Stolen $60m art collection 'wasn't insured'


2015-06-26 11:41:22


Stolen $60m art collection 'wasn't insured'

Bizarre facts surround the 'second biggest art theft of all time,' including Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Pollock

The details, even the major ones, have dribbled out slowly.

On Friday, art dealer Angelo Amadio and retired Harvard medical professor Dr. Ralph Kennaugh discovered that a window to their house had been forced, and a number of extremely valuable paintings stolen.

They reported the theft -including a Van Gogh, two Rembrants and a Jackson Pollock, togetherworth an estimated 27m.

While only one window was forced, the owners suspect that it was an inside job. The paintings were being held temporarily in the house, havingonly recently been moved, and only a few people knew about them.

However, the story has become increasingly strange since then.

On Monday, a typed ransom note was discovered by police. Itincluded a death threat if the owners involved the authorities.

The owners also claim to have done a complete inventory of their collection, and they now believe that more paintings were taken:30, rather than 13, worth $60m includinga Mattisse and a Miro.

This would make it the second greatest art theft of all time after the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist, in which $300m worth was taken.

Dutch Woman by Van Gogh

However, the strangest revelation was yet to come: the majority of the works were not insured. Apparently, the owners found the insurance rates prohibitive.

Insuring valuable art is expensive; thoughnot compared to the actual value of the works.

The idea that a collection worth so many millions would be held in an unsecured building, with no insurance, has provoked scepticism from some quarters.

Nevertheless, the authorities are still investigating thecrimeas a straightforward burglary.

Other art works have been stolen recently, including a 3m Magritte.

Famous pieces are usually very difficult to sell on, as theart world and global press always hear of major thefts.

A burglar sitting on $60m worth of paintingswill find that getting the paintings was the easy part. Getting the $60m for them, however, will prove the real challenge.

Van Gogh picture courtesy of Angelo Amadio

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