NEWS

RCMP show rare art seized from Halifax-area house

01/25/2013 10:24 EST | Updated 03/27/2013 05:12 EDT
RCMP in Nova Scotia say they don't yet know the value of the 1,300 rare books, antiques, documents, paintings and other items seized from a suburban home outside Halifax earlier this week.

Officers have been combing through one-of-a-kind documents and artwork from a house in Fall River. They believe the goods were stolen from several universities, museums and private collections.

RCMP Sgt. Colin MacLean said investigators have managed to price a few of the antiques, such as an 1891 painting of a schooner by W.H. Yorke, worth between $30,000 and $40,000. A set of three books about the history of Nova Scotia are thought to be worth between $4,000 and $5,000.

"Just with the small number of items here, there's a significant value to the items here — I would say in the range of at least several hundred thousand dollars," MacLean told reporters on Friday.

"Some items are very valuable, some items are just significant to the people who lost them and not of any huge value."

Some of the more unusual items include a suit of armour that was a movie prop and a gas mask thought to be from the First World War.

MacLean said the initial investigation determined most of the items are from Atlantic Canada, including P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador. The majority of items are from collections throughout Nova Scotia.

John Mark Tillmann, the owner of the Fall River house at the centre of the police investigation, has been charged with four counts of possession of stolen property. Police believe Tillmann amassed the collection over two decades.

RCMP are now working with local universities and other experts to determine the value and owners of many of the seized items. The investigation is expected to take several weeks to complete based on the volume of seized items.

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