By Hannah Johnson
Last weekend, a signed first edition of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez was stolen from the Bogota Book Fair, where the book was on display in a locked cabinet. After a “labored pursuit,” according to the director of Colombia’s national police, Rodolfo Palomino, Colombian police recovered the book in downtown Bogota. However, police are still searching for the the identities of the thieves.
Estimates of the book’s value vary between $23,000 and $60,000. This first edition is one of 8,000, printed in 1967. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of Colombia’s leading authors. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, and his work is renowned internationally. Since his death in 2014, the value of his signed first editions has increased.
The New York Times reports that the penalty for the theft would be 6 to 20 years in prison, according to Colombia’s chief prosecutor’s office.
Prior to the discovery of the stolen book, the owner, Alvaro Castillo, pledged to “donate the book to the National Library of Colombia after an outpouring of anger over its theft.”
“This book no longer belongs to me, this book belongs to my country…from the moment that so many Colombians condemned this action, the book belonged to us all,” Castillo said.