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In former times, the art market consisted mainly of people who love art. Of course serious galleries are still devoted to their ethics. But since word got around that you can earn millions with art dealing, more and more greenhorns from the finance world try their luck as gold diggers.
One day I got a call from a friend who was all excited to have an Andy Warhol painting for mediation. He asked me if I had a buyer for it. When I told him I might have somebody, he sent me a perfect fact sheet and the price idea of the seller.
When my potential buyer was already hot and wanted a proof of ownership, it got more and more difficult. in fact, finally it turned out that the owner did not even know that somebody wants so sell his Warhol. Strategy of the people in this flipper chain which used my friend as a naïve vehicle, was to find somebody who makes a serious offer, then take the offer and go to the surprised owner, hoping he might sell. We are talking about 40 million Dollars, with enough margin to fill several pockets.
My insistence that we need a proof from the owner that he wants to sell before our client makes his official offer, foiled the deal. As far as I know the Warhol is still safely with his happy owner and no sale is planned.