There is a great deal of money to be made by selling valuable works of art on the black market, which is why many art thieves are emboldened to take a tremendous amount of risk in stealing art whenever an opportunity happens to become available. The most recent example occurred at a museum that did not have any overnight security, enabling thieves to steal several screen prints made by Andy Warhol. While art thieves are often portrayed as being somewhat sophisticated, Behrman PR pointed out that the perpetrators in this incident may not have had a nuanced understanding of what made these particular prints valuable.
The prints in question were part of Warhol’s “Soup Can” series, and the museum had a full set of the larger version of these prints on display. Many of the original prints were separated from the other prints in the set and subsequently lost or damaged, making a full set quite a rarity and therefore far more valuable than if each print in the set of 10 was sold off individually. Since the art thieves only took seven of the 10 prints and broke up the set by doing so, they failed to fully capitalize on their heist and wound up severely devaluing the seven prints they did secure.
Failing to understand the difference between the value of the full set certainly hinted at the thieves’ lack of sophistication regarding art appraisal, but that is not the most comical aspect of the theft. Instead, it must be laughably noted that the thieves appeared to leave behind the three prints based on nothing more than the appeal of each flavor of soup represented on each art print. At the risk of insulting soup enthusiasts who enjoy cream of mushroom, consommé and pepper pot, the thieves apparently stole the art prints using the same rationale they would have used had they been raiding someone’s pantry.