RCMP stopped John Mark Tillman in his car in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia last year.

On the passenger seat was the discovery of a 1758 letter from General James Wolfe to his brother.

The letter belonged to Dalhousie University in Halifax.

“It’s going to come back to us damaged,” says Dalhousie archivist Michael Mooseberger.

When RCMP searched Tillman’s home in January they found a video tour made by the home owner along with 1600 stolen artifacts and rare books.

“In terms of materials, it was a warehouse,” explains Nova Scotia Crown Prosecutor Shauna MacDonald.“For himself, it was a mini museum.”

On Wednesday, Tillman admitted guilt to 40 charges of possession of stolen property, fraud and theft.

Then he gave a statement to the court.

However, Justice John Murphy said he heard no remorse, “I didn’t hear you say that you’re sorry. I have to bear that in mind.”

“He didn’t, but I think he’s genuinely remorseful,” says defence lawyer Mark Bailey

Justice Murphy then sentenced the stolen artifacts hoarder to nine years with one year credit for time served.

“Thankfully there are not many cases like Mr. Tillman, but for property related offences, this nears the high end of the spectrum,” says Nova Scotia Crown Prosecutor Mark Hereema.

“He’ll be spending significant time in a federal institution,” says Bailey. “Hopefully it will have the effect the judge intended it to have.”

“Considering how many institutions and people he impacted with his crimes,” adds Mooseberger. “I think it’s reasonable.”

According to a catalogue of things seized by RCMP in January, Mount Saint Vincent University seemed to be a principal target and victim of Tillman’s 34 rare books, valued in court at 420 thousand dollars.

Part of the collection was a first edition Charles Darwin, and another book printed in 1491.

By noon Wednesday, Tillman was stripped of everything he owned, a lakefront home worth up to 700 thousand dollars, $200,000 in cash, three older cars, a tractor and unclaimed artifacts.

“Because it was clear to us that given his income, all his property has been amassed through illegitimate means,” explains MacDonald.

Tillman told Justice Murphy that, “My hope is that with the gesture, this pool of money will compensate any legitimate claims.”

He advised prosecutors about potential false claims, be vigilant of opportunists.

Only 125 of the 16 hundred stolen items have been matched with about two dozen owners.    

Wednesday afternoon, police, provincial security officials and tradesmen were at Tillman’s former home, securing and winterizing it.                

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Rick Grant