A PRICELESS Shakespeare volume stolen 12 years ago will go on display for the first time since its theft.

The 17th Century Shakespeare First Folio will be the star attraction of a new exhibition, The Treasures of Durham University, which will open to the public on Saturday, January 15.

Self-styled international playboy Raymond Scott was jailed for eight years in August after he was convicted of handling the folio, which vanished from Durham University in December 1998.

When Scott, formerly of Wingate, County Durham, produced it at the Folger Shakespeare Library, in Washington, US, in June 2008, experts said it had been “damaged, brutalised and mutilated”.

Scott said he had acquired it in Cuba, the home of his nightclub dancer fiancee Heidi Garcia Rios.

The folio, worth about £1.5m, was returned to Durham University this summer.

Scott was cleared of stealing the work, but found guilty of handling it and sentenced to eight years in jail.

The folio will be the centrepiece of the inaugural exhibition at the Wolfson Gallery, which has undergone a £2.3m refurbishment funded in part by a £500,000 donation from the Wolfson Foundation.

Durham University chancellor Bill Bryson said: “It is a tremendous thrill to have the Shakespeare First Folio back in Durham.

“This book is clearly one of the most important in the English language and I look forward to seeing this national treasure on public display once again, alongside the many other fabulous treasures of Durham University.”

Other treasures to be displayed will include first editions of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a first edition Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson, Chinese Imperial textiles, the robe and sword of Ali Dinar, the last Sultan of Darfur, a leaf of a Bede manuscript from the 9th Century, the earliest history of Durham Cathedral written 900 years ago, and 13th to 15th Century Durham Mint coins produced by the Prince Bishops of Durham.

Professor Chris Higgins, the vice-chancellor of Durham University, said: “It is wonderful to be able to share our treasures, including the first folio.”

The folio will be on display until Sunday, March 6.

Call 0191-334-2972 or visit dur.ac.uk/library/asc/exhibitions/treasures