MANILA, Nov. 27 (UPI) — The Philippine government plans to turn to the Internet and social media to locate rare paintings once owned by former dictator Ferdinand Marcos as it plans to auction millions of dollars in jewelry from his wife’s extensive collection.
Andrew de Castro, a commissioner at the Presidential Commission on Good Government, said the agency will set up a website in December to track down works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Picasso. At the same time, auction houses Christie’s International and Sotheby’s have been sifting through more than 700 pieces of jewelry, worth millions, once owned by former first lady Imelda. Included in the collection is a rare 25-carat pink diamond.
“If I didn’t know where the collection came from, I would probably say it could have come from a royal person,” said David Warren, head of a Christie’s team that inspected the jewelry.
The Marcos family allegedly amassed billions in ill-gotten wealth, abandoning art and jewels when the couple fled the country for Hawaii in 1986. Imelda, now a member of Congress, famously left more than 2,000 pairs of shoes, 500 black bras and an extensive perfume collection, among other things. Ferdinand ruled the country for more than 20 years and died in exile in 1989.
The jewelry collection was originally appraised at $5 million to $7 million, but has since gone up in value.