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Stolen Christopher Columbus letter back to the Vatican library

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Original Christopher Columbus letter back to Vatican

The letter that Christopher Columbus wrote in the Vatican after his discovery of the ‘New World’ is returned after being stolen.

A Christopher Columbus letter that was stolen from the Vatican Library is back thanks to the efforts of the U.S. and the Vatican researchers.

The 1493 letter was described as “a precious piece of cultural history” by Callista Gingrich, the US Ambassador to the Holy see, during a surrender ceremony in the Vatican on Thursday. The letter from the repatriation follows a period of seven years of research by officials and the enforcement of the law in the USA and the Vatican.

Gingrich presented the historic letter to the chief Vatican archivist Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, and the prefect of the library, Bishop Cesare Pasini.

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Callista Gingrich is the wife of the former chairman of the House and current Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich.

A detail from a page of an authentic 15th-Century copy of a letter written by Christopher Columbus, as displayed at the Vatican, Thursday, June 14, 2018. The United States is to return to the Vatican Library a letter written by Christopher Columbus in 1493, the announcement of the discovery of the New World, which had been stolen and replaced by a forgery. (Tony Gentile/Pool Photo via AP)

Reuters reports that the letter is a printed Latin translation of a letter written in Spanish by Columbus announcing the discovery of the New World. Printed in Rome in 1493, the 8-page “Columbus letter,” eventually made its way into the Vatican library, according to Reuters. At a certain point, however, the letter, which is reportedly worth around $1.2 million, according to the officials, was stolen and replaced by a forgery.

The U.S. Ambassador to the Holy see, @CallyGingrich, returned this morning to a restored copy of a letter written by Christopher Columbus on his rightful place in the Vatican Library. @USinHolySee #ColumbusLetter pic.twitter.com/iQKAHND4Kg

— Vatican Library (@vaticanlibrary), June 14, 2018

It is the third such return in the past few years after AMERICAN researchers found that a number of authentic copies of the letter he had stolen from libraries in Europe and replaced by counterfeits library officials’ knowledge. “Previous letters were returned to their rightful homes in Florence and Barcelona,” said Gingrich.

The authentic letter had ended up in the possession of an Atlanta actuary who has bought from a rare book dealer in New York in 2004, not been taken of the Vatican. His widow returned.

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The AMERICAN Ambassador Callista Gingrich, left, is photographed with Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, on the occasion of the presentation to the Vatican of an authentic 15th-Century copy of a letter written by Christopher Columbus, is seen in the middle. Thursday, June 14, 2018. The United States is to return to the Vatican Library a letter written by Christopher Columbus in 1493, the announcement of the discovery of the New World, which had been stolen and replaced by a forgery. (Tony Gentile/Pool Photo via AP)

A number of 15th-century Latin copies of Columbus’s original letter were made to spread the news of Columbus’ discovery around the courts of Europe and the papacy, according to Reuters.

Gingrich said that since 2007, Homeland Security Investigations agents have more than 11,000 works of art and works of art in more than 30 countries.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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