By Robert K. Wittman, John Shiffman
The Wall road magazine called him “a residing legend.” The London occasions dubbed him “the most famed paintings detective within the world.”
In Priceless, Robert okay. Wittman, the founding father of the FBI’s artwork Crime crew, pulls again the curtain on his amazing occupation for the 1st time, delivering a real-life foreign mystery to rival The Thomas Crown Affair.
Rising from humble roots because the son of an old broker, Wittman equipped a twenty-year profession that used to be not anything wanting striking. He went undercover, frequently unarmed, to capture paintings thieves, scammers, and black industry investors in Paris and Philadelphia, Rio and Santa Fe, Miami and Madrid.
In this page-turning memoir, Wittman fascinates with the tales in the back of his recoveries of helpful artwork and antiquities: The golden armor of an historical Peruvian warrior king. The Rodin sculpture that encouraged the Impressionist circulate. The headdress Geronimo wore at his ultimate Pow-Wow. The infrequent Civil warfare conflict flag carried into conflict by means of one of many nation’s first African-American regiments.
The breadth of Wittman’s exploits is unrivaled: He traveled the area to rescue work by way of Rockwell and Rembrandt, Pissarro, Monet and Picasso, frequently operating undercover out of the country on the whim of international governments. towards domestic, he recovered an unique reproduction of the invoice of Rights and cracked the rip-off that rocked the PBS sequence Antiques Roadshow.
By the FBI’s accounting, Wittman stored 1000s of hundreds of thousands of greenbacks worthy of artwork and antiquities. He says the statistic isn’t vital. in any case, who’s to assert what's worthy extra --a Rembrandt self-portrait or an American flag carried into conflict? they're either priceless.
The artwork thieves and scammers Wittman stuck run the gamut from wealthy to terrible, shrewdpermanent to silly, prepared criminals to determined loners. The smuggler who introduced him a looted 6th-century treasure grew to become out to be a high-ranking diplomat. The appraiser who stole numerous heirlooms from struggle heroes’ descendants was once a slick, aristocratic con man. The museum janitor who made off with locks of George Washington's hair simply desired to make a number of additional dollars, figuring nobody may leave out what he’d filched.
In his ultimate case, Wittman known as on each piece of data and event in his arsenal to tackle his maximum problem: operating undercover to trace the vicious criminals at the back of what will be the main audacious paintings robbery of all.
From the Hardcover edition.