In a reverse of the “one-man’s-garbage-is-another-man’s-treasure” formula, a 10-ft. Henry Moore sculpture seems to have been stolen for its scrap value of a few thousand pounds, according to Bloomberg‘s Scott Reyburn:
“Last summer the cost of bronze was enormous. It went up about four times,” the U.K.-based sculptor Robert Mileham said in a telephone interview. In 2006, three of his bronze sculptures were stolen from gardens, said Mileham.[ . . . ] “Sculptures like this have still got a breakup value,” Robert Read, head of art and private clients at the London-based specialist insurers Hiscox, said. “From a thief’s point of view, 2,000 pounds is a good return for a night’s work.”
Works of art exhibited in open air were charged “significantly higher” insurance premiums and the cover might be “restricted,” he said in a telephone interview. “As soon as you put a work of art outside in a public space, it’s very likely to be stolen or vandalized,” Read said.
Charles Hill, the former head of Scotland Yard’s art and antiques squad from 1994 to 1996, said he was sure the Moore had been chopped up in pieces and shipped over to Rotterdam for scrap. Hill, who is now security adviser to the Historic Houses Association, said in an interview that it was clear the thieves did not care about the discrepancy between the art market and metal values. In his experience, works of art were never stolen to order. “It’s just too difficult to sell them. Big art collectors don’t want to be caught with hot paintings or sculptures,” said Hill.