With my vast knowledge it has now become impossible for me to even conceive that someone would think that an engraving with disgusting new color, clipped margins, horribly repaired tears that is derivative from a later edition has the same value as one of my perfect, flawless first editions with oxidation of the iron in the ink and copper in the greens that is just right. But everyday someone actually gets away with this. Amazing and very, very depressing.
The king of evil seems to be Larry Salander who stole $200,000,000 from his clients and some of the dealers that he worked with over the years.
Here is the type of story that could be told:
Larry made a real play to get me to work with him. He even arranged for his son to ask for play dates with my daughter, Abigail, at PS 6 here in NYC when she was 5 years old. Can you imagine - using your five year old son to do a hustle!?????
He invited the parents of the whole Kindergarten class to come to his home for cocktails in his amazing gallery on 70th Street in Manhattan. It was filled with 16th and 17th century sculpture at the time. It was irresistible to me that these Renaissance and Baroque sculptures could actually be for sale. My heart was pounding.
There was a 6 foot tall wooden French Madonna with great patina that was dated 1600 that swept me away. My passion drove me to finally introduce myself and comment as follows "Wow that is spectacular. To think that Henry IV was King during this time and had finally ended the religious wars so that something like this could be safe."
Larry was a very fast thinker. Here finally standing before him was the mark he had been trying to hook for a number of years in his grasp. Out came all the charm, confidence, big smile and firm handshake. But his darting lizard eyes betrayed him. He had no idea what the wars of religion were or who Henry IV was!!!! Here in front of me was a tough, smooth, street smart con artist who was brilliant at stealing money from other tough New Yorkers (even Robert DeNiro was robbed) and visitors to this wonderful city. But when it came to even the most rudimentary knowledge of French Renaissance history, he didn't have a clue. For someone who had over 200 books about Henry IV in his library his bluff was shocking, repulsive and annoying.
To his credit he quickly realized that he has been exposed, let the conversation drift off and never reached out to me again.