Authorities at All Hallows College in Dublin insist they believe items missing from the college are valued in the thousands rather than millions.
College president Fr Patrick McDevitt had confirmed to The Irish Times that a Garda investigation was under way into missing items at the college. It is now understood that the inquiry also involves Interpol.
Fr McDevitt told this newspaper, as reported yesterday, that the value of the items was estimated “in the thousands”.
However, rare books valuer and expert Owen Felix O’Neill, who last February was asked by the college to price items, said in his opinion the loss of the items amounted to “quite a few million”.
In a brief statement last night, All Hallows director of marketing, communications and public relations Carolanne Henry said items reported missing to the Garda included a collection of 15 framed prints valued by Adam's at €3,000-€5,000 each. The engravings, by 18th-century Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi, depict views of Rome.
Ms Henry also said seven books were missing, most of which would be valued at €50 – €2,500 each.
Two other volumes, dating from 1484, are believed to have a value of €3,000 to €6,000.
She said other items referred to in the article in this newspaper yesterday, including a George Bernard Shaw manuscript, Lavery correspondence and Jackie Kennedy books, “may have existed at All Hallows 50-plus years ago, on Fr [Joseph] Leonard’s death, but not today”.
“We have no reason to suspect misappropriation as suggested by the article,” she said.