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Monday, July 14, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Shakespeare Folio, Elaborate Extortion Plan Swings into Action !!!

My innocent role in Shakespeare drama

Published Date:

A collector arrested over the theft of a rare Shakespeare manuscript worth more than £15million today insisted he was innocent.

Raymond Scott, 51, was released on bail at the weekend after being interviewed by detectives over a first folio of a collection of works by The Bard, which disappeared a decade ago from Durham University library.

But the eccentric dealer, who lives in Wigeon Close, Albany, Washington, with his 81-year-old mother Hannah, said the book seized by police was not the one stolen from Durham, but was, in fact, bought in Cuba.

"I have done nothing wrong at all," he said. "There are questions over the rarity of this book.

"In July 2006 a copy was sold at Sotheby's. It is by no means a unique item.

"I have done nothing wrong. I came by the manuscript through contacts in Cuba and took it to the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC."

Mr Scott said he had even suggested that the Washington Post newspaper be contacted about the discovery, which he said was "not the act of a person with something to hide."

He said: "I'm afraid the celebrations at the University of Durham were premature. It is not the manuscript that was stolen.

"The police are welcome to ask me anything, including my inside leg measurement, which, for the record, is 31-and-a-half inches, but I have not done anything wrong at all."

Mr Scott said boxes of books were taken from his home by police as part of the investigation, but added most of them were new and could be bought from a high street bookseller.

It is believed police also took the 51-year-old's yellow Ferrari away
The incident has shocked neighbours in the sleepy suburban street.

They describe Mr Scott as an eccentric who could often be seen preening his classic sports cars – including a rare Ferrari Dino – wearing a silk dressing gown, sun glasses and rubber marigold gloves.

"I wear them because I have sensitive skin. I don't see anything wrong in that.

"I have also been described as a Walter Mitty, which I am not. If I'd wanted to spin out a tale I would still be in the police station now.

"I was also described by someone as having a love for Armani suits. I have many fine suits, but I am not fond of Georgio Armani."

* THE first folio edition of a collection of the works of William Shakespeare, published in 1623, was one of a number of manuscripts and books stolen from Durham University library in December 1998.

Police in Durham were alerted by the British Embassy in the United States two weeks ago after a man asked the respected library in Washington DC to verify if the book was genuine.

A police spokesman said: "It is understood he told staff he was an international businessman who had bought the folio in Cuba and agreed to leave it with the library for research to be carried out."

Other items that disappeared in the Palace Green library raid were an early handwritten manuscript bearing an English translation of the New Testament dating from the late 14th or early 15th century and a handwritten manuscript of the same period containing a fragment of a poem written by Geoffrey Chaucer. author of the Canterbury Tales.

Books included two works by the 10th Century scholar Aelfric that were printed in 1566, a first edition version of Beowulf printed in 1815 and a 1612 book of maps and poetry.

The stolen items were among more than 50 exhibits charting the progress of English literature from the Middle Ages to the 20th century which had been on public show in two rooms of the library.

When the items were stolen they were described as a "unique and irreplaceable part of the region's heritage" and would be virtually impossible to sell to legitimate buyers.

The full article contains 657 words and appears in Sunderland Echo newspaper.

Art Hostage comments:

Art Hostage has learnt from an inside source close to Raymond Scott that this whole episode is all part of an elaborate extortion plan whereby the Durham University will not be able to positively identify this copy as their stolen Shakespeare Folio.

Raymond Scott and accomplices have scoured the folio and are satisfied there no identifying marks that could distinguish it as the Durham University copy.

So, now there will be a court case and hopefully for Raymond Scott and gang the Durham University will make an offer to settle out of court for several million dollars.

Even if the case were to go to court the outcome is not clear unless the Durham University can prove this indeed their stolen Shakespeare folio.
Raymond Scott's love of Cigar's, Dom Perignon champagne and a young naive poor Cuban girlfriend do not enhance the reputation needed to pull this scam off.
Raymond Scott would have been better to have played the conservative book dealer quietly going about his business.

Nice attempt Raymond Scott, too bad Art Hostage is not only one step ahead of you guys, but a whole zip/post code !!

Seems this Cuban girl is less than enthusiastic about the attentions of Raymond Scott, something lecherous about him pawing this unfortunate girl don't you think ?????


Anonymous said...

You were right Art Hostage, Raymond Scott got 8 years Jail, but bet that gets reduced to 4 years on appeal

Anonymous said...