Book Riot: The Most Successful Book Thief in American History

A wry, unvarnished chronicle of a career in the rare book trade during its last Golden AgeStephen Blumberg, 41, wasn’t anticipating a greeting from his friend and roommate Kenny when he arrived at his home in Ottumwa, Iowa. It was 2 a.m. on March 20, 1990. Blumberg just returned from a trip to St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minnesota.

With Kenny were a number of strangers, and when Blumberg asked who they were and what they were doing at his house, they announced themselves as the FBI and that, upon finishing their warranted search of his home, Blumberg would be arrested.

Behind the doors of 116 N. Jefferson Street, an old, red-bricked home sitting atop a hill, was an entire floor packed with antiques, including records, paintings, laps, and rugs. A second floor of the house — nine rooms total — was stacked ceiling to ground with nearly 24,000 books and manuscripts valued at the time for $20 million dollars.

The recently-released The Last Bookseller: A Life in the Rare Book Trade also includes a portion dedicated to author Gary Goodman’s encounter with Blumberg.

Read the full article at Book Riot.

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