- The Washington Times - Friday, August 21, 2009

The eccentric English book dealer who appeared last summer at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., with a rare and missing collection of William Shakespeare’s plays made a preliminary court appearance Friday on charges of theft and handling stolen goods, a Durham Crown Court clerk said.

The defendant, Raymond Scott, arrived at the courthouse in a horse-drawn carriage, accompanied by a bagpipe player and wearing a tartan kilt. The trial reportedly is scheduled to take place next summer.

Mr. Scott, 52, visited the Capitol Hill library in June 2008, saying he wanted somebody to authenticate the First Folio for its Cuban owner.

Folger officials became suspicious that the 1623 book was the one stolen in 1988 from Durham University’s Palace Green Library in England. The First Folio is considered one of the most important books in the English language and is valued from $2.5 million to $5 million.

Last summer, Mr. Scott left the hefty, large-format book at the Folger and returned to England. Officials at the library, home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare materials, contacted officials who interviewed and eventually arrested Mr. Scott.

The First Folio, one of about 230 still around, was published seven years after Shakespeare’s death and includes the plays “Antony and Cleopatra” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Police seized hundreds of other books and Mr. Scott’s silver Ferrari as part of the investigation.

The book has been returned to the university, several miles from where Mr. Scott lives with his widowed mother.

Mr. Scott maintains the book he submitted to the Folger is not the stolen one. A Folger spokesman said Friday only that each book has unique markings and no two are alike.

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