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Passion Investments

July 19, 2011

Last November, Sotheby’s New York was set to auction Blanchisseuses souffrant des dents by the Impressionist master Edgar Degas, carrying an estimated value of $350,000 to $450,000 (€248,000-€318,900). But at the eleventh hour, the small, six-by-eight inch portrait of a laundrywoman with an aching tooth was mysteriously withdrawn from sale.

Last November, Sotheby’s New York was set to auction Blanchisseuses souffrant des dents by the Impressionist master Edgar Degas, carrying an estimated value of $350,000 to $450,000 (€248,000-€318,900). But at the eleventh hour, the small, six-by-eight inch portrait of a laundrywoman with an aching tooth was mysteriously withdrawn from sale.

May 25, 2011

Antique fakes are almost as old as the antiques themselves. Christopher Owen, who helped expose one of the greatest frauds in the history of the market, tells the tale – and the lessons that buyers should draw from it.

Michael Smith, one of America’s top interior designers who was commissioned by the Obamas to redo the interiors of the White House, was taken aback when a friend called from London in early 2008 with some disturbing news.

According to a prominent London newspaper, John Hobbs, one of London’s premier antiques dealers, specialising in the most expensive English and Continental furniture, had been publicly accused by his restorer of selling fakes.

May 24, 2011

Picasso’s five nudes Les Demoiselles d’Avignon helped popularise the beauty of tribal masks. Nearly 100 years later they remain hugely popular – and very collectable. Toby Walne reports

Tribal masks offer fascinating and exotic investment opportunities that have enjoyed some impressive returns in recent years. Most collectable pieces were picked up as colonial souvenirs and relatively worthless trinkets by European explorers travelling the world in search of conquests between the 18th and early 20th century.

March 18, 2011

There are few collectables that instil as much passion as investing in musical instruments. Tara Loader Wilkinson looks at the trends

Jonathan Moulds, the boss of Bank of America/Merrill Lynch’s business in Europe, knows his violins. Stradivarius Jonty, as his colleagues know him, has one of the most famed collections of antique violins in the world, including three of possibly the best examples of Stradivarius ever made as well as an equally fine example of a Guarneri violin.

March 18, 2011

The Ferrari 275 GTB4 has it all – stunning looks, iconic past owners and a value that keeps on rising, reports Marc Smith

In the 1960s, a special relationship blossomed between some Hollywood screen legends and the Italian film establishment. Famously, Burt Lancaster worked with Luchino Visconti on The Leopard and Clint Eastwood teamed up with Sergio Leone to make a series of now classic westerns.

March 16, 2011

Clean technology is fuelling a boom for metals with names seemingly from the comic strips of superman. Collectively known as rare earths, David Wigan takes a look at what exactly are these weird metals and asks whether it is possible to make money out of them

In the year 1219, after uniting the tribes of Mongolia, Genghis Khan dispatched 450 men to the town of Otrar, in present-day Kazakhstan, to trade. The local governor Inalchuq executed the group, and later beheaded Khan’s ambassador, sent to request an apology. Khan’s response was to raise an army and embark on the most brutal and successful military campaign in history. Inalchuq was executed by the application of molten silver to his ears and eyes.

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