The FBI, Stolen Art & Your Fine Art Collection

The FBI, Stolen Art & Your Fine Art Collection

Are you aware that the FBI maintains a database of stolen fine art and cultural property? The FBI also maintains a rapid deployment Art Crime Team (ACT) that swings into action when high profile art heists take place.  No matter the size of your collection, if your fine art is valued at least at $2,000 and you have an appropriate appraisal, the FBI will swing into action on your behalf by listing your stolen property in their Stolen Art Database. The Appraisal Group is fully qualified to provide the kind of information the FBI requires.

The FBI stolen art database contains about 8,000 listings –  everything from fine art to collectibles. In other words, anything that has a cultural value and can be uniquely identified.

When you report an art theft to you local officials, they contact the FBI.  If it is suspected that your work of fine art or antique or collectible crosses international lines, the FBI teams up with Interpol.

The FBI helped recover a Polish paiinting stolen by Nazi soldiers during WWII. John Bobb and Janis Bobb (right) returned Krzysztof Lubieniecki’s Portrait of a Young Man to Polish officials during a repatriation ceremony at the FBI’s office in Columbus, Ohio in September 2015

The FBI helped recover a Polish paiinting stolen by Nazi soldiers during WWII. John Bobb and Janis Bobb (right) returned Krzysztof Lubieniecki’s Portrait of a Young Man to Polish officials during a repatriation ceremony at the FBI’s office in Columbus, Ohio in September 2015

As a responsible collector, it pays to have a full appraisal of your fine art and antiques. This gives you a two-step  approach to securing the value of your fine art and antiques.  Step 1: An Appraisal Group appraisal provides the data you need to file an insurance claim. This could be for damage due to vandalism, fire, and/or theft.  Step 2: An Appraisal Group appraisal covers the gamut of information the FBI needs to list your work on its Stolen Art Database.

For more on the fascinating story of how the FBI got into the stolen art and antiques arena, read Robert Wittman’s  book “Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures”.

As Special Agent assigned to the Philadelphia Field Division from 1988 to 2008,  Wittman became the FBI’s “top investigator and coordinator in cases involving art theft and art fraud”. He helped recover  more than $300 million worth of stolen art and cultural property, resulting in numerous convictions. Mr. Wittman  was also instrumental in the creation of the FBI’s rapid deployment Art Crime Team (ACT).

Protected by an Appraisal Group appraisal, you are free to pursue your passion for collecting and feel secure knowing the   wonderful things you fill your home with are documented and protected.

Editor’s Note: Today’s featured image is The Lipinsky Stradivarius, shown here shortly after recovery by the FBI. The  300 year old instrument was  valued at more than $5 million. It was stolen from Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond,

 

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