Treasure Hunt Tycoon Chapter 664: Dropped Dead
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While taking out the paintings, Li Du also took out a certificate of authenticity that was signed by the oil painting experts from both Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Christie's.
When Jacob saw the certificate of authenticity, he smiled. "Was it they who authenticated for you? Young Potter, this is a simple matter, you may not have needed me to come over and help."
"Why would you say that, Uncle Jacob?" Potter asked curiously.
"Three of the people who authenticated this painting are friends of mine," Jacob replied. "I know their characters very well: they are honest and capable. The result of the authentication is official."
Li Du smiled. It seemed like the two groups of people that Roger had helped him find were credible.
Jacob still proceeded to authenticate the painting in a very serious manner.
He also brought along a small machine that could a.n.a.lyze the paint and canvas of the painting.
Li Du asked curiously, "Is that a tool for Carbon-14 a.n.a.lysis?"
Although he had already heard of such authentication techniques used on historical relics in archaeology, he had never encountered one before.
The old man shook his head and smiled. "No, Carbon-14 a.n.a.lysis is not suitable for oil paintings. Firstly, it is not precise enough. Secondly, the amount of samples it requires is large, and not all oil paintings can provide such a large amount of samples."
Nonetheless, the authentication method used by this machine was similar to the authentication method of using Carbon-14 a.n.a.lysis. The machine tested for the presence of Cesium 137 and Strontium-90.
Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 were two types of unique isotopes that were released by nukes during the 40s and 50s of the last century. They possessed frightening permeability and had permeated the Earth's entire soil layer, its flora, and fauna.
The adhesive natural oil that was required in the creation of oil paintings had also been permeated by these two types of isotopes.
Before the explosion of the nukes, these two types of isotopes had never appeared in nature.
As such, if experts found these two types of isotopes in a painting that was dated before 1945, the only conclusion was that the painting was a fake that had been forged after 1945.
"What if these paintings were forged before 1945?" Li Du asked.
The old man explained patiently, "Forgery techniques achieved rapid developments only after World War II. The techniques for forging oil paintings were not well developed before 1945 and so, fake oil paintings from then are easy to distinguish.
"Also, Van Gogh's artworks only began dominating the art market after World War II. Before that, it was praised by many but bought by no one. As such, no one would put in the effort to forge fakes.
"Of course, these reasons are not definite and are only just for reference. For the most part, it is still necessary to rely on experts' a.n.a.lyses and authentications. From the lines and the usage of colors, we are able to identify the differences between a genuine painting and a fake painting."
The saying, "If there is no demand, there is no crime," was very appropriate for the forgery of artworks.
The final authentication result was the same as what was stated in the certificate of authenticity: the two paintings were genuine.
Potter nodded his head in satisfaction and said, "Let's decided on the prices of these two paintings then. If the prices are suitable, I can buy them both."
"Both?" Li Du was dumbfounded. Potter was indeed extraordinarily wealthy.
"I have an elder who wants to give a present to an important customer. As the customer likes oil paintings, I think these two oil paintings will please him."
Li Du was shocked. "Paying a few million for a present? The deal of yours is too huge."
Potter did not continue the conversation. He laughed a little and said, "I don't know much about that, but let's discuss the prices."
The prices of the two paintings were based on the market prices of other paintings. Previously, the two groups of experts had already suggested prices to Li Du during the authentication of the paintings.
As long as the prices had not been set, there was still room to bargain. Since Hans was an expert in this aspect, Li Du had him negotiate the prices.
"According to the quotations from the collectors, museums, and auction houses that we have contacted," Hans said, "'Beach at Scheveningen in Stormy Weather' was priced at 32,000,000 while 'Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen' was priced at 20,000,000."
Potter was about to speak, but Jacob smiled and stopped him, hinting that he would handle this.
During another long round of bargaining, both parties made different phone calls to seek the opinions of various friends as a reference. Finally, the prices were set.
"Beach at Scheveningen in Stormy Weather" was priced at 30,000,000 while "Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen" was priced at 16,000,000.
Li Du accepted the prices. As the prices were not too different from those initially suggested by the two groups of experts, it was evident that these people were not prodigals or easy to fool.
The two paintings were sold at a total price of 46,000,000, which gave Li Du's wallet a new lease on life.
Li Du gave Roger and lawyer Bauer a call to complete the purchase of Norman's and Horford's shares.
Both their shares combined was one percent of the company's equity. Li Du needed to use the price at which he'd bought Tedrick's shares to buy both of their shares. Previously, he spent 11,200,000 to buy 0.008 percent of shares. This time around, the price for buying one percent of shares would be 14,000,000.
After the purchase had ended, Li Du was in possession of 8.8 percent of Harry Winston's shares, which made him an important shareholder.
As he still had a bunch of taxes that he had yet pay, he could not spend the remaining 32,000,000 dollars. This money needed to be kept to pay taxes, or else, he would be in trouble once the IRS came after him.
Having earned enough money from fire opals, Li Du still wanted to go back and continue digging for them.
He had already come up with a plan. He was going to spend two years in America working hard to dig for fire opals and helping Harry Winston complete its transformation, while buying the company's shares in the meantime. After which, he would just live on the dividends.
As for Harry Winston not being able to buy any more of his fire opals? There was nothing to fear as he could sell them to other luxury goods companies.
In the ranking of the world's top luxury goods companies, the combined power of Harry Winston was not even enough to enter the top 50 rankings. The other big companies still had huge markets that they could tap into.
After resting for a few days, Li Du went back to the national park with high aspirations.
When he tried to rent a piece of land, he was rejected.
Astonished, Li Du asked, "Why deny me entry into the national park?"
The administrative staff member, who was in charge of managing the ticketing counter, smiled. "We are not denying you entry. It's just that we are no longer allowing you to go in to search for gemstones. You have already topped our gem hunters hall of fame."
Li Du gave him a blank stare. "F*ck, what is going on?"
He thought that the matter regarding him helping Rose to deal with Surgi, Hughes, and the others had been exposed, which caused the national park's management to join forces against a common enemy: him.
In reality, this was not the case. At the very least, this was not the main reason.
Or was it Owen, who had set Li Du up by informing the national park of the truth that he had found more than 30 pieces of fire opal here in one go?
The national park had a hilarious rule whereby, if the number of fire opals harvested by a gem hunter exceeded 24, the gem hunter would be placed into the hall of fame and be barred from entering.
The basis for this rule was to protect the precious gemstone resource. According to the theory of probability, it would be really difficult for an ordinary person to harvest 24 pieces of gemstones in a year. If the number of gemstones harvested exceeded this number, it proved that illegal methods were used.
Every gem hunter knew about this rule. Truth be told, this rule was just a formality. As the national park had no rights to check the gem hunters' harvests, no one would know how much one has harvested in a year if they kept a low profile and went out to settle their gemstones themselves.
Li Du had not known about this rule, and nearly dropped dead upon hearing it.
Treasure Hunt Tycoon Chapter 664: Dropped Dead
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Treasure Hunt Tycoon Chapter 664: Dropped Dead summary
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