I am sure that you have heard of thieves cutting a painting from its frame and walking out with it but this story takes the cake. It may make you have second thoughts about your treasures and where you are going to present them. Having something of significant value stolen can set you back a few steps so it will serve you well to be vigilant.
My friend, Cecil, and I were just beginning to cover the Tailgate Antique Show in
Upon completing our search of the show, we decided to return to
Four days later, I received a call from Cecil saying he had bad news for me. I couldn't imagine what it could be. “Someone stole the Currier and Ives” was what he said, but I couldn't believe my ears because the piece must have measured 3 by 4 feet. Cecil assured me that the mall had cameras and they would find the thief or at least file a police report. After examining all the film, they couldn't find anyone leaving with the print so further investigation was needed. I am sure you won't believe this but today they found the frame behind some showcases without the print. Yes, the thief had taken the piece off the wall, disassembled the frame, removed the print and left with it. This leaves no doubt that it was a professional job. We will be filing the report and hopefully listing it as stolen in the Maine Antique Digest and Antique Week.
Are there lessons to be learned here? You bet there are. First, most thieves are looking for expensive items to steal so extra protection should be used with these items. In fact, maybe anything over a couple of thousand dollars should be where the person on the desk can always view it or even behind the desk. Second, if this isn't possible, these items should always be in a place that is completely covered by a camera. Third, you must calculate your risk against selling these expensive items at auction where they are insured and fourth, investigate if there are ways that you can insure your treasures when they are displayed in a mall.
I believe that it is imperative for malls to find better ways to protect their dealers or the malls will only be filled with junk that it doesn't matter if it is stolen or not. I know that from now on I will think long and hard about putting a thing of value in a mall.
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