Julian G.Y. Radcliffe has the type of job that a lends itself to a novel writer's flights of fancy. He is the founder and chairman of Art Loss Register, a database that tracks stolen art. Forbes profiles the gentleman with the interesting career whose database of pilfered paintings, jewelry, sculpture, watches and antiques lists around 180,000 objects. Radcliffe relives his biggest score, helping to recover Cézanne's "Bouilloire et fruits," which was later sold at auction for around $30 million. Radcliffe persuaded the holder of the Cézanne and six stolen other artworks to return the Cezanne in a deal that let him keep the other artworks (worth around $1 million).
When things go missing, people come to Radcliffe and the Art Loss Register. For a small registration fee and sometimes a contract that includes some fairly steep recovery fees (20% of the value of the missing object), Radcliffe and his 30 employees are on the case. The Art Loss Register is paid by 40 auction houses to run artwork through their database before upcoming auctions (Sotheby's, Christie's and four other auction houses put up some of the money to start the company). For individuals, the company charges a $40 fee per inquiry.