FAKERS FOILED BY SPELLING MISTAKE
November 19, 2007
WHEN an old man came to them asking about a family treasure, the experts at the British Museum were glad to help.
But when George Greenhalgh, 84, hinted that he would be willing to let go of the 2,700-year-old Assyrian stone frieze for Â£500,000 ($1.5m), the museum staff got suspicious.
They inspected the carving of a bearded horseman leading two steeds, and found that something was wrong with the way the harnesses were drawn, reported The Independent.
More importantly, there was a spelling mistake in the ancient Mesopotamian writing.
The piece was a clever fake.
This discovery was promptly reported to Scotland Yard, and an 18-month investigation was launched.
The detectives were astonished to find that Greenhalgh, his wife, Olive, 83, and their 47-year-old son Shaun, an antiques dealer, were at the heart of a huge fake art scam.
The Greenhalgh's home was filled with a collection of carefully faked treasures, made from original materials like Egyptian glass and Roman silver, and given extensive fake histories based on detailed research.
The 120 pieces found would have brought in an estimated Â£10 million in total if they had been sold at market prices.
Still, aren't there any examples of spelling errors in ancient works? Or were sculptors better proofreaders than we are?