More Frauds on eBay

Dear Kobi, I found your “Collecting Pitfalls” chapter in your manuscript on the Internet very interesting and informative. There is an offering on eBay for an “original” of Blind Minotaur Led by Young Girl from the 1956 German Vollard Suite, signed by Picasso in pencil. Was there a 1956 German edition of the Vollard Suite? The authenticity of the piece is certified by ______, who the poster of the ebay listing says is a very well known reputable appraiser of Picasso works from England. Have you ever heard of this person? Also, do you have the 1934 Blind Minotaur Led by Young Girl from the original Vollard Suite and, if so, what is the asking price for it? Best regards, Mark R.

3 thoughts on “More Frauds on eBay”

  1. Dear Mark, Your specific question lends further support to my conclusion that more than 99% of the “Picassos” on eBay are worthless fakes. There was only one authorized, original edition of the Vollard Suite. Anything published thereafter is not an original print and is worthless. Period. You can’t expect to sift through the hay stack to find the needle there, because even if you were an expert, it’s often hard to tell. Crooks are highly specialized and often very good at what they do. They are often masters of the English language as well as of deception. Read through my saga about un-authenticating a Picasso drawing and you’ll see to what amazing lengths a crook can go to seem convincing.

    The German “Vollards” are well-known photoreproductions (fakes). Amazingly, however, six of them almost slipped through a reputable auction in February, 2004. The FBI is reportedly investigating. To an expert, there are obvious differences. Even just a jeweler’s loop would suffice in their case to demonstrate the dot matrix of their photoreproductive technique.

    Picasso created four different printed works depicting the blind minotaur, all of which are included in the Vollard Suite. The nicest is the one with a solid black background (Bloch reference number 225), which, in fine condition and signed, sells generally in the low six figures. Two of the others are usually obtainable for under twenty to twenty-five thou, and the fourth lacks appeal for most collectors…. -Kobi

  2. Dear Kobi, I would be interested in further details on the Blind Minotaur Led by Young Girl. On the eBay Vollard, I received this further information (the following two emails) from the seller. Do you happen to have any articles or the like documenting the German Vollards as fakes? Also, have you ever heard of ____ Gallery? -Mark R.

    “Hi Mark this is what I received when I purchased this piece see if this will help you: Picasso Lithograph This off-set lithograph is from the Vollard Suite 1956, Germany.
    This image is listed as plate #96 in the section, ‘the Blind Minotaur’ in the book “Picasso’s Vollard Suites” by Thames and Hudson. This piece is hand signed by the artist (definitely not printed or a facsimile). Comes with a gallery certificate by ____. Provenance as certified : Purchased from ___ Gallery who purchased from ___ (partners) of France who purchased from ___ who was gifted by the artist, appraised by ___ representing ___. Reference marking PP-43-002-10. APPRAISAL QUALIFICATIONS AND CREDENTIALS: For over twenty years ___ has been an active member of the ___art community, with a first class honors degree in “Modern Languages and History of Art”, and a Post Graduate diploma (MA) in Fine Art, Qualifications obtained in ___. ___’s twenty years experience in the arts has given unmatched expertise in the field of fine art appraisal, the last twenty years, appraisals have been carried out for galleries, private sellers and numerous collectors of art, giving fine art appraisals of the twentieth century and old masters. ___ has lectured to art students and lectured on various topics concerning art and the business of art. ___ has specialized in the works of Picasso, Miro, Dali, Chagal and Warhol, acting as a Senior Art Consultant and continues to be a private art dealer. ___ is available to appraise paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings and lithographs, offering expertise, honesty and authentication service. Get back to me Thank You ___”

  3. Dear Mark, There are no articles that I know of about the “German Vollard” fakes, but I’ve heard about them from two unimpeachable sources. A word of caution: don’t fall prey to this eBay scam. He claims to be selling an offset lithograph of the Blind Minotaur. Three of the originals were etching, and the fourth was an aquatint. None of them was a lithograph. You would not be buying an original. It is conceivable, but very unlikely, that you would be buying Picasso’s signature on a fake, euphemistically called an “after” (read my final Collecting Pitfalls chapter if you don’t know what I mean). I don’t deal in “afters” and hence my knowledge of them is not as thorough as of his original prints, but I have never come across, and I come across hundreds each year, a “real” “after” hand-signed by Picasso of any Vollard Suite print. You’re about to be had. Come to think of it, there are no “afters” of Picasso prints that he signed, only “afters” of drawings and paintings. Though there are over a quarter million original Picassos, there are millions, probably many millions, of fakes. The chances of any random Picasso you come across being original is, hence, minimal. There are no “steals” anymore with Picasso. I own close to a hundred of them, and not one of them was a steal at the time that I bought it. There are many experts, Picasso is too sought after, and his works are too well catalogued, exhaustively catalogued in the case of his original prints.

    Why would anyone who is clearly not an expert in the field not stick to the known size and medium of the desired print, as the first two criteria of determining originality? I bet you that the size of your piece is wrong, not that it matters, since yours would be a fake in either case. (You could determine the correct size by browsing the URL I sent you.)

    It occurs to me that someone surfing the Picasso listings on eBay might surmise from the dearth of bids he would see there that he’s just about the only person still interested in Picasso. If one knew, however, that around 85% to 95% of the lots comprising original Picasso prints at Sotheby’s or Christie’s get sold, and at generally much higher prices, one could only conclude that not only are many people interested in owning original Picasso prints, but also that the ones who are willing and able to plunk down some real change to do so know better than to waste their time on eBay. Thankfully, very few people seem to buy “Picassos” on eBay for much more than poster money. Sure, there are real Picassos on eBay. But, unless you’re an expert, you’ll have no way of discerning them. Even the experts can be misled by a crook who knows what he’s doing, until the moment they first directly inspect the piece. -Kobi

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