When Marie Dénarnaud put Saunière's Estate up for sale in 1918 following his death – she did so with the guidance and assistance of Abbé Eugène Grassaud – for the staggering asking price of 200,000 francs.
Marie Denarnaud must have put it up for sale independently and directly without the assistance of any Estate Agent – because no Estate Agent anywhere would have valued the property at such an astronomical price.
Therefore, Abbé Grassaud would have advised she had to check if the buyer was honest and acting in good faith and not some potential thief; viz Abbé Grassaud's advice to Marie:
“Ask always who they are and on whose behalf do they come and put it in writing”
Evidently, Abbé Grassaud had looked through Abbé Saunière's belongings and came across the fake “List of Donors” and its amount of 193,000 francs, believing the document and its claim to be genuine.
When in 1913 Abbé Saunière asked the Crédit Foncier de France for a loan to clear his debts of 6,000 francs, his Estate was valued at 18,000 francs.
In 1996, Abbé Bruno de Monts commented about Saunière's alleged expenditure given in his “List of Donors”:
“As for the construction of the Villa Béthanie, 90,000 francs, and the Tour Magdala, 40,000 francs, the deception is even more obvious. Saunière and his lawyer simply exceeded the bounds of credibility: the Town Council spent 12,480 francs rebuilding the Elementary School which had burned down, including a classroom, the Schoolmaster’s house, an enclosing wall, a covered courtyard and toilets”
Evidently, Abbé Grassaud and Marie Dénarnaud did not have much common sense between them.