In South Africa, the galleries are concerned that bronze sculptures are being stolen for their copper value, according to the Washington Post, where a $16,000 art work gets sold for a quick $250:
At the Johannesburg Art Gallery, home to Picassos, van Goghs and Rodins, thieves stole a figure of a woman in mourning by South African master sculptor Sydney Kumalo. The Kumalo is one of a total of four bronzes taken in a robbery in January and another in September at the city-owned gallery.
A small bronze titled “A chair, a boat and a vase” by well-known South African sculptor Barend De Wet was wrenched from the facade of the national art museum in Cape Town in May.
“There’s a lot of very sophisticated (security) systems internationally that, unfortunately, we just can’t afford,” said Antoinette Murdoch, chief curator of the Johannesburg Art Gallery.