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Easy Come, Easy Go: $25 Million in Signed Sports Art

The man who owned a famous set of 1970s Andy Warhol athlete portraits–signed by the subjects–has cancelled his insurance claim.

A wealthy west coast art collector says he doesn’t want the hassle.

Reason enough, he says, to wave the white flag on a $25 million insurance claim for 11 stolen portraits of sports stars he commissioned in 1977.

The famous Andy Warhol works were owned by Richard Weisman, who while broken-hearted at their loss, has enough money to decide he doesn’t want investigators combing through his personal business in an effort to determine who took them.

The set of 10 sports stars, which included Muhammad Ali, Pele, Jack Nicklaus, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Chris Evert.

Weisman actually commissioned eight sets of the “Athlete Series” from Warhol: 80 pieces in all, for which he paid $800,000. Warhol, a friend of Weisman’s, also gave the collector the personal portrait as a gift. Each set of the Athlete Series is unique, with the sports stars portrayed in different colors.

“They turn you into a suspect. I just finally told them, ‘I’m not going to go through it for three to five years. Forget it,’ ” Weisman told the Seattle Times, which tells the whole story.

About Rich Mueller

Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for more than 30 years and a collector for even longer than that, he's usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected].

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