Friday 24 August 2012

Investigative journalist required

The plot thickens. When I did some sums, gasped, and emailed Chris in Belgium that the buyer who beat him to the photo had within an hour spent 1776 euros in all on photos from this vendor, he emailed back saying, "If it was Sudek13, then you've no chance."

Sudek13, it's easy to find by googling, is an immensely rich Canadian with a team who trawl eBay for militaria, artworks, models and who knows what else, always using a sniper to swoop in at the last second to nab the item. Nothing wrong with sniping, of course, I've done it myself - what's got them all chattering out there though is that he has so much money to throw at the bids that no-one else has a chance - and then, having bought the goods, they disappear.

Chris, after some auction battles with Sudek13, had a man show up at his door with pocketfuls of cash offering to buy his entire collection. This same minion, he told me, when Chris came across him later, had deserted Sudek13, having discovered that he is buying up all this stuff in some sort of tax-avoidance deal with the Canadian government, which is storing all these items - of great public interest, obviously - away in some facility where no-one has access to them.

It's all very interesting, curious and a bit sinister, and my having got to this point feels like the opening scenes of a Matt Damon thriller - or at least a long piece in the Washington Post. Where are Woodward and Bernstein when you need them?

(But at least Chris has located another photo of the plane, bought by someone else who may be less reclusive. So the story continues...)

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