A rather pricey piece of art known as “America” was stolen from Blenheim Palace, Thames Valley Police have confirmed, and it wasn’t just any art—this was a solid gold toilet on display—complete with plumbing—making it a fully functioning piece of art.
The toilet cast in 18-karat gold, created by Maurizio Cattelan, was originally on display—in a restroom—in the Guggenheim. Guests could even use the toilet, if they chose, although the lines to use it were long, and guests could only spend 90 seconds with it.
When the Guggenheim was done with the toilet, it was offered to Donald Trump as a consolation prize, after he had requested a van Gogh, with which the Guggenheim was unwilling to part.
The President evidently declined the generous offer, because the golden toilet then made its way to Blenheim Palace, where again it was fully plumbed and available for visitors to use—this time, however, guests could spend 3 minutes using it or appreciating it in some other way--or perhaps both.
While its time spent at the Guggenheim was as uneventful as one might imagine a toilet’s experience to be, at Blenheim, “America” didn’t make it even two days before it was ripped up from the ground and stolen.
“A group of offenders broke into the palace and stole a high-value toilet made out of gold that was on display,” Detective Inspector Jess Milne said straight-faced at a press conference. The perpetrators who absconded with the toilet left destruction and flooding in their wake because it was attached to plumbing.
“We are saddened by this extraordinary event, but also relieved no one was hurt,” Blenheim Palace tweeted out. We’re reasonably sure that the pun there was unintentional.
One man—age 66—has been arrested in connection with the incident. The toilet has not yet been recovered, however.
Estimates as to the value of the solid gold toilet range anywhere from $1 million to $6 million. Sadly enough, despite its value, it was originally thought to pose only a mild risk of thievery because it was plumbed into the building. Related: Trade War Pushes Ultra-Rich Back Into Cash
“Firstly, it’s plumbed in and secondly, a potential thief will have no idea who last used the toilet or what they ate. So no, I don’t plan to be guarding it,” the founder of the Blenheim Art Foundation, Edward Spencer-Churchill, told the Sunday Times last month.
Hoping that the thieves wouldn’t melt the golden toilet down, the artist said he would rather the thieves made use of the toilet, and made a plea to the thieves: “Dear thieves, please, if you are reading this, let me know how much you like the piece and how it feels to pee on gold,” Cattelan said.
Sure, the toilet has value. But the high-priced toilet-slash-work-of-art is not the most high-priced toilet in the world. The record-holder for “the most expensive toilet ever made in the history of toilets” belongs to the International Space Station toilet, valued at $19 million, according to moneyinc.
The next highest price toilet is the Hang Fung golden toilet, which is part of an all-gold washroom.
By Julianne Geiger for SafeHaven.com
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