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Van Gogh

November 20, 1987

An individual investing $80,000 in 1947 and liquidating at $53.9 million in 1987 sounds like an astronomical return but the true semiannual return is only 16.49%. But the seller must give up $9.8 million in fees and this year one-third of the $44 million must go to taxes leaving $30 million, not $53.9 million, so the total return after taxes is even less. While this is not a bad return, remember all those investment gurus who said they can make you 20% a year on your money--have they done as well as the Van Gogh painting?

ALBERT C. FARRELL

Beverly Hills

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