If you are an American who travels around Germany.....you will come to eventually face up to a cop-check-point. There are varying types of check-points. Some are just to check your vehicle itself....tires, lights out, or possibly alterations to the vehicle which are illegal. Some are just for checking booze situations on Friday or Saturday night. And some are for customs folks to see if you have drugs, illegally imported smokes, or transporting refugees.
Occasionally, cops will report that they found something of value, with no real explanation. This came up today via Focus.
They noted back in August this checkpoint had occurred over near Lubeck, and the guy had this Lutheran Bible from 1634 in the car. Ownership became a question, and the cops confiscated the Bible.
So far, they've been looking for the original owner and had no luck. What the experts say about this particular 1634 copy? It's rare....very rare....that one comes up in an auction. They think it's been twenty years in Germany since one of these 1634 copies was sold off.
The guy that the cops took this Bible from? He's apparently not saying much or cooperating. He can't explain where it came from, and no one has reported any 1634 copy missing.
The explanation? I sat and pondered over this story, and rare manuscripts. Around Germany, there are several thousand people who have private collections of art, statues, and books. You'd think that these guys would have it in a locked safe or vault. Well, that's just not the case in Germany. There are tens of thousands of high-value documents....sitting in plain eyesight....in some guy's den or his office library.
In Wiesbaden, we have a nifty book store which only handle antique-type books. You could walk up and want a early 1800s book on French poetry, and they probably have such a book.
My guess is that some guy had this 1634 copy of the Lutheran Bible in their personal library and simply haven't noticed it missing (among the thousand-odd books that might be sitting there still). It's an interesting story.....but only if the rightful owner comes out to say he's the owner. And how will he present his case? Well, that's something that I wondered about. Most guys aren't going to have a receipt for things like this, and maybe it's been passed down from generation to generation. You just don't know.