What you can learn from the great Dutch art theft

Thieves broke into an art gallery in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, last week.

Works by Monet, Matisse and Picasso were among those taken, in a haul initially estimated to be worth up to £250m ($400m).

Yet, as more details have emerged of the works involved, those valuations have come tumbling down. Experts who spoke to the Telegraph newspaper now estimate the stolen artworks to be worth £12.5m ($20m) to £16m ($25.5m).

Why the change in value?

The devil is in the detail.

The Picasso stolen was a small, late period, pencil drawing - three factors that immediately make it less desirable than one of his large oil works, produced in his prime, which have achieved up to $106.5m in the past.

The two Monets taken were small pastels, the like of which has never surpassed £250,000 ($400,000) at auction. They are far removed from the $80.4m achieved for his water lilies oil work, Le Bassin aux nympheas, in 2008.

The Matisse, while it is an oil, would not be able to command the £10m ($16m) or more seen by some of his other works of reclining women. The reason being that the less alluring pose of the subject and its small scale makes it far less appealing to buyers.

These are three examples from the world of art, yet they offer an invaluable lesson for those looking to buy any collectible with a view to it gaining in value over the long term.

It's vital to consider all the details that combine to make up the item.

Ask yourself.

'Are its features all working to increase the attraction of the piece to other buyers?'

Here are three examples from our current stock that demonstrate this well.

Charlie Chaplin signed photograph.

Charlie Chaplin

You can find Chaplin autographs for £250 ($400), yet this one is much more valuable. It is a signed photo of Chaplin, immediately boosting its appeal.

And not only that, it is a signed photo of Chaplin in his most iconic role, The Tramp - the guise that is instantly recognisable around the world, further increasing its desirability and transforming it into a world class collectible.

England World Cup 1966 signed dinner menu 

England World Cup dinner menu

The programme bears the signatures not only of all 22 members of the historic World Cup winning squad - itself a rarity - yet also the famous linesman who gave England's third goal, Tofik Bakhramov.

Very nice. But what elevates this collectible to new heights is the fact that the menu comes from the official banquet hosted on the evening immediately following the afternoon's final - providing an even stronger link to the events of English football's finest hour.

Henry VIII's divorce plea 

Henry VIII divorce plea

Henry VIII-signed documents are rare and in great demand. Yet when they discuss information of the highest historical importance they reach a whole new level.

This plea by Henry for a divorce from Catherine of Aragon was ignored by the Catholic Church, forcing Henry to create the Church of England, changing the course of history for ever.

To discuss any of these items you can call or email us at:

+44 (0) 117 933 9500 or info@paulfrasercollectibles.com

Until next week,


Paul Fraser

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