War declared on art thieves


     According to Nick Tolson, a former police officer, paintings, china, porcelain and silverware are popular. About 20 brass church lecterns are stolen each year in England and Wales and most find its way to Germany – especially the eagle-shaped ones.

Julian Cox, who works for the magazine Trace, which helps reunite recovered stolen items with owners, added: “Ten years ago we were dealing with a small amount of criminal elements who had sufficient knowledge of  fine art to commit fine art crime. It was problematic but largely containable. But now stolen antiques are a commodity which drug dealers use to launder money.”

    In one of the latest scams, a gang of highly-convincing confidence tricksters posed as buyers for a bogus Italian count to steal millions of pounds worth of paintings, prints and antiques from art dealers in London, New York, Paris and Amsterdam. Several auction houses have agreed to fund the Art Loss Register, a body that regularly scans sale catalogues for stolen items. In close co-operation with Interpol the register will include jewellery, silverware, paintings, candlesticks, region icons, furniture and statues. This new war is on now and most likely will never be called off.



Now answer these questions.


1       Can you explain why Interpol compiled a large database of stolen art treasures?

2       What examples are given in the text to show the disadvantages of free trade?

3       Why do you think drug dealers are interested in antiques and paintings?

4       What is the main goal of Trace magazine and how can this be achieved?

5       How could one gang steal so many valuable items in cities around the world?

What is a confidence trickster’s secret recipe?

6       What is the benefit of using the services of Art Loss Register?           

7       What do these numbers in the text refer to:  20, 30,  177,  14,000, 17,000 ?



  Art thieves’ top 30


Pablo Picasso                  394

Joan Miró                          281

Marc Chagall                    250

Salvador Dali                    185

Albrecht Dürer                 145

P. Auguste Renoir           140

Andy Warhol                     129

Rembrandt                        127

Henry Moore                       80

David Teniers                     79

Henry Matisse                    66  

Peter Paul Rubens            58

Auguste Rodin                    53

David Hockney                   52

Gustave Klimt                     47

H. de Toulouse-Lautrec   43

Edgar Degas                       43

Sir Anthony van Dyck       42

Paul Cézanne                     37

Francesco Guardi              35

Robert Raunschenberg   32

Max Ernst                            28

Edvard Munch                    27

Edouard Vuillard                26

Raoul Dufy                           26

Francisco de Goya            26

Jasper Johns                     26

J. A. McNeil Whistler        26

William Turner                   25

Claude Monet                     25