Hotel offers amnesty program for stolen items

One of the world's most famous hotels is calling all thieves to return free souvenirs they may have pilfered over the years--no questions asked.

New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel is holding a two and a half month amnesty program to get back any items that may have been taken --or as the hotel likes to say  --"secretly checked out"  -- from 1931, when the hotel opened on Park Avenue, until 1960 for their archives.

From now to Sept. 15, the hotel is offering forgiveness of your sticky-fingered habits.  In exchange the hotel are being asked to include a brief description of the item and the approximate date it was taken.

Some of the most coveted items would be from the hotel's high tea service, banquet elements, old postcards, literature about the hotel, as well as those from the cocktail terrace--which held Cole Porter's piano.

Items of note will be displayed in the hotel lobby, while others may be posted on the hotel's Facebook page

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"The amnesty program has two goals: to provide us with the elements as we build our archives," Matt Zolbe, director of market at the Waldorf-Astoria, told "And to project the Waldorf to Generation Y through social media."

Since 2006, the hotel has had lobby displays depicting their innovative telecommunications systems, room service, private bathrooms, and their complicated key system. The displays were formed after "cleaning out a dusty closet in the hotel."

Though the Waldorf has many items already stored in its achieves, the hotel hopes to gather more relics detailing its culinary feats. The Waldorf-Astoria famously concocted the world's first Waldorf Salad, as well as Eggs Benedict, and Red Velvet Cake.

The items gathered not only have to do with the hotel's history, but the history of those who possessed the items. Zolbe said that many times, the items belong to past hotel employees.

"With great regularity, people reach out to us to inquire if they'd like to buy the items they have from the hotel. Often, it's after a loved one's passing when someone finds these items," Zolbe told

"I've seen a few items on eBay, so I know they exist," he chuckled.

The "Host of the World" hotel also wants to gather items from its famous supper club.  CBS aired a radio show at the club which included performances by Bennie Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.

This is the first time the hotel has offered the amnesty program. You can view photographs and documents detailing the history of the hotel here.