Thefts of priceless items are not new and one is always caught off guard when art is stolen. How do they manage to get past the security cameras? Here is a list of the top 10 costliest art thefts.
1. The Duke of Wellington
Charles Wrightsman bought this painting by Goya and paid about 392,000 dollars. He wanted to take it with him to the United States. The Government managed this and it was stolen almost immediately after being hung in the gallery. The thief owned up in 1965 and said that he planned to use the money for a good cause.
2. The Flagellation of Christ
Since beautiful art is created in Italy, it is only normal that the art thefts will take place there as well. When Piero della Francesco’s painting, The Flagellation of Christ was stolen from Ducal Palace, it was said to be the biggest art crime in almost a hundred years. Those who stole the art wanted to sell it in the international market.
3. Various Paintings
Nine paintings were stolen in 1985 from a museum in Paris. It includes those created by Renoir, Corot and Monet. A known gangster was said to be behind this crime. The paintings he stole were recovered in Corsica about 7 years later.
4. Pacal’s Burial Mask
The guards of a particular museum in Mexico realized in 1985 that priceless pieces were missing from the Miztec, Maya, Zapotec and Aztec sculptures. These objects were extremely expensive and were not too big in terms of size which is what made it fairly simple to remove them from the glass sheeting without getting caught.
5. Rayfish with Basket of Onions
Those who broke into this particular museum had obviously been planning for years. They entered trough the skylight and walked across several canvases. They stole about ten drawings and 18 paintings some of which were worth 4 million dollars. Rayfish with Basket of Onions was among the most priceless of the lot and only 14 were recovered. The thieves must have made about 10 million dollars at the time which made it the largest art crime in New York City.
6. Dried Sunflowers
Pricess Van Gogh painting including Weaver’s Interior, Dried Sunflowers and The Potato Eaters were stolen from Holland. The pattern of the art theft was quite remarkable and the thieves must have made a pretty penny.
7. The Storm on the Sea of Galilee
Late one night on St. Patrick’s Day, a number of thieves managed to steal painting created by Rembrandt including The Storm on the Sea of Galilee along with a few others. The stolen work was about 300 million dollars and the museum said that whoever could help the police with the investigations would receive about 5 million dollars as reward. The thief was arrested but the art was never recovered.
8. Portrait of a Persian Painter
The House of Islamic Antiquities was raided and the buildings were set on fire. The thieves stole about 20,000 pieces and drove away. Because of the sheer volume of the stolen goods, it became difficult to recover it all. By 1991, about 16,000 had been returned and it was understood that the art theft was state-sponsored.
9. Wheatfield with Crows
A museum in Amsterdam was robbed and about 20 Van Gogh painting were stolen. Even though the work was recovered within no time, the art was greatly damaged.A
10. Young Parisian
A man stole two paintings by Renoir from the Nation Museum in Sweden. They asked for a ransom of about 10 million dollars and eight men were arrested