Why Shakespeare is the world's worst stolen treasure.

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July 17 2008 2:40 PM

Folioed Again!

Why Shakespeare is the world's worst stolen treasure.

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The Durham thief faces a particularly nasty bit of bad luck, though. Although reports indicate that a potentially telltale marked-up endpaper is now missing in this copy, it's highly unlikely that a thief would have sliced out the title page, with its iconic portrait of Shakespeare. As it happens, during a couple decades in the mid-1600s that the Durham folio spent at Peterhouse College, Cambridge, the school's pressmark—an idiosyncratic cataloging notation—was applied to the title page.

If that Peterhouse mark turns up in the copy now in the Folger's custody, Mr. Scott may want to have a long talk with that book-loving friend of his in Cuba.

Paul Collins teaches creative writing at Portland State University, and his latest book is The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars. Follow him on Twitter.