Posts Tagged With: Painting

Mexican drug cartel tried to smuggle marijuana painted to look like fruit…..


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A Mexican drug cartel recently used its painting skills to smuggle millions of dollars of marijuana into the United States, a brushstroke of genius of sorts until the effort was uncovered by a federal border agent.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents stopped a suspicious tractor trailer late Thursday on Interstate 19, south of Tucson, Ariz. Inside, the driver said, was a shipment of watermelons. But when agents inspected the shipment using X-ray imaging, they discovered the purported fruit was actually packages of marijuana painted to look like watermelons.

“These criminals use a lot of unique ways to try to conceal their narcotics,” Tucson CBP Agent Bryan Flowers said. “We’ve seen individuals use false compartments in the seats and gas tanks.  We’ve also found marijuana in tractor trailers here before.”

The truck had already crossed into the United States about 20 miles south, near Nogales. The trailer’s contents were discovered at a second mobile checkpoint close to Tucson.

Drug Enforcement Administration officials later took custody of the contraband and tractor trailer, estimating the value of the marijuana in the millions.

Flowers said this isn’t the first time the agency found marijuana disguised as fruit.

In April 2010, agents discovered 9,500 pounds hidden in a load of real watermelons. In June 2008 in Nogales a narcotics dog helped sniff out 5,000 pounds of pot valued at $8.3 million. DEA officials in Phoenix are still determining the street value and total weight of Thursday night’s haul.

The driver of the truck remains in custody, authorities said.

watermelons_pot2

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Arizona Woman Finds JFK Portrait Hidden Behind Picture Frame…..worth $1000’s



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A Glendale woman and her husband were shopping at a yard sale when they came across a picture of a horse. They bought the picture, intending just to use the frame, when the husband had a feeling something wasn’t right.
“He says, ‘I just have this gut feeling that there’s something behind that,’” Pam Dwyer said.

Her husband’s hunch was correct. When the couple removed the picture from the frame, they found a pencil portrait of John F. Kennedy from 1961.

“I was just in awe of the detail, and the likeness, and that it was an original,” Dwyer said.

She researched the artists, Carmelo Soraci, and discovered that he was an infamous forger who had been incarcerated. While in jail, he unleashed his hidden talent.

“He was best known for the stained glass artwork he created when he was in prison, actually,” Dwyer said.

Dwyer took the portrait to art appraiser Lisa Barnes, who told her since the artist didn’t have a history of sales, it would be difficult to give the portrait an exact appraisal.

“Someone like the Smithsonian would buy this because of the merit of how he captured and he depicted JFK,” Barnes said. Eventually, she priced the portrait at $2,500 to $5,000.
Dwyer said, “I’m happy with how much she was impressed by it.”

Dwyer only paid $5 for the painting at a flea market/garage sale, and was thrilled to learn she could make up to 100 times that amount.

“I’ll probably sell it,” she said. “You know we’ve been on hard times.”

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Renoir artwork from flea market now thought stolen……



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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Renoir painting that caused a sensation when it was bought at a flea market for $7 may have been stolen from a museum six decades ago, and an auction house has put its sale on hold.
The planned Saturday auction was canceled Thursday after a reporter for The Washington Post discovered documents in the Baltimore Museum of Art’s library showing that the painting was on loan there from 1937 until 1951, when it was stolen.
The Impressionist painting, whose title translates as “Landscape on the Banks of the Seine,” was purchased two years ago at a West Virginia flea market. The buyer, a Virginia woman who has not revealed her name, took it to auction house The Potomack Co. in July, and experts there confirmed it was by the French master Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The frame of the painting includes a “Renoir” plaque.
It had been expected to fetch $75,000 or more at auction.
“Potomack is relieved this came to light in a timely manner as we do not want to sell any item without clear title,” Elizabeth Wainstein, the owner of the Alexandria, Va.-based auction house, said in a statement.
Potomack and museum officials have notified the FBI about the theft, and an FBI spokesman said the bureau was investigating.
The documents uncovered by The Post in the museum’s library indicated that the painting was part of the collection of Saidie May, a major donor to the BMA. It was reported stolen on Nov. 17, 1951, according to the documents, although there is no known police report and the painting does not appear on a worldwide registry of stolen art.
The reported theft occurred shortly after May’s death, and the painting had not yet been formally accepted into the museum’s collection, which is why museum officials did not initially realize it had been there, BMA director Doreen Bolger said.
“We were caught by surprise,” Bolger said Thursday.
Bolger said she would be happy to show the painting again if it is ultimately returned to the museum.
“As this unfolds, we’ll find out more about the ownership of the painting,” she said. “If the painting is ours, we would be pleased to have it on view.”

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Possible da Vinci painting found in Scottish farmhouse; could be worth $150 million


Experts say the six highlighted points indicate this may be a daVinci original (Daily Mail)
Fiona McLaren, 59, had kept an old painting in her Scottish farmhouse for decades. She reportedly didn’t think much of the painting, which had been given to her as a gift by her father. But after she finally decided to have the painting appraised, some experts are speculating that it may in fact be a 500-year-old painting by Leonardo da Vinci and potentially worth more than $150 million.

“I showed it to him [auctioneer Harry Robertson] and he was staggered, speechless save for a sigh of exclamation,” said Ms. McLaren, according to The People.

The Daily Mail says the painting may be of Mary Magdalene holding a young child. The painting is now undergoing further analysis by experts at the Cambridge University and the Hamilton Kerr Institute, who will attempt to uncover its exact age and origins.

Categories: Lost Treasure | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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