A couple of days ago we were offered Garçon à la Pipe, the Rose Period oil which, if you don’t know, sold for $104.1 in 2004, at the time the highest-priced object ever sold at auction.  (Since this writing, we have been offered this very painting multiple times, but always by dubious sources.). Usually I just round-file such emails, but this time on a lark I decided to indulge the sender. Here’s an exact transcript of the ensuing correspondence, apart from the redacted vendor’s name:

Dear Mr Ledor:  We represent some owners of Master Pieces of the most relevant contemporary artist. Now we have the opportunity of offer you one of the most important Fine Arts of Picasso directly for you.  If you have a real interest, let me know to send you more details.  Best Regards, IM, Spain

Thank you!  Please send me photos and net dealer’s prices of all your Picassos.  Saludos, Dr. Kobi Ledor

Dear Kobi:  First of all I want to asked you for discretion and confidentiality.  I am offering this opportunity to you because I found out that you are a lover of Picasso and we want this Masterpiece will belong to one lover of Picasso.  Let´s start with one of the most famous paint of Pablo.Garçon à la pipe.  I send you a brief presentation of the paint and some comments from the last auction.  If you think you can sell this to some of your clients or from yourself , let me know to start the process of pricing and so on.  This could be a very big deal and we have to address this carefully.  Thank you very much and we keep in touch.  IM

That’s one of my favorites.  I’ll buy it myself.  Would 500,000 euros be enough?  I’m ready to wire the funds mañana.  Thanks, Kobi

Sorry, I left off 3 zeros.  I meant 500,000,000 euros.  Please send me your bank wire instructions.  Kobi

Good evening Doctor.  Are you really interested?  Thank you a lot, IM

I found your address and have already sent you the money.  You’re welcome.  Kobi

Dear Kobi.  Thank you very much for your interest.  If you have a real interest and you want to pay 500 million of Euros for this work art, please confirm and today I will talk with lawyers to make you the reservation letter and I will talk with my customer to confirm the price and start the process.  Please send me a formal letter with your official offer

 Dear kobi..  It seems very strange.  We have our procedures and I do not know about what money you are talking about.  Please explain me everything,otherwise we can not consider your proposal seriously.  Best regards

It’s simple.  Let me know when the 500,000,000 euros I sent you have arrived, and I’ll let you know where to ship the painting.  Kobi

Dear Kobi, The process is the following: 1-You send me a letter of intend, 2-I present your offer to my client, 3.If he agrees, I let you know and I send you all the details of the paint,certificates and everything., 4-we make the transaction, you pay and we send the paint to you.  Now I can not accept receive the money in front because first of all I don’t have the OK of my customer.  Also where and how did you send the money?  I guess you have a lot of experience in art deals and I don’t think you take such a big risk to pay this amount of money without any warranty.  Please stop everything and let’s do everything following my instruction.  This is not a fake,we have customer and he has the authentic paint ,but we need to do things properly.  I will refuse the payment.  Best Regards

What’s the matter?  Is it not enough money?  OK, OK, enough already.  It’s a holiday here today but I’ll send you another 500,000,000 tomorrow.  I promise!  Please don’t sell to anyone else.  After all, I’ve already paid–at least half!  Kobi

Kobi I repeat is not about the money.  You know better than me the value of this paint.  It is about the procedure.  Can we talk now?  Give me your phone number

Dear Doctor.  The quantity of 500 million is more than enough.  I will talk with my client and let you know ok?  Don’t send me more money.

Dear Dr. Kobi Ledor.   I attach you the letter of intend , you to send me signed and stamped.  Also, I need your passport.  I send you in Word format you to complete, if you want to add something.  Once U have this I will talk with my client, to try to close the deal.  Best Regards

OK, I get it now.  It’s not about the money.  It’s about finding that boy a good home. Well I assure you mine is.  And I have no problem with sending you my passport since I’ll never need to travel again.  I’ll be happy to just sit and stare at him all day long.   Thanks, Kobi

Kobi: One question, I read in your blog that this paint is not one of the best of Picasso for you and also you know how much they pay in the Sothebys auction last 2004.  But now you want to pay 5 times that price …what is the reason?  I need a copy of your passport, not your passport my friend.  You will travel to Spain because if we close the deal I will invite you here to show the best museum from Madrid.  Best Regards

Hi!  Just to update you, since you said you would not accept my payment, I have cancelled the check and have already bought another equal Picasso.  That’s enough action for one week, as I like to proceed slowly.  But by next week I’ll be back in the market, so if you could offer Guernica to me at a reasonable price, you’d have a deal.  Thanks for your understanding, Kobi

It is a pity because I was talking with the owners to try to convince them for you.  In fact they are almost convinced but you know that we have only one shot.  This paint is unique because is the only one…it is not a fake is not a copy…  Please reconsider, otherwise you probably lose the opportunity.