eBay Is An Art Forger’s Paradise

Despite recent high-profile prosecutions of forgers, experts say that a large number of collectors are still being duped when buying fine art online. And it isn’t just the rubes who watch “Antiques Roadshow” who are being conned. Buyers are purchasing works as one would a scratch ticket, with the idea that they’re going to get lucky. A recent academic study estimated that up to 91 percent of supposed Henry Moore drawings and sculptures sold on eBay were fake. And often, it’s the more sophisticated buyer — the art collector — who thinks they’ve won the lottery when they discover an undervalued art work on the Internet. But when people smell a good bargain, they abandon their sense of judgment. “All good dealers and collectors look into provenance,” says one expert. “But people still believe there was that one work that showed up in Grandma’s attic that exists without a trustworthy chain of ownership.”

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