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Stolen decades ago, NYC teapot returned

Nov. 21, 2012 at 10:18 PM

NEW YORK, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The ritzy Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York this week got back a teapot someone pilfered several decades ago thanks to its amnesty policy and a New Orleans man.

Nathanael Mullener, 75, said the silver-trimmed teapot had been in his home for a long time. "It was pitch black," he said, and he polished "75 years of tarnish" off it before turning it over to the Waldorf-Astoria's Matt Zolbe Tuesday, The New York Times reported.

The Waldorf initiated its no-questions-asked amnesty program in June to entice people to turn in hotel items that have been taken through the years only to end up lying around people's houses.

Meg Towner, the hotel's social media manager, said there have been "a very nice number of submissions."

"We see the value in each and every submission," she said.

Mullener said the teapot had been in his family a long time, recalling that he saw it when his family lived in New York's Queens borough and that his father had worked near the Waldorf.

"He would say, 'America is the greatest country, New York is the greatest city, and the Waldorf is the greatest hotel,' so I knew I had something from the epitome of crockery," he told the Times.

Mullener said he "never felt comfortable" possessing the teapot, which he knew had been stolen, though not by whom.

Zolbe said by "serendipity" a similar teapot had arrived recently from a man in Texas who said he suspected his mother had taken it from the hotel.

Mullener's teapot had the year 1937 on the lid and the other one had 1931.

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