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$5.8M Looted Poster Collection Hits Block

A collection of pre-World War II posters that were returned to the heir of a Jewish dentist who fled the Nazis is going on sale.

The more than 4,300 posters collected by Hans Sachs and looted by the Nazis will be auctioned at Guernsey’s in New York on Jan. 18, though the auction house is seeking to sell the entire collection to one buyer. The posters are worth about $5.8 million, according to Bloomberg.

They reportedly arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York at the height of superstorm Sandy. The posters had been returned last month to Sachs’ son Peter of Sarasota, Fla., from the Deutsches Historisches Museum, where they had been stored.

Hans Sachs was a serious poster collector who began collecting in the late 19th century. He also published a poster magazine.

The posters were taken by the Gestapo in 1938; Sachs was told at the time that Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels wanted them for a museum exhibit.

Sachs was arrested on the night of Kristallnact in November 1938 and taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. His wife secured his freedom and the family escaped to the United States.

Sachs accepted compensation for the collection from West Germany in 1961. He died in 1974.

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