Sellin (L) said that the previous owner, the antiquarian Jonathan Hill (C), after reviewing the documentation confirming the provenance and identity of the manuscript, decided to return it to the BUW's collection.
A manuscript containing works of Marcus Tullius Cicero, stolen from Poland in the 1960s or 1970s, has been recovered and returned to the University Library in the southern city of Wrocław.
In the early 20th century, it belonged to the Wrocław City Library collection and after the war it was given to the University Library in Wrocław from where it was stolen between 1961 and 1977.
In 2021, the manuscript was identified by employees of the Wrocław University Library (BUW) in the offer of a New York antique shop. The preserved documentation, in particular the microfilm made in 1954, allowed for a thorough comparative analysis of the lost and found manuscript.
Deputy Culture Minister Jarosław Sellin said at the handing over ceremony held in Warsaw that “this valuable, illuminated Latin manuscript from the mid-15th century” contained three works by Cicero “On old age”, “On friendship” and “Stoic Paradoxes.”
“It was written in Latin, with quotations in ancient Greek, in 1450, most likely in Florence,” added BUW director, Grażyna Piotrowicz.
Sellin said that the previous owner, the antiquarian Jonathan Hill, after reviewing the documentation confirming the provenance and identity of the manuscript, decided to return it to the BUW’s collection.
Hill, who attended the Friday ceremony was presented with a special diploma by the Polish culture ministry.
The ministry’s database contains close to 66,000 lost works of art. Some 600 have been repatriated in recent years.