Barry H. Landau has rubbed elbows with presidents, helped plan inaugurations, and claims one of the largest collections of Oval Office memorabilia outside museums and presidential libraries. His Manhattan apartment includes a collection of china from Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration and a picture of Landau kissing John F. Kennedy’s dog Clipper.
Police say he tried to expand that collection by pilfering dozens of rare documents from the Maryland Historical Society on Saturday. Landau, whose connections reportedly bridge the Washington, New York and Hollywood elite, now sits in Central Booking and is being held without bail.
The artifacts police say he and 24-year-old Jason Savedoff tried to take during a Saturday of reviewing historical papers at the Monument Street nonprofit’s archives include documents signed by Abraham Lincoln, presidential inaugural ball invitations and programs, a commemoration of the Statue of Liberty, and a commemoration of the Washington Monument.
The items range in value from $100,000 to $500,000, and are just four of the 60 documents police say the men planned to steal, meaning the total value could be in the millions.
The article goes on to say that this sort of crime is on the rise what with things the Antique Road Show, Pawn Stars, the popularity of online auction sites, Ebay and the like. An original document by a historical figure like Lincoln can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to a collector, and unfortunately a lot of these documents have been changing hands lately. What’s unfortunate is that the increased security measures make it harder for all legitimate researchers.
If he’s guilty I hope they throw the book at him.
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