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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: A series of watercolors and sketches attributed to Adolf Hitler come up for auction today in England. Collectors from around the world are expected to offer up to $10,000 per painting. From London, Stephen Beard reports.
STEPHEN BEARD: The 19 watercolors and two sketches are believed to have been painted by Hitler when he served as a corporal in Flanders during the First World War.
The pictures, most of them landscapes, were found in a farmhouse in Belgium. The current owner, who doesn’t want to be identified, insists the paintings are genuine. The paper is of the right age and the signature was apparently verified by experts.
But given the long history of Hitler fakes and forgeries, the auctioneer Ian Morris is not guaranteeing authenticity. He defends the sale.
IAN MORRIS: This was done before he became the man he did, became the evil man he did. If items came in from the Second World War we would have a different perspective and probably we wouldn’t sell it.
The sale, which is expected to raise up to $200,000, would be illegal in many other European countries including Germany. There it’s a criminal offence to buy sell or own Nazi memorabilia.
In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.
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