Brown University $750,000. Stolen Sword by Tharpe Collectibles DonaldTharpe Insurance Fraud Scheme by Donald R. Tharpe Military Museums Frauds by Donald R. Tharpe at the US Army Museum at Ft Belvoir & Carlisle Barracks

Judge orders collector not to sell Civil War sword

Article by Peter Dujardin

January 7th, 2011

NORFOLK — A federal judge on Friday ordered a Williamsburg artifact collector not to sell a valuable Civil War-era sword that Brown University contends was stolen from its collections more than 30 years ago.

U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar issued the temporary restraining order following a motion from Brown’s attorneys.

The order blocks the collector, Donald R. Tharpe, and his wife, Toni M. Tharpe, from selling or otherwise disposing of the sword until a full hearing can be held Wednesday to decide where the sword should be stored until the ownership dispute is resolved.

The sword and scabbard — made by Tiffany & Co. of New York — were presented in May 1863 to Col. Rush C. Hawkins, commander of a highly decorated battle unit, the 9th New York Volunteers. It was a gift from 50 “notable citizens” of New York.

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