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Stolen 400-Year-Old Bible Returns to the US

A 400-year-old Bible that was stolen in the 1990s returns home to Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

The Geneva Bible, published in 1615, was found in the American Pilgrim Museum in Leiden in the Netherlands, reports Turkish news website Daily Sabah. The ancient scripture was among more than 300 artifacts discovered stolen from the Pittsburgh library during a routine insurance appraisal last year.

From a dollar-figure sense, it is not priceless. From a history perspective, it is priceless. —FBI Agent Robert Jones

The rare tome was in the possession of Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs, director of the Dutch museum. Bangs said he paid $1,200 from whom he thought was a “reputable dealer in antiquarian books.”

FBI agent Robert Jones said, “From a dollar-figure sense, it is not priceless. From a history perspective, it is priceless.”

The centuries-old Bible is known as “Breeches Bible” since it includes the story of Adam and Eve wearing breeches to cover their nakedness, reports Smithsonian Magazine. It is similar to the Bibles brought by the Pilgrims who traveled aboard the Mayflower.

Jones said the Bible “is more than a piece of evidence” from the decades-long theft in the library. “I am happy to say it has finally made its way back to its rightful owner here in Pittsburgh.”

During the 1990s heist, former library archivist Gregory Priore allegedly smuggled rare books, maps, plate books, atlases and more to local book dealer John Schulman. The latter allegedly sold the items to unsuspecting buyers. The stolen artifacts are valued at more than $8 million.

The FBI is optimistic the return of the Bible to Carnegie Library will lead to the discovery of the rest of the stolen items. So far, prosecutors in Pittsburgh have already recovered 18 stolen books. Individuals are urged to check on their private collections since they may have unknowingly bought an antique from a dubious seller.

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