Stolen Anglo-Saxon brooch is returned to Rutland
An Anglo-Saxon brooch stolen from Rutland County Museum has been returned a quarter of a century after it went missing.
The bronze-gilt square-headed brooch, originally discovered in Market Overton, was taken from the museum at night in 1995, along with eight other brooches and a Roman gold ring.
The ring was recovered soon after the theft.
Nearly 26 years later the brooch was sent anonymously by post to the Metropolitan Police.
They checked the Art Loss Register, which identified it as the brooch stolen from the Rutland County Museum, and have now returned it.
The brooch is part of a collection belonging to Oakham School and is on loan at Rutland County Museum as a significant piece of local history.
Coun Lucy Stephenson, cabinet member for culture and leisure at Rutland County Council, said: “The theft of these important artefacts was a huge loss to the county, and we are so pleased to have one of the items returned.
"These beautiful pieces of ancient craftsmanship provide an important link to our past. They belong on public display so that people have the opportunity to learn about our rich and unique local history. Special thanks must go to the Metropolitan Police, the Art Loss Register and Zurich, without whom it would not have been possible to secure the return of the brooch.”
James Ratcliffe from the Art Loss Register, said: “We are delighted our records were able to provide the link that meant the brooch could be returned to the museum.
"The detailed long-term records held on our database are an invaluable resource used by law enforcement agencies worldwide in support of their work, and it is great to see the positive impact of that collaboration rather closer to home.”
Rutland County Council is appealing for people to be on the lookout for artefacts that may have been stolen from public collections – including the eight brooches still missing.
Important artefacts without provenance may have been bought innocently by collectors at antique fairs, unaware that they belong to the whole community.
Anyone with information about suspected stolen artefacts or artworks is urged to call police on 101.
Rutland County Museum is open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm. Entry is free for adults and children of all ages.