Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Be Vigilant – Daryle Lambert's Antiques and Collectibles Blog – Sounds like a fairy tale.

Lets Pray For Them - Thanks to Paulstroede.com

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 Nashville, Tennessee when he spotted a Currier and Ives print called High Water In the Mississippi. It showed a group of people sailing down the river on a raft. After much discussion, we were allowed to open the frame and examine the print. This took perhaps 15-20 minutes but when Cecil was satisfied, we negotiated a purchase price and were thrilled to have bought this wonderful piece.

Upon completing our search of the show, we decided to return to
Franklin, Kentucky where Cecil has a large booth in the mall. Because he had the wall space to show the piece, I left it at the mall for Cecil to sell. At a price of $6450 and that still being a bargain, our conversation turned to how long we expected it to stay there before selling.

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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1 comment:

  1. So sorry to hear of this loss. THat is terrible. I am constatly dealing with theft of small items at the Antique mall where I am. It becomes a real problem, so I have locked up most anything over $50. It's a shame I must do that. And, I also have to deal with folks switching tags around - very unsavory! Hope they catch this creep! Vicki H.