Were investors conned into buying rare manuscripts?

17 March 2016

About 18,000 people in France are believed to have been defrauded in one of the biggest ever arts-market scams. They bought shares in rare manuscripts and letters to a value of nearly 1bn euros, before the company behind it was shut down by regulators. Now the victims of Aristophil want to know what is left of their investment.

Up until a few months ago you could visit a place called the Museum of Letters and Documents, on the Boulevard Saint-Germain in the heart of literary Paris.

Even this morning, Wikipedia English said the museum - with its stock of 130,000 rare manuscripts - was open for business.

It isn’t. What was once the haunt of dreamy youth is now a branch of Bang and Olufsen. The documents are in a warehouse in Seine-Saint-Denis.

The closure followed the disgrace of a businessman and enthusiast, who over a decade turned the fusty world of French manuscripts and autographs on its head.

Read the full story here.

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