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November 24, 2017

The Dark Web – drugs, guns, & $500,000 antique paintings?

Will the painting listed on the Dark web prove to be the real 133 year old Gottfried Lindauer painting?

By Tom Ball

It is well known that the Dark web is used for the nefarious dealing of illicit items and substances, but what if you wanted to buy a 133 year old Gottfried Lindauer painting?

Well it just so happens that a painting fitting these specifications has in fact been listed for sale on the White Shadow marketplace, with a price tag of $500,000.

Lindauer settled in New Zealand before he died in 1926, with some of his paintings ending up in the International Art Centre in the country. The painting in question, Chief Ngatai-Raure, was stolen earlier this year.

The Dark web – Drugs, guns, $500,000 antique paintings?Unsurprisingly the seller initiated a bitcoin auction for the painting; bringing the soaring cryptocurrency to the centre of yet another criminal cyber activity. This auction was set up alongside the casual ‘buy it now’ price of $500,000.

As reported by Wired, the Dark web seller’s advertisement said: “Here you can bid on an [sic] TOP SECRET original Painting from Bohemian painter Gottfried Lindauer that was stolen in New Zealand, Auckland 2017,” reads the advertisement posted by Diabolo, who claims the painting is “100% genuine”

Speaking to the New Zealand Herakd, Hamish Coney, the managing director of the Art and Object gallery in New Zealand, reportedly said: “If it’s genuine then I am pleased that it may still be in existence, but where it is and who’s got it is the question… The image sent to me was literally a thumbnail size, so for me to draw any conclusions from what I have seen is not possible, whether its an image of the artwork in possession of someone who now has it – that I can’t answer.”

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The question of authenticity remains, with the seller claiming to just be a middle-man in the process, having had nothing to do with the theft of the painting. It can be challenging to tell if a painting is the real thing even when experts get the chance to run tests, but the fact it went missing recently makes a strong suggestion. Regardless of the truth, this must surely be one of the most unusual items to buy on the Dark web.

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