NEW YORK — Three small, silver spoons elegantly engraved with the words ‘‘Waldorf Astoria’’ have come full circle: Stolen eight decades ago by an employee of the hotel, they passed through two Brooklyn homes and another three in New Jersey.
Then, earlier this month, Brigid Brown packed them up, took them back through the chandeliered foyer of the elegant hotel and plunked them down on a table — as part of a Waldorf amnesty program that seeks the return of pilfered property, no questions asked.
‘‘At first, I thought, ‘Was my husband’s grandfather a thief? How could he do this?’ ’’ Brown said.
The spoons joined dozens of other items that are back in their rightful place, including teapots, coffee pots, creamers, coasters, and dishes for nuts.
Just don’t call them stolen items.
Each was ‘‘secretly checked out,’’ the hotel says on its Facebook page. And ‘‘we’re giving you the chance to give it back.’’
The Waldorf’s fancy what-nots are trickling back with stories of human lives, loves, and losses going as far back as the early 20th century.
The returns offer glimpses into the lives of people who came to the Waldorf for something special, such as a wedding night, an anniversary, an award, or a special vacation.
The new collection will be displayed in glass cases in the lobby, with other objects and photos from the hotel’s celebrity-studded past.