Tuesday, 13 November 2012

"Two men admit stealing £46 scrap and selling it as £500,000 Henry Moore sculpture"

From The Daily Mail:

Two men have admitted stealing scrap worth just £46 and passing it off as a Henry Moore sculpture worth up to £500,000.

At St Albans Crown CourtLiam Hughes, 22, and 19-year-old Jason Parker, from Coltsfield, Essex, both pleaded guilty to stealing old car parts and welding them together into the shape of a sundial sculpture and the sculpture's bronze plinth.

The Sundial, created by the two in 2011 as a working model to test the gullibility of stately home owners, was delivered to the grounds of the Henry Moore Foundation in Much Hadham, Herts, on July 10. The sculpture's bronze plinth was delivered on July 15 this year. Hughes and Parker, both of pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud when they appeared at St Albans Crown Court yesterday.

Prosecutor Ann Evans said: "These two worthless items were delivered on separate occasions by these defendants, even though the parts had been taken from a scrap dealer. He had hoped to sell the parts used for the sundial for £46 and the parts for the the plinth for £200. These defendants had a pretty good idea of what they would be worth if passed off as a Henry Moore. When they were arrested by the police they said they had found the items in a dustbin behind Bonhams.

"Clearly the sculpture, a never-seen-before Henry Moore would be priceless. The director of the foundation initially valued it between £250,000 and £500,000. Henry Moore in his will said no cast of any of his works could be created, so there was great joy when it was 'returned' because it could never have been replaced. The scrap dealer also had no idea what he could have sold his old machine or car parts for. He was hoping for a couple of hundred quid at best."

9 comments:

A K Haart said...

"a working model to test the gullibility of stately home owners"

I don't think it needs testing if they already leave the stuff lying around outside. I bet they leave the kid's bikes out overnight too.

Mark Wadsworth said...

AKH, to be fair, I live in a nice area and you regularly see bikes or boots or whatever kept in the open porch by the front door, the likelihood of it being stolen is so low as to make the risk worth running if it means saving a bit of faff and effort tidying things away every time.

The Stigler said...

I kinda like Moore's work (and I think sculpture has remained as a fairly relevant art form because of the high cost of reproduction), but that's just a generic sundial, like thousands of others that you'd pay a couple of hundred quid for at a garden centre.

Bayard said...

"The Henry Moore Foundation carried out a security review following the theft of the two-ton Reclining Figure in December 2005."

Two tons of bronze! That would be worth a bit more than £46 as scrap. Can't say that I think it's a shame, unlike the bronze nude at the end of Chelsea Bridge who disappeared one night leaving just her feet. She was something nice to look at while you were stuck in traffic.

James Higham said...

Ah but do you lock your doors?

Physiocrat said...

I don't understand this. If they bought the parts from a scrap dealer, how were they stolen? After that, surely caveat emptor applies?

And on the same tack, what should happen to banks who sell packaged securities in which bad loans are mixed up with a few sound ones?

Mark Wadsworth said...

JH, yes.

Phys, it was a spoof article.

Evergreen Junk Cars said...

Ridiculous. Why would they be arrested? For the stupidity of those that were in awe by it? And let alone, what does it matter who sculpted it? Fool's gold. Simply Fool's gold, blame the fools.

-David Enabulele
Sell Your Junk Car Atlanta

Mark Wadsworth said...

I'm in two minds about DE. He makes a valid comment and then link in some spam. Should I delete his comment or not?