The items stolen include an early Arabic manuscript and Chinese snuff bottles. Alarm bells were raised when thieves broke in through a door to the rear of the building.

The Chester Beatty Library houses around 22,000 manuscripts, rare books, paintings and objects from Western, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern countries. 

Professor Robin Hillenbrand, an expert on Islamic Art at the University of Edinburgh describes the value of the collection at the Chester Beatty as,

One of the great manuscript libraries in the world

Although the full extent of the theft is still not known, Professor Hillenbrand describes what was stolen as "small potatoes" in comparison to other holdings in the library.

While the items stolen were not the most valuable, the robbery does raise questions about security in such an important cultural institution. 

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 27 June 1991.