London Museum Unveils Display of Forged Art

A multi-million dollar collection of forged art seized by police went on public display for the first time Saturday.

The exhibition, at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), featured more than 100 fake works from Lowry paintings to Barbara Hepworth sculptures.

Experts said the collection, which also includes paintings by Thomas Moran and graffiti artist Banksy, would be worth U.S. $6.45 million if genuine.

Many of the works were made by one of most notorious forgers in British art history, Shaun Greenhalgh.

Greenhalgh was jailed for four years and eight months in 2007 after police discovered an astonishing studio of forgeries in his garden shed.

His output ranged from replicas of ancient Egyptian statues to Lowry pastels and even a Barbara Hepworth duck sculpture thought to have been lost.

Other forgers with works on display were John Myatt and Robert Thwaites.

Detective sergeant Vernon Rapley, who leads the Metropolitan Police's art and antiques unit, said it was not just the rich and famous who fall victim to art crime.

He said most forgers create works worth less than £10,000 knowing they will attract less attention and may not be checked thoroughly.

But despite the arrest of Greenhalgh and others, Rapley said art forgery was still a thriving business, with Banksy and Tracey Emin among the living artists most often copied.

"This display will demonstrate that art crime is not just a topic for historic consideration. It reveals a situation very much alive and at the forefront of the art and antiques unit's priorities today," he said.

"We hope that by highlighting some of the new techniques criminals use, we can educate people in what to look out for and encourage greater reporting of these crimes."

The V&A display, which runs until Feb. 7, also included materials such as vintage typewriters and false stamps, used by forgers to create false paperwork.

Some forgers inserted letters, invoices and other documents into archives to invent a history for their work to make it appear authentic.

Click here for the full report from Sky News.