Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Travelling Treasures

A case of sticky fingers...

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Very early on the morning of March 18, 1990, two men in police uniforms managed to lift several irreplaceable works of art. How? By simply cutting the paintings out of the frame! Among the stolen artworks were Vermeer’s The Concert, Manet’s Chez Tortoni, and three works by Rembrandt, including his only marine-themed painting,

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee. The two men also made off with five Degas drawings, a painting by Govaert Flinck, and a bronze beaker from the Chinese Shang Dynasty. Value? About $300 million. The $5 million reward offered for return of the artwork remains unclaimed.

$4 million Stradivarius violin stolen in Germany

Why would violin be worth $4 million!? Here's why:

Born in Italy, 1644 Antonio Stradivari is believed to have been an apprentice of Nicolo Amati the reknown family of luthiers of Cremona. The particular techniques of construction have long been debated and exactly what makes his instruments create a richer quality of sound is also controversial. Nonetheless, many maintain that the best Stradivariuses are superior and it doesn't hurt that most of the most gifted and talented violinists have them. A Stradivarius isn't the only thing worth a pretty penny, an Amati, a Guarneri del GesĂș or a Vuillaume can also break the bank.

In case you've suddenly decided to hunt through your granny's attic for an old violin that you saw lying around, the likelihood of finding one is miniscule. To this day there are very few Stradivarius instruments (cello being particularly rare) and even fewer created during his "golden age" 1700 to 1720.

Inverted President Richard Nixon stamp

President Richard Nixon surrounded by scandal yet again, but not by his handiwork this time. Clarence Robert Robie claimed he bought 160 copies of this 32 cent stamp only to be caught red handed for theft. Arrested on December 12, 1996 for stealing the stamps from the Banknote Corporation of America where he worked as a postage stamp cutting machine operator.

The Sancy Diamond

A beautiful pale yellow 55.23 carat diamond with a colorful history of intrigue and greed. I won't even go into details... if you're interested read below.