Fate of Stolen Snuffbox Revealed by FBI

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact photos@si.edu.

Narrow Your Results


Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation announces the discovery that the $125,000 gold-and-diamond snuffbox made for Catherine the Great, stolen from the National Museum of American Art, now known as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in September 1979, had been stripped of its diamonds and melted down in 1980. This was uncovered during the FBI's investigation "Operation Greenthumb," into Washington, D.C. area gold and silver dealers who allegedly buy stolen items. About 25 of the 200+ diamonds were recovered.


  • United States Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • National Museum of American Art (U.S.)
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum


Chronology of Smithsonian History


Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 371, Box 4, "The Torch," January 1982, p. 3.

Contact information

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





Full Record

View Full Record