Fate of Stolen Snuffbox Revealed by FBI


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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




  • Theft
  • Theft

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