The bronze-gilt square-headed brooch (originally discovered in Market Overton) was taken from the museum at night in 1995, along with eight other brooches and a Roman gold ring. The ring was recovered soon after the theft.
The remaining items remain missing but this brooch was mysteriously sent to the Metropolitan Police anonymously by post at the end of last year.
After checking with the Art Loss Register’s database, contact was made with Rutland County Museum.
Following this identification, the Metropolitan Police stored the brooch safely until it could be returned to the museum following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
The brooch was returned in August by representatives of Rutland County Council, the Metropolitan Police, The Art Loss Register and insurers Zurich.
The brooch itself is part of a collection belonging to Oakham School and is on loan at Rutland County Museum.
Detective Constable Sophie Hayes from the Metropolitan Police said: “The Art and Antiques Unit is pleased to have played a part in keeping the item safe and facilitating its return. We are glad it has now been returned to the museum where it can be enjoyed and studied for years to come.”
A spokesperson for Zurich Insurance UK said: “It’s not often we are able to return a stolen item to a customer, particularly some 15-plus years after the event, so to be able to return this piece of Anglo-Saxon jewellery to the customer was very satisfying and great outcome for all in involved.
“Over recent years we have endeavoured to strengthen our subrogation/recovery capabilities and as part of that effort we have established a strong partnership with the Art Loss Register which has ultimately led to a number of recoveries for Zurich and our customers.”
Art Loss Register and Rutland County Council are appealing for people to be on the lookout for the eight brooches still missing as well as other artefacts that may have been stolen.
Anyone with information about suspected stolen artefacts or artworks is urged to come forward to help return items to their rightful owners, so they can once again be appreciated by everyone.
James Ratcliffe, director of recoveries and general counsel at the Art Loss Register, said: “The detailed long-term records held on our database are an invaluable resource. There are still more of these brooches out there that should also be returned because they will still be spotted if they hit the market.”