• Being Diligent

The WG Story (3 of 3): Teddy Bear Collector




Case Profile:

Teddy Bear Collector:

Paul Greenwood (“Greenwood”) was a collector.


He ran a Ponzi scheme with his buddy, Stephen Walsh (“Walsh”), over 14 years and stole more than $300 million collectively. The duo started a new venture called WG Trading in 1996 and promised its institutional clients to deliver “enhanced returns” over the equity index they chose. Soon after they realized they couldn’t honor the promise, they decided to cheat their clients by reporting false performance reports and made “loans” to themselves.


Greenwood used the money to expand his luxurious collections, including an over mantel mirror made by a famous English craft shop Mallett & Son in 1780 ($685,000) and the original edition of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nation ($60,000). But, the highlight of his collection is 1,348 teddy bears. The collection included a Steiff “Harlequin” bear, dating from about 1925, featuring alternating halves of red and blue plush, with the estimated cost in excess of $100,000. According to Jasper Pearson, partner in the U.K.-based antique teddy-bear dealers Sue Pearson, said “Greenwood’s collection is of extraordinary quality. He only bought museum-grade pieces in mint condition.”


Greenwood’s Antique Collection


For detail, click here. Source: Robb Evans & Associates LLC, Report of Temporary Receiver’s Activities February 25, 2009 Through May 22, 2009


Bad Investor:

His collection was auctioned at Christie’s International on Oct 13, 2010 and the hammer price was £1.1 million ($1.75 million) including fees. The return on investment was… -43%. Is it a surprise?

Sources:

WG’s Greenwood, Guilty of Fraud, Sells $1.9 Million Teddy Bears,” Bloomberg, Oct 4, 2010.

Robb Evans & Associates LLC, “Report of Temporary Receiver’s Activities February 25, 2009 Through May 22, 2009”

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