Fine Arts

What do art thieves do with the art they steal?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. Art thieves probably sell the works they steal to shady dealers, at significantly discounted prices. However, with the price of art in the multimillion dollar range, robbing museums can still be quite profitable. The dealer who buys the stolen art presumably passes it off, again at a discount, to a private collector in a private sale. The private collector either keeps it, or sells the work again in another private sale. If the stolen works are not too well known, they may eventually appear in a public auction. The other way an art thief can unload his booty is by selling the work as a very good imitation of the real thing. The exception to this is art stolen in the Netherlands; according to an unusual law, most paintings stolen there become the rightful property of the thief after 20 years. Finally, a reward is often offered for information leading to stolen artwork; the thief can always claim the reward, which often has no strings attached.

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