“It’s the perfect environment for curating the art,” said the Russian in perfect English. He was well-dressed, tuxedo-clad, and docenting an exhibit of precious jewels in a friendly manner. “The salt mine means basically no humidity.”

“Of course,” I said. “It all makes sense.”

“So,” he said. “I know you have come to buy one of these priceless items. You wouldn’t be here otherwise. So what can I sell you today?”

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