Art: Bargain Finder

Director Walter Heil, 59, of San Francisco's M. H. De Young Memorial Museum, got his reputation for sharp eyes and cagey bargaining in 1948 when he spotted a marble boy on a Manhattan art dealer's window sill, bought it for $1,800. Experts agreed that it was one of the few existing works of the 18th Century Italian master, Andrea del Verrocchio (TIME, March 14, 1949), and worth many times its purchase price.

While traveling in Europe last July, Bargain Hunter Heil dropped in at a tourist art shop in Florence, asked the proprietress if she had "anything old" on hand. She opened...