When Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, who is also the owner of the country’s main bank, bought this picture, he joked he was worried that the two grim men with the coins might be bankers. They were, in fact, tax collectors. The work has proved a bankable purchase, however. The Tax Collectors was offered at Sotheby’s in 2008, attributed to a follower of Marinus van Reymerswaele (est £100,000-£150,000). It went to London dealer Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox for just over £2m, from whom the prince subsequently bought it. Research by Johann Kräftner, the Liechtenstein Museum’s director, has confirmed that it is a much more important work by Quentin Massys, around 1500, and an excellent investment.
o See p41 for the Prince’s latest purchases