Stolen 400-year-old Bible to be returned to Carnegie Library

A 400-year-old Bible stolen from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has been recovered and will be returned.

The FBI displayed the Geneva Bible, published in 1615, on Thursday for the first time since it was discovered missing in 2017, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

The Bible was one of 321 items stolen from the library’s rare books room, known as the Oliver Room, for a total loss of more than $8 million worth of material.

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It was purchased in June 2015 for $1,200 by unsuspecting officials at the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum in the Netherlands.

But Jeremy Bangs, director of the Dutch museum, read about the stolen goods when the theft was made public in March 2018 and contacted the Carnegie Library, the newspaper reported.

The FBI used a custom-built padded box to ship the Bible back to the U.S. and it will soon be returned to the library.

The Geneva Bible is known as the “Breeches Bible” because the third chapter of Genesis describes the breeches woven into leaves by Adam and Eve to cover their naked bodies. 

Robert Allan Jones, special agent in charge of the Pittsburgh FBI office, said the Geneva Bible is similar to one known to be in possession of the pilgrims aboard the Mayflower in 1620. 

Jones said the FBI’s art teams continues to hunt down the other stolen goods.

A spokesman for Allegheny County District Attorney, Stephen A. Zappala, would not comment on who sold the Geneva Bible to the Dutch museum.

Sir Isaac Newton’s book on the principles of mathematics, valued at $1 million, was also stolen from the library.

Detectives had reportedly tracked down 24 complete books and 18 cannibalized items when they searched a warehouse belonging to John Schulman, the owner of a bookstore near the Carnegie Library.

Greg Priore, the sole archivist who was in charge of Carnegie’s rare books room, is charged with stealing the items and giving them to Schulman to sell through his business, the newspaper reported.