EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images
May 12, 2016

You typically go to a museum or gallery to look at priceless masterpieces by famous artists. But one museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is hosting an exhibition on expertly forged artworks.

The 40 fake pieces are supposed to be by South American artists like Antonio Berni and came with forged certificates of authenticity. Some of the forgers even went to great lengths to punch holes in the paintings to make them looked aged.

They were part of the some 240 works seized by police in a raid of a band of forgers. “Some of the copies are clumsily executed, but others are very good," said the show's curator Mario Naranjo, an official from the Argentine finance ministry. "This kind of crime makes millions of dollars. It is considered the biggest racket in the world, after arms and drug-trafficking.”

The collection is actually worth about $600,000, which is just a fraction of what the real paintings would sell for.

The exhibition began in late April and runs until mid-May at the finance ministry in Buenos Aires. The works will then be used as evidence in court to prosecute the forgers. 

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