Missing antique books identified by distinctive crest on spines

Valuable antique books which went missing during restoration of Carton House were identified due to the distinctive Fitzgerald family crest printed on their spines, a trial heard.

Andrew Shannon, aged 51, has gone on trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court accused of unlawfully possessing 67 of the books after they were allegedly found during a search of his home.

The books, including a 1660 edition of the King James Bible, of which only six exist, went missing after being put in storage during restoration of the Kildare country house.

Mr Shannon, of Willans Way, Ongar, Dublin, pleaded not guilty to possession of the books at his home while knowing or being reckless as to whether they were stolen on March 3, 2007.

Monika Leech, prosecuting, told a jury yesterday that it was not the State’s case that Mr Shannon stole the books himself but that he had them in his possession. She said the books were found when gardaí searched his home in March 2007.

Conor Mallon gave evidence that he has worked at Carton House since 1994 overseeing its restoration. The books were put in boxes and stored away. It was in 2006, when the process of restoring them to the library began, that Mr Mallon noticed books were missing. He went to the gardaí.

He later identified several books at a garda station. He said he identified them by the Fitzgerald family crest on their spine and inside cover.

The trial continues.


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