The leather case, designed to hold paper, envelopes and cards, arrived suddenly at the hotel in Munich's Maximilianstraße in the post, the TZ regional newspaper reported last week.
Together with the long-lost loot came a brief handwritten note. "Sorry," wrote the thief, and admitted having stolen the case back in the 1970s.
The man, who gave his name and a return address, had paid $16.31 for the delivery, wrote the paper without naming him.
However, the given address in the city of Padacuh, Kentucky, does not have a registered phone line and so the paper said it would be contacting the regretful thief by post to find out why he had been moved to return the case four decades after stealing it.