Million-dollar Manuscripts Are Lost and Finally Found


A rare book dealer in Cambridge, Massachusetts, recently reported that two handwritten manuscripts of short stories by the late Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges—valued at nearly one million dollars—had been lost, and possibly stolen, only to later find that the manuscripts had simply been misplaced. The stories, "Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote" and "The Library of Babel," were included in the author’s short story collection Ficciones, which was first published in English in 1962 by Grove Press.

John Wronoski, the owner of Lame Duck Books, took the works to a book fair in Hamburg, Germany, in early November 2006. Upon his return, on November 16, a store employee believed that the manuscripts were missing, and Wronoski immediately filed reports with the Cambridge Police Department and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol). After three weeks of searching, Wronoski eventually discovered the works tucked inside a plastic sleeve behind a Robert Mapplethorpe photo that he had also taken to the fair.

The manuscripts, which total only twenty pages, are listed for sale in the store’s catalogue for nine hundred and fifty thousand dollars.