A Dieppe Carved Ivory Box by Charles-Etienne Thomas, circa 1830, Inscribed Thomas Sculptr Dieppe

The delicately crafted box, executed by famed French draftsman Charles-Etienne Thomas (1787-1857), was stolen from a private residence in Warwickshire, England, in December 2009, while the theft victim sat rooms away.

In March 2010, just over three months after the box’s theft, the box appeared for sale at Christie’s New York where it had been valued at $4,000 to $6,000. Christie’s immediately withdrew the box from auction and held it pending a resolution. Christopher A. Marinello, acting on behalf of the insurer, negotiated a surrender of the item with Christie’s consignor. The consignor, a former U.S. police officer, was completely unaware of the box’s history, and cooperated fully with Marinello and Detective Constable Paul Whitehurst of Warwickshire Police, who led the criminal investigation.

By June, a mere six months after it was stolen, Chubb was happy to offer the Dieppe Carved Ivory Box back to its client, the theft victim.  Marinello commended Detective Constable Whitehurst for his persistence.“The theft victim was fortunate to have such a diligent officer working on his behalf. Choosing a quality fine art insurer like Chubb who painstakingly documents its client’s possessions is the smartest move you can make if you ever hope to recover a cherished family heirloom after a theft.”