinieri policeman stands, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, next to a book, bottom, reproducing a letter written by Christopher Columbus in 1493 about his discovery of the New World that had been replaced at Florence's Riccardiana library with a forgery, at top, that no one noticed until a few years ago, during a press conference in Rome. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

By    |   Friday, 20 May 2016 09:17 AM

A stolen letter written by Christopher Columbus about the discovery of America has been located in the U.S. Library of Congress and returned to Italy.

CNN reported on Wednesday that the letter of Columbus' 1493 account of America was sent to printers upon his return to Europe and copies were made to spread the word of the discovery.

The website The Local reported that the letter was at some point in the last few decades stolen from Florence's Riccardiana library and replaced with a forged copy. The forgery was first noticed in 2012, stated The Local.

The authentic letter was taken at least 23 years ago, and purchased by a private buyer at auction in 1992 for €400,000, or $449,000 by today's exchange rates, an investigation revealed. The letter was then donated to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. in 2004.

"Preserving records and chronicles of our past, like this letter, is of utmost importance not only to the special agents who investigate these crimes, but to the global community at large," Dan Ragsdale, deputy director for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement from the agency on Wednesday.

"Today's repatriation ceremony signals our continued commitment to these investigations and is a testament to our partnerships, both here and abroad," Ragsdale continued.

Columbus's letter is valued today at €1 million or $1.12 million.

Homeland Security Investigations took part in the investigation while the Smithsonian Institute worked with Italian authorities in the original investigation that started in 2012, noted Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Department of Justice Office of International Affairs, the Library of Congress, and the Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale in Rome also worked on the investigation, U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III said.

"I commend all parties for their efforts in producing this positive outcome – particularly given the historical significance of this document," Oberly said in the ICE statement. "Documents such as the 'Plannck II' Columbus Letter are of significant cultural value as they provide historical facts about critical events in world history, and we are humbled to return this historic document back to its home country."

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A stolen letter written by Christopher Columbus about the discovery of America has been located in the U.S. Library of Congress and returned to Italy.
stolen, letter, christopher columbus
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2016-17-20
Friday, 20 May 2016 09:17 AM
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