What do thermodynamics and thievery have in common… ok, apart from the alliterative nature of their respective titles? Well… the same tiny three letter word – hot – seems to crop up in relation to both of them. Sure, it’s an ambiguous little adjective… it seems to mean everything from sexy, to spicy, to sweltering…
Just why are stolen items considered ‘hot’ though? Well, get this; we can’t really measure how ‘cold’ something is – only how much heat it contains above absolute zero (zero degrees Kelvin). Then, in 1840, along came a Frenchman named Pierre-Joseph Proudhon who proudly – and somewhat famously – declared “La propriété, c’est le vol!” – literally, “all property is theft”.
If I’ve lost you there, let’s put it this way; everything that isn’t frozen has some degree of heat and everything that is ‘owned’ has some degree of desire attached – and the more of either, the hotter it gets!
Obviously, the rarer and more valuable the item, the more risk involved in both owning it and stealing it! Hot property is hot property whether you’re the rightful owner, or the recipient of a self levied ‘five finger discount’… someone’s always going to want it more than you!
Just like literal heat though, figurative heat can rise to the point where no-one can hold it. Ironically, the world’s ‘hottest’ stolen items are only getting hotter, because no-one can openly own them!
With this in mind, let’s count down the hottest of the ‘hot’;
The Reclining Figure
Weighing in at 2.1 tons and with an estimated worth of £3million – this white painted, cast bronze semi abstract statue was one of the last works of renowned English sculptor Henry Moore. It was stolen from the lawn outside the ‘Henry Moore Foundation’ in Hertfordshire and has never been seen again.
As it’s not really the kind of thing you can carry around without a crane lorry, and isn’t exactly an inconspicuous addition to the average patio furniture collection, police believe that idiot thieves added their own heat – and melted it down for £1500 worth of scrap value! Oops.
Smashing all the records of his day, this dazzling Irish rockstar racehorse won the Epsom Derby by ten lengths… the biggest winning margin in the two-century plus history of the famous flat race. He went on t
o be named ‘European Horse of the Year’ in 1981, was retired that year and spent the following two years enjoying the ultimate semi-retired profession;
paid stud… yeah baby, life was sweet!
His stud career was rudely interrupted by masked gunmen in County Kildare in 1983, who towed him off in a horse box, never to be seen again. If he’s still alive – which is a matter of conjecture on barstools around the emerald isle to this day – he’ll be long in the tooth by now. If not, like all great rockstars, his greatest fame came after he left this mortal coil.
The Holy Grail
This one is such hot property that no-one actually seems to agree what it is… but somehow everyone from the Pope, to Hitler, to Indiana Jones seems to be prepared to risk life, limb and personal fortune trying to get it – which backs up my previous assertion that the early Christian church had the ultimate marketing department.
Opinions vary on it’s precise nature, from the chalice that held the wine at the last supper, to a stone from heaven called ‘lapsis exilis’ that fell from heaven when God cast Lucifer into the bowels of hell, to the ‘DaVinci Code’ theory that it’s actually the bloodline of Jesus continued within the resulting descendants from a dalliance with Mary Magdelene.
Whatever it is, even I want it… and I don’t know why… subliminal advertising at it’s very best! The knights of the Priory of Sion apparently stole it from the church, and if – like seemingly everything of religious importance – people will go to war for it, I think it’s deserves it’s place as ‘The Hottest ‘Hot’ Item Ever’!