Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Of course, Li Du understood what Hans meant.
It was thanks to Li Du that someone like Hans was able to join the Million Dollar Club. If he were operating alone, he would only be able to achieve the status of the Ten Thousand Club.
During the one and a half months that Li Du had been in China, Hans had tried to sell off the items he got from Macy’s. He had even attended a couple of auctions by himself.
Although Hans knew how he managed to achieve his status, he still found it hard to accept.
In the beginning, he had been the one to bring Li Du into the trade. For a period of time, he had been Li Du’s teacher and the leader of their pack. Now, however, he had lost his position in the group.
Although nobody said that to his face, Hans knew very clearly that everyone saw him as someone who managed to achieve his status thanks to Li Du. Li Du was the person thanks to whom he managed to enter the Million Dollar Club, rising up from the Ten Thousand Club.
Of course, that was the truth.
While Hans was always acting goofy, he was actually a proud person. He had his own reservations deep down in his heart.
The period of time when Li Du was abroad was an opportunity, as he saw it, for him to prove himself.
It would be difficult for him to explain himself if he had attended an auction without inviting Li Du along while they were both in America. However, while Li Du was not around, he was free to go ahead by himself.
It was especially true because Eagle Beak Blade had only complained about Li Du. The thug had not cared about Hans and did not treat him as the mastermind behind the Macy’s auction. Hence, he did not report Hans to the Warehouse Auction Association.
That provided Hans with the chance to continue attending auctions. However, the entire episode also bothered him – even a gangster did not mind him, and that was a huge insult to him.
In that one and a half months, Hans had attended five auctions and taken down twelve warehouses. He had lost eighty thousand dollars!
That gave him a reality check and showed him his true abilities.
Hans had looked up Lu Guan, who was on his way to becoming the leader of the local Phoenix warehouse auctions. As he had superb hearing and had gained experience from his time with Li Du, he had become more skilled. Now, Lu Guan was capable of working by himself.
After joining forces with Lu Guan, Hans attended two other auctions and finally had some profits. They had managed to make fifty-five thousand dollars.
Although that sum did not make up for his loss, at least it helped him regain some dignity.
In any case, he finally managed to accept that he had to rely on Li Du in the trade. He would be better off focusing on being Li Du’s right-hand man and helping him to sell off the items they had won in the auctions.
Li Du had long sensed Hans’ inner turmoil. He had been conscious of protecting his partner’s pride. For example, he had given Hans the responsibility of gathering information and selling off the items.
The outer circle had long been gossiping that Hans was simply a sidekick. Some people had even mocked Hans, calling him a bootlicker.
Li Du knew about Hans’ discomfort. However, he had no way of helping Hans to get rid of it. Hence, he could only leave Hans to sort out his feelings by himself.
That was one of the reasons why Li Du had chosen to leave America and come home for the New Year.
Lu Guan had long reported Hans’s situation at the auctions to Li Du. As expected, without Li Du, Hans was unable to deal with high-value auctions and made many losses.
From a positive viewpoint, at least Hans was now clearly aware of own position versus Li Du. He understood how far apart they were in terms of skills.
However, Li Du could not be sure about how long the impression would last. To reinforce the lesson further, Li Du decided to bring the team to an auction once he was back.
Prior to leaving for the auction, he gave Hans a task. After all, he did not want Hans to feel bad and had to help his partner maintain his confidence.
Hans had not done anything to be sorry about. There was nothing negative to say about Li Du’s relationship with Hans. Li Du treasured their friendship and hoped that they could remain as close for the rest of their lives.
Li Du brought out the ten paintings he had acquired in China. He said, “Help me sell these off.”
For some time, other than the diamonds from Remonin, they had not had many high-value transactions. Instead, they had spent a lot of money. Seagull Island was in the process of development, and the diamond mine at Ahmengda just started operation. Both of those projects required a large amount of funding.
Fortunately, he had an opal mine at Lightning Ridge. There were many gemstone veins in the mine, which provided a steady cash inflow.
Hans unrolled the paintings and after looking at the signature, he was confused. “Spoilum? Which painter is that? Why haven’t I heard of him?”
Li Du replied, “In any case, these are antiques. These paintings are at least two centuries old. You can sell them off, right?”
Hans hesitated for a moment and then said, “If you just want me to sell them off, then, of course, it’s not a problem. But if you want me to get a good price, I cannot guarantee that.”
Hans continued to explain, “There needs to be a market for an antique collection. It’s not as simple as the number of years it’s been around. I believe in your foresight, and trust that these paintings are two centuries old. However, if nobody knows of the painter, and if people do not acknowledge his work…”
Saying that, Hans started to shake his head.
Li Du said confidently, “He might not be as famous as some artists, but he’s definitely got a name.”
Hans nodded. “I will start the process, get an oil painting expert to verify the painting and then discuss the price.”
Li Du had an accurate assessment of Hans. Hans was an extrovert and was good at talking. He was confident in his work and was suitable for any task that involved talking to people.
In just two days, the paintings were all processed. Hans even got an expert from the oil painting gallery in Arizona to review the artwork.
It was not a simple task to work with the oil paintings. Most of the paintings had been sealed by wax. If the paintings were opened, the colors would be oxidized and lose their brightness.
To demonstrate this, Liu Shan Yang had opened two of the paintings. The colors of those paintings were now dull and they did not look as impressive as they first did.
Fortunately, he was knowledgeable and noticed the changes after he opened the paintings. Hence, he did not continue to unroll the rest of them and preserved them in pristine condition.
After undergoing treatment, the oil paintings regained their original colors, which were vivid, striking and impossibly sharp.
Hans repackaged the paintings and wrapped them in copper-plated picture frames, making them look more upscale.
Looking at the paintings, Li Du whistled. “Wow, they’re gorgeous.”
Hans had invited an expert in oil paintings named Logan Stanley. He was a consultant at the oil painting gallery in Arizona. In addition, he was a colleague of Sophie’s parents. Logan was a professor at the state college.
After learning of his identity, Li Du brought along Sophie to welcome the expert.
Indeed, Sophie and Professor Logan knew each other. They greeted each other with a hug. The old man smiled. “So this is little Sophie’s fiancé. We heard a lot from that old boy Martin. Oh, seems like this is a fine man.”
Li Du grinned and nodded to be polite. Then he invited Logan to inspect the paintings.
The old man put on his customized glasses and said, “Spoilum. That’s an outstanding oil painter. It’s quite remarkable that you guys found so many well-preserved works of his.”
Hearing that, Li Du felt more at peace. It seemed like those paintings would be worth something.