Art: The Victim's Guide

Everyone knows the price of a hot dog —but who can estimate the value of a dog bed once owned by Marie Antoinette? Any housewife knows what to pay for a dozen oranges—but how much must she spend for a Basket of Fruit by Cézanne? The price of good art and antiques tends to fluctuate by nations, by year, by fashion, by taxes and by trickery.

What art costs was the problem faced by Howard L. Katzander and his wife, both members of the editorial staff of the New York Times,* when they bought a house in uptown Manhattan and blithely...

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