Format: Trade Paperback
Dimensions: 336 pages, 8 × 5.16 × 0.75 in
Published: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0307461483
ISBN - 13: 9780307461483
About the Book
Armed with a scholar's passion, a con man's smile, and a daredevil's nerves, Wittman--former leader of the FBI's Art Crime Team--had pulled off undercover operations all over the world. In "Priceless," readers learn about the greatest unsolved art heist of the 20th century.
From the Publisher
The Wall Street Journal called him "a living legend."
The London Times dubbed him "the most famous art detective
in the world."
In Priceless, Robert K. Wittman, the founder of the FBI's
Art Crime Team, pulls back the curtain on his remarkable career for
the first time, offering a real-life international thriller to
rival The Thomas Crown Affair.
Rising from humble roots as the son of an antique dealer, Wittman
built a twenty-year career that was nothing short of extraordinary.
He went undercover, usually unarmed, to catch art thieves,
scammers, and black market traders in Paris and Philadelphia, Rio
and Santa Fe, Miami and Madrid.
In this page-turning memoir, Wittman fascinates with the stories
behind his recoveries of priceless art and antiquities: The golden
armor of an ancient Peruvian warrior king. The Rodin sculpture that
inspired the Impressionist movement. The headdress Geronimo wore at
his final Pow-Wow. The rare Civil War battle flag carried into
battle by one of the nation's first African-American
The breadth of Wittman's exploits is unmatched: He traveled the
world to rescue paintings by Rockwell and Rembrandt, Pissarro,
Monet and Picasso, often working undercover overseas at the whim of
foreign governments. Closer to home, he recovered an original copy
of the Bill of Rights and cracked the scam that rocked the PBS
series Antiques Roadshow.
By the FBI's accounting, Wittman saved hundreds of millions of
dollars worth of art and antiquities. He says the statistic isn't
important. After all, who's to say what is worth more --a Rembrandt
self-portrait or an American flag carried into battle? They''re
The art thieves and scammers Wittman caught run the gamut from rich
to poor, smart to foolish, organized criminals to desperate
loners. The smuggler who brought him a looted 6th-century
treasure turned out to be a high-ranking diplomat. The
appraiser who stole countless heirlooms from war heroes'
descendants was a slick, aristocratic con man. The museum
janitor who made off with locks of George Washington''s hair just
wanted to make a few extra bucks, figuring no one would miss what
In his final case, Wittman called on every bit of knowledge and
experience in his arsenal to take on his greatest challenge:
working undercover to track the vicious criminals behind what might
be the most audacious art theft of all.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
ROBERT K. WITTMAN spent twenty years as an FBI
special agent. He created and was senior investigator for the
bureau's Art Crime Team. Today, he is president of the
international art security firm Robert Wittman Inc.
JOHN SHIFFMAN is an investigative reporter at
The Philadelphia Inquirer. He has won numerous writing
awards and was a 2009 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
From the Hardcover edition.
“Almost every case he recounts has enough intrigue and suspense for a Hollywood screenplay.”--The Washington Post "Genius... Riveting.... Should be a TV series."--Los Angeles Times "A rollicking memoir... investigative details dazzle... PRICELESS can read at times, not unpleasantly, as if an art history textbook got mixed up at the printer with a screenplay for THE WIRE."--The New York Times "Riveting... superbly crafted... absolutely, hands down the best book ever written on art crime."--Associated Press “I can’t think of a better title for a book than this one, PRICELESS. Because this non-fiction story is priceless, a spellbinding narrative of an FBI agent’s journey into the crazy murk of what is perhaps the most fascinating criminal activity of all, high-stakes art theft into the millions upon millions.”--Buzz Bissinger, New York Times bestselling author of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and coauthor of SHOOTING STARS "Entertaining...crime buffs will receive a painless education while they enjoy a lively account of art thieves and the man who pursued them."--Kirkus Reviews "Wittman''s memoir, PRICELESS, is a fast-paced, gripping narrative of stolen national treasures and those who traffic in them. An undercover lawman armed with wit and adrenalin, Wittman exposes the darkest corners of the art world and brings to justice the dangerous criminals who lurk there."--Laney Salisbury, co-author of PROVENANCE: HOW A CON MAN AND A FORGER