Experts are not sure if the painting is real but there have already been two bids in it amounting to just over $210,000.
You can buy anything from drugs to cyberweapons on criminal hub the dark web. In fact, the dark web is a hive of illegal activity from products to services and it is widely used by the cybercriminal underground community. It now also appears that rare stolen paintings can also be bought and sold.
This comes after it was reportedly found that a stolen Gottfried Lindauer painting was put up for sale by a dark web vendor known as Diabolo. The painting is one of two which were stolen from an art gallery, the International Art Centre, in New Zealand. The theft took place in April.
And, the 133-year-old painting is now reportedly listed for sale on the dark web marketplace White Shadow for $500,000. The painting is titled Chief Ngatai-Raure. According to local media, Diablo states in his online advert that bidding on the painting can commence.
In the ad, he also calls the sale top secret and admits that it was stolen from Auckland, New Zealand this year. Diablo also reportedly claims the painting is the 100% genuine artwork of Bohemian painter Gottfried Lindauer. According to reports, the painting has featured on the dark web market for the last three weeks.
And during that time the vendor added a Bitcoin auction to the ad which originally only featured a buy now price. The local news agency also reported that there had been two bods for the painting with the leading one sitting at 35.1129 Bitcoin. This is equivalent to a little over $210,000.
Diablo also apparently told the news source that the listing was not for 99% of the darknet users because they simply do not have that sort of money. He added that he thought it was only for the rich and collectors.
ReSolve Cyber CEO Jim Wheeler, was the one who spotted the painting online. He said that in the past his team has seen hackers-for-hire, drugs, and guns for sale online but it was the first time they had seen fine art in the marketplace. Diablo has also said that he is not associated with the theft of the painting or those behind it.
For many, the authenticity of the painting on sale remains a mystery. Representatives from International Art Centre, where the painting was stolen from, believe the painting may be a hoax or a replica. According to Hamish Coney, the managing director of the Art and Object gallery in New Zealand, the frame of the online artwork differs from the one which was originally offered.
He said that the frame is either photoshopped or added later. Coney added that if it was the real painting he was happy it was still in existence. New Zealand police are still investigating the heist of the two paintings. it was reported by local media at the time of the heist that a van brazenly smashing into the art gallery’s window before criminals stole the two paintings.