Sir Elton John is a noted art collector with an impressive collection and as, has happened to many avid collectors, he found himself in possession of some fakes
. A French court has awarded Sir Elton John $500,000 in compensation for the purchase of four marble statues of Olympic gods that bore the signature of 18th century artist Luigi Grossi but were in fact, fakes. He had bought the four-foot-high statues in an antiques store in Paris in 1996 while shopping with another dedicated art and antiques collector, the late designer Gianni Versace. A valuation of John's collection turned up the fact that the sculptures were worth not genuine and worth just $20,000 (he had paid $360,000). Dealer John Renoncourt will be paying Sir Elton John the compensation.
Unfortunately, fakes, looted antiquities, and questions of provenance can be a risk when shopping for art and antiquities. I'm currently reading The Medici Conspiracy
, which is a fascinating account of the story of Giacomo Medici, an antiquities dealer who illegally dealt in a wide variety of antiquities, real, fake and those that were a pastiche of real and fake elements. Often with faked works, like Sir Elton, the buyer only finds out when they have a valuation done of their collection. Unfortunately, not even the signature of a famous artist on a work proves that it is the real deal.