Selling Mona Lisa Could Ease France's National Debt

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Selling Mona Lisa Could Ease France's National Debt

Can a national treasure be used to pay off the national debt?

The state-run news agency France 24 has suggested Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa be sold to pay off France's $2.6 trillion debt. Despite the fact the masterpiece is said to be "priceless," France 24 speculates the Mona Lisa could easily be worth $2.4 billion and its sale could wipe away nearly 0.1 percent of the debt in one fell swoop. Apparently the work was valued at nearly $100 million in the 1960s, so France 24 estimates it would be worth $2.4 billion today after inflation.

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Selling Mona Lisa Could Ease France's National Debt
PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 28: Visitors take pictures of Leonardo da Vinci 'Mona Lisa' inside the Louvre museum on February 28, 2014 in Paris, France. The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, one of the world's largest museums which opened 1793. (Photo by Christian Marquardt/Getty Images)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Front) and his wife Akie (3rd R) look at 'La Joconde', a 1503-1506 oil on wood portrait of Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci, at the Louvre Museum in Paris on May 4, 2014. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in France Sunday on the latest leg of a six-nation European tour for trade and security talks at a time of mounting tensions with China. Abe arrived in the French capital on Sunday afternoon and immediately left for a private visit to the Louvre that included stops at the museum's best known works, including the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN (Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)
[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] The Louvre or Musée du Louvre is one of the world's largest museums and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, where famous sculptures and paintings like Mona Lisa ar displayed.
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Ratiba Hamzaoui wrote, "Her enigmatic smile beams down on hundreds of thousands of tourists a year at the Louvre Museum in Paris. And she could also bring a smile to France's cash-strapped government if a sale could ease the national debt."

There is a major problem with this solution though -- the Louvre doesn't own the Mona Lisa. According to law, national treasures are owned by the nation. But France has been selling off what it can within the law. They've sold buildings and a large number of their finest wines from the presidential cellars in an attempt to lower national debt.

So the Mona Lisa will be in France for a long time to come, but so will its debt.
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