RARE 16th century armour stolen from the most famous museum in Paris has finally been found 38 years later.
The two pieces of Italian Renaissance armour disappeared from the Louvre in mysterious circumstances back in 1983.
The armour has now returned to the LouvreCredit: AFP or licensors
The famous museum said in a statement: “The Louvre is delighted that these two pieces of Renaissance armour have been found thanks to the work of investigators.”
It described the night the armour was stolen as an “enigma” and very few details have been revealed to the public.
Police still aren’t sure how the armour was stolen from its cabinet on May 31, 1983.
It was there when the museum closed but had disappeared by the time it opened again the next day.
The armour is worth hundred of thousandsCredit: AFP or licensors
The cabinet was clearly broken into but no culprit has ever been found.
That’s why the identification of the intact ceremonial helmet and breastplate in Bordeaux, western France, has thrilled those working at the Lourve.
The metal armour was made in Milan sometime during the Italian Renaissance between 1560 and 1580.
It’s inlaid with gold and silver and value at around $603,000 (£435,000).
The armour was handed back to Jean-Luc Martinez (pictured right) president of the Louvre MuseumCredit: AFP or licensors
Police are now investigating how the pieces of armour came to be on a family’s estate in Bordeaux and who could have stolen them.
A military antiquities expert was hired to inspect the armour that a Bordeaux family had inherited back in January.
He noticed there was something unusual about the helmet and breastplate so informed the French Central Office for the Fight against Trafficking in Cultural Goods (OCBC).
This is a special police department that tracks stolen items that have historical or cultural importance.
Intricate details on the armour suggests they were prestige or luxury weapons.
They were actually donated to the Louvre in 1922 by the Rothschild family.
Philippe Malgouyres, the Louvre’s head of heritage artworks, told the AFP: “I was certain we would see them reappear one day because they are such singular objects.
“But I could never have imagined that it would work out so well — that they would be in France and still together.”
Objects stolen from the Louvre
The Louvre has seen a fair few heists…
The Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911. Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia hid in a cupboard overnight to steal the painting. It was recovered two years later when he tried to sell it in Italy.
In 1976, a diamond studded sword from was stolen from the Louvre. Thieves scaled scaffolding and broke a window to take the sword that was used in the 1824 coronation of King Charles X. It’s never been found.
Another item that’s never been returned to the Louvre is a small painting by French artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. It was stolen in 1998.
In other news, medieval tunnels have been uncovered by electrical technicians working in a garden in south Wales.
New analysis of the remains of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh has revealed he may have been brutally murdered on the battlefield.
And, human skeletons have been discovered on a 1717 pirate shipwreck just off the coast of Cape Cod in the US.
Do you have any theories about the stolen armour mystery? Let us know in the comments…
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