Anyone wandering around Midtown Manhattan from the 1980s to the early 2000s remembers the electronics and furniture stores with the giant gaudy “Going Out of Business” signs plastered on the store fronts.
The biggest crook was a shop a few blocks up from the Empire State Building on 5th. Their “GOB sale” lasted something like 17 years.
C.S.M. printed an on-point article about the phenomenon in the mid-1990s: “Fake `Going Out of Business’ Sales Prey on Naive Holiday Shoppers”
This ad strikes me as the print equivalent of this sales tactic.
Have to say, as a copywriter, I admire this greed inducing pre-head: “Re: Exceptional High Value Collection”
“Police recovered vast collection of various high value reported stolen items during major narcotics sting operations. Seizures now released will go to auction with a majority of other valuables including: Fine art including Pissaro oil paintings & Picasso etchings, lithos etc.”
I’m not claiming the details of this ad were fraudulent, but the fact that the ad (and several variations of it) had over one hundred insertions across the US and Canada, including major market newspapers, with the exact same copy, makes one wonder. Perhaps, Pissaro is just the preferred impressionist in the drug trade.