July 16, 1998
It's been all of three days since I last wrote to you, so it's a little tough to come up with some more news. There is news, of course, but most of it indicates a disturbing trend. So this newsletter has a theme. The entire edition (all three paragraphs!) is devoted to:
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF IS THERE ANYONE ELSE BESIDES MOI WHO IS NOT SURPRISED?
Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I told you about some Van Goghs and a Cezanne that were stolen from Rome's National Gallery of Modern Art right under the noses of the guards, on a night when the security system wasn't functioning? Well, the paintings have been recovered unharmed, and eight individuals have been arrested, including the woman who was the number 2 person in charge of security at the Gallery. Duh.
A LOWER STREET VALUE THAN COCAINE AND MUCH TOUGHER TO FENCE DEPT
The McPherson Museum of McPherson, KS suffered a robbery during the July 4th weekend. And what was taken? A slice of meteorite. Museum officials have been scratching their heads, trying to figure out why anyone would steal a slice of meteorite. It turns out that there is a market among collectors, and it can be sold by the gram, but you and I and the Museum all know that the person who took the slice will have a tough time making any money from it. I mean, you can't just walk into the average pawn shop and offer the guy behind the counter a meteorite without him taking notice, can you?
ANOTHER OF THOSE SERPENTINE STORY LINES
In 1968, when Romania was still a police state, eight paintings were stolen and four were taken out of the country by a fleeing national. He tried having the paintings appraised in New York and authorities got wind of it. When he was questioned, the man said he bought the paintings from a gypsy woman named Lani. He said he paid her $1,200 in Vienna in 1971, and that he brought them to the U.S. when he fled there as a political refugee. As soon as he found out they were stolen, the man surrendered the paintings, which are on their way back to Romania. Now, here's the hook to this story: one of the paintings is estimated to be worth $1.2 million. I guess Lani "bought 'em right", so she "sold 'em right".
We might as well cover who else is trying to rip you off:
Plastic Fada clock radio. The outside looks just like the original one from the fifties. How to tell it from the old one? Look inside. The repro has electronic components!
Fans that picture hot air balloons. The original 18th century versions are
popular, which is why the repro people have made copies. Beware of fans
that show people looking at the balloons or pointing at them. The early
ones usually only showed balloons. Also, if the balloon on the fan is one
color only, it's probably new. The older pieces featured very colorful
Adios, Accumulators. We leave at the crack of dawn. We will be picking up
various family members and traveling up to my darling niece, Mallory's,
camp. We'll be springing her out of there for the weekend. And she's a
born little garage saler! Happy Hunting!
© 1998 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #50
U.S. Library of Congress
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