Attempted Mineral Theft at NMNH

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Heindrich Jahn, 47, a German pharmaceutical executive, is apprehended and charged with the theft of between $12,000 and $18,000 worth of mineral specimens from a glass-enclosed case in the National Museum of Natural History. A plainclothes museum guard observed Jahn opening the case with a screwdriver. The three specimens involved in the incident are of perosvkite, chrysoberyl, and calaverite. Jahn confessed that "he took the stones to add to a private collection."


  • Jahn, Heindrich
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Dept. of Mineral Sciences
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • Office of Protective Services)


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Wilston Groom, "German Seized in Minerals Theft at Smithsonian," Washington Post, 1975
  • Torch, 6/1975, p. 7

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


May 9, 1975


  • Mineralogy
  • Exhibitions
  • National Collections
  • Theft

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