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Cellini Saliera

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How did a clever thief steal an irreplaceable gold sculpture?

How did a smart detective get it back?

At the Kunsthistorisches Museum, on the morning of May 11th, 2003, security staff reported that there had been a break-in during the night.

Persons unknown had entered through the window of an upstairs gallery. One glass display case had been shattered.

Missing was a gold sculpture known as the Saliera, valued at 65 million US dollars.

The theft caused an immediate sensation in Vienna.  The Saliera is the pride of the Austria – an irreplaceable work by an artistic genius of the 16th century: Benvenuto Cellini.

The Vienna police assigned the case to their chief investigator: Detective Ernst Geiger.

Geiger soon concluded that it wasn’t an inside job or the work of a career art thief.

Then a ransom note arrived demanding five million Euros for the safe return of the Saliera.

Recovering the Saliera and catching the thief would take all of Detective Geiger’s skill and cunning.

How did the detective do it?  Who was the thief?  And what was the thief’s surprising relationship to sculptor Benevenuto Cellini?


All will be revealed in Museum Secrets: Inside the Kunsthistorisches Museum.