400-year-old Shakespeare Volume Recovered Intact After Theft

Posted on July 12, 2008

A volume of Shakespeare's works worth millions of dollars which was stolen from a museum ten years ago has been recovered. The 400 year old book is still intact.

Police have recovered a 400-year-old volume of Shakespeare stolen in England a decade ago and worth millions of dollars (pounds) after a man walked into a library in Washington, D.C., and asked to have it authenticated.


The mystery began to unravel two weeks ago when a man brought the First Folio to Washington's Folger Shakespeare Library and asked to have it verified as genuine. The man claimed to be an international businessman who had bought the volume in Cuba. "We have people come to us from time to time with questions about books," said Garland Scott, head of external relations at the library, one of the world's leading centers of Shakespearean research. "It's not every day that someone walks in with a First Folio."

Scott said library staff members soon had their suspicions raised. The book was largely intact, but the end boards and some early pages -- which bore marks that would have identified them as the Durham copy -- had been removed.

What an idiot. A first Folio is too recognizable by experts to be sold on the open market. The museum staff asked to keep the book to authenticate it, then called the FBI. The thief is now in jail, where he belongs. The Folio is in a climate-controlled room at the Folger. Somehow the museum director convinced the FBI that the volume was safer there than in an FBI evidence room full of drugs and murder weapons.

More from Writers Write