Waldorf-Astoria Amnesty Program... agree or disagree?

Are you a hotel silver or china collector? 

The legendary Waldorf-Astoria has launched an amnesty program to recover some of its history.

The hotel is specifically seeking silverware, ashtrays and other items that guests "checked out" with their luggage from the years before 1960.

This is what the hotel is asking, "Returned items should include a brief description, date when the item was taken and the guest's associated memories. The Amnesty Program has been developed as an expansion of the famed hotel's efforts to expand its archives and existing historical gallery, "Host to the World," located beside the main lobby. Valuable items hoping to be retrieved include silver, such as demitasse spoons used during the hotel's supper club years, ashtrays, linens, etc."

Now here's where I disagree. What if it wasn't your Aunt Hazel that lifted that sugar bowl? How would you even know if that teapot you're looking at was once part of a theft from 60 years ago? I can't imagine guests leaving the Waldorf with big serving trays and food domes stashed under their arms. 

Many times hotels hotel auctions to dispense of old and used pieces of hotelware to replace them with new ones. I've acquired many pieces from auction houses in this manner. Furthermore, I have no idea where most of my old pieces of hotel silver are from. I have found them along the way. 

What do you think about this amnesty program?


Anonymous said…
I do not like the assumption that pieces of their silver not in their possession were stolen. I doubt they will get many pieces returned stolen or not.
what is mine is mine and if what is yours is being sold at an antique's store, thrift store or garage sale then that is also mine because I am buying it!
curiosity said…
I highly doubt they'll have many people come forward. I've had a few people through my store and make a comment along the lines of "oh, you know someone helped themselves to this years ago, and now here it is selling for $xxx!" chuckle, chuckle. I try to explain that the silver could have left the hotel any number of ways, though auction or sale, as a gift of the hotel, etc. I once had a very large hotel tray inscribed to someone for 25 years of service, which illustrated my point beautifully. No one has any way of knowing the full history of these pieces, so for WA to assume all the pieces were "lifted" is just silly...and the implication will just make more people assume this about hotel silver.

I'm also confused as to why they are calling it an amnesty program. After the "amnesty" period ends are they going to start fining anyone they find in possession of old Waldorf Astoria silver? The whole thing is just a misguided attempt to have silver donated for their exhibit...so why not just come out and ask for donations?
Elizabeth said…
In my opinion the hotel should have filed police reports at the time of lose. Trying to retrieve items from over 50 years ago is ludicrous. They never made any attempt to go through the legal system at the time when they had to have known the pieces were missing...at the very least filing a report. One would think there had be some sort of inventory over the years so loss would be noticed...to turn a blind eye for over half a century and now start crying is beyond understanding. At the very least the hotel should be made to file police reports for each item they believe was stolen. If they don't report the loss then they should not seek restitution...playing it cute with an "amnesty" program is insulting to the people who do business following the rules.
Thank you ladies for your opinions. I completely agree. I'm not sure why the Waldorf would call it an amnesty program. As "curiosity" says, ask for donations. In my opinion, they may as well offer to pay people! They cannot prove that they are stolen goods, so the whole thing is pointless.

Thanks again for your comments.
Unknown said…
I just take a peek and I discovered your post. Hope they recover some of the hotel silverware for its history. My father love to collect things like this. In fact he displayed it in our home I am glad that I visited your post. Thank you.
Market Decor said…
Hi, I think the turn off is calling it the "amnesty program". It would be much better if they just said - here is what we're wanting to do, if you have anything you'd like to donate, we would love it! I do think the history of the Waldorf is fascinating and worth preserving. Thanks!

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