Showing results 25 - 36 of 38 for the tag: Auctions.

October 26, 2011

The easy availability of looted Afghan artefacts

Posted at 1:00 pm in Similar cases

Looting of historic artefacts is just as much of a problem in the present day as it was in the past. Many of the people / organisations along the supply chain are unwilling to perhaps apply the controls & regulation that are required.

From:
Dawn.com

Cultural plunder
21 Feb 2011
By Peter Thonemann

ARE you keen to help finance the activities of warlords and insurgents across Afghanistan?

As I write, eBay is inviting bids on no fewer than 128 ancient Bactrian and Indo-Greek silver and bronze coins, from sellers in Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.
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April 18, 2011

Global systems for tracking looted antiquities

Posted at 12:45 pm in Similar cases

Despite significant coverage of looting of antiquities, the same antiquities often re-surface a few years later at auctions, or appear in museums. In some cases, this is because some parties choose not to ask too many questions when buying artefacts, but in many other cases, it is merely because the scale of the international art market is so huge, that it is almost impossible to track & catalogue every item accurately & thereby trace their true provenance.

From:
Washington Post

Reputable auction houses try to get all (arti)facts before selling antiquities
By Brian Vastag
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 1, 2011; 8:10 PM

The first Indiana Jones movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” offers many a scene to make archaeologists wince, but none more so than a quiet moment early on when the intrepid Professor Jones sells plundered artifacts to Marcus Brody, director of the fictional National Museum in Washington.

“The museum will buy them as usual,” Brody says with a wink. “No questions asked.”
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February 10, 2011

Sotheby’s cancels sale of disputed African mask

Posted at 1:39 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the canceled sale of the disputed Oba mask by Sotheby’s.

From:
Independent

Sotheby’s cancels sale of ‘looted’ Benin mask
Online protests halt auction of ‘plundered’ 16th-century artefact
By Rob Sharp, Arts Correspondent
Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Sotheby’s has scrapped its February sale of a controversial £4.5m mask believed to have been looted by British forces from 19th-century West Africa.

A number of private individuals contacted the auction house last week to complain about the sale of the 16th-century ivory mask, once thought to have belonged to an ancient Nigerian king. Local government officials in Nigeria have publicly condemned the sale and criticised the object’s current owners, the descendants of a former British government official involved in an 1897 British invasion of Benin, a city-state in what is now Nigeria.
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February 7, 2011

Sir Henry Lionel Galway’s family and the aborted auction of the Idia mask from Benin

Posted at 10:26 pm in Similar cases

A more in depth look at some of the issues stemming from the canceled auction by Sotheby’s of a disputed Queen Idia mask

From:
Compass (Nigeria)

Galway family can’t sell what does not belong to them – Prince Akenzua
Friday, 07 January 2011 00:00 Emmanuel Agozino

In 1996 Prince Godfrey Eweka Akenzua II was appointed the leader of Benin Kingdom’s centenary anniversary of the 1897 invasion on Benin. Ever since, he has remained the arrowhead of the people’s global campaign for repartration of their looted artifacts, scattered around the world. Nigerian Compass’ Art Correspondent, EMMANUEL AGOZINO, visited Prince Akenzua’s palace in Benin City, Edo state and discussed the current development around the Sotheby’s proposed sale of Queen Idia Mask with him.

Prince, from your angle, what is the issue?
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January 27, 2011

Sothebys cancels sale of looted Benin Oba mask

Posted at 1:46 pm in Similar cases

Following numerous complaints from private individuals about Sotheby’s sale of a mask looted from Benin, the item has now been removed from the auction.

From:
Independent

Sotheby’s cancels sale of ‘looted’ Benin mask
Online protests halt auction of ‘plundered’ 16th-century artefact
By Rob Sharp, Arts Correspondent
Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Sotheby’s has scrapped its February sale of a controversial £4.5m mask believed to have been looted by British forces from 19th-century West Africa.

A number of private individuals contacted the auction house last week to complain about the sale of the 16th-century ivory mask, once thought to have belonged to an ancient Nigerian king. Local government officials in Nigeria have publicly condemned the sale and criticised the object’s current owners, the descendants of a former British government official involved in an 1897 British invasion of Benin, a city-state in what is now Nigeria.
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January 24, 2011

Sotheby’s to auction disputed “Oba” mask from Benin

Posted at 2:08 pm in Similar cases

Yet again, an item that’s ownership is disputed is coming up for sale through one of the large auction houses. Like the more well known Benin Bronzes, the artefact in this case originated from the African kingdom of Benin.

I should point out at this stage that I’m slightly behind with posting articles at the moment – and as a result, the outcome of this story has already been determined. I will post the later coverage of it in due course.

From:
Financial Times

Sotheby’s to auction ‘Oba’ mask
By Susan Moore
Published: December 20 2010 02:02 | Last updated: December 20 2010 02:02

A 16th-century ivory pendant mask, one of the last great masterpieces of Benin sculpture remaining in private hands, is to be offered for sale at Sotheby’s London.

The mask, to be auctioned in February with an estimate of £3.5m-£4.5m ($5.4m-$6.9m), is thought to have been worn by the “Oba” or king of the west African city-state on ceremonial occasions. Only four other ivory masks of this age and quality are known, all of which are in museums.
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Do international cultural property laws create a split market depending on when artefacts were acquired?

Posted at 1:59 pm in Similar cases

International laws such as Unidrois convention that deal with cases of disputed cultural property (Through their adoption by UNESCO) are seen by many as a good thing – although clearly not by all, as many countries have yet to subscribe to these conventions. The conventions do not act retrospectively however – so there is a strong argument that they have created a division in the market – between those artefacts acquired before the convention came into force & those acquired afterwards. Many collectors fear that these conventions are devaluing their collections – but this point is counterbalanced byt the fact that is the artefact was acquired legitimately & has good provenance (which is the only real way of proving that it was acquired legitimately) then there should not be any problems.

From:
New York Times

Auctions
Wanted: Antiquities Beyond Reproach
By SOUREN MELIKIAN
Published: December 17, 2010

NEW YORK — The impact of the Unidroit convention, adopted by Unesco when endeavoring to protect the artistic heritage of mankind, starting with its archaeological treasures, is beginning to make itself as never before, although not quite in the way that its promoters expected.

By all accounts, the terrifying destruction of archaeological sites goes on, from Syria to Afghanistan to Nepal. But on the auction scene the consequence of Unidroit, to which only a few countries subscribe, is that some collectors live in fear that their favorite game, buying the relics of antiquity, may soon end. Many suspect that objects that cannot be proved to have been acquired before 1970 — the cutoff date set by the Unidroit convention — will become financially worthless or exceedingly difficult to negotiate.
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January 14, 2011

Looted treasure from Beijing’s Summer Palace up for auction at Christies in Hong Kong

Posted at 2:03 pm in Similar cases

Both of the major auction houses dealing with fine art seem to be equally comfortable about selling looted & disputed artefacts. In many cases however, subsequent public outcry has led to postponement of the sale. In this case, Christies in Hong Kong is selling yet more artefacts that came from Beijing’s Summer Palace. This looting during the ransacking of the Summer Palace is particularly relevant of course, as it took place under the instruction of the Eighth Earl of Elgin – the son of Lord Elgin who removed the sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens.

From:
Artinfo

Looted Imperial Treasure Hits the Block at Christie’s Hong Kong

HONG KONG— There were just three lots in the sale of imperial treasures from the Fonthill Collection at Christie’s Hong Kong on December 1, but they attracted intense interest and raked in a total of HK$226.3 million ($29 million). The reason? Their links to one of the most infamous acts of foreign plunder inflicted on 19th-century imperial China.

The Fonthill Collection was the creation of a passionate collector by the name of Alfred Morrison (1821-1897). The Chinese works in the Christie’s sale came to him via one Lord Loch of Drylaw, who served as private secretary to Lord Elgin on the latter’s fateful mission to China at the end of the Second Opium War. Lord Loch acquired the plundered items after the 1860 destruction and looting by French and British troops of the Old Summer Palace in Beijing.
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November 16, 2010

Are some more of the artefacts looted by Giacomo Medici up for sale?

Posted at 2:42 pm in Similar cases

At first I thought I was reading an older story – but it appears that there is another auction of artefacts that are now suspected to have been through the warehouses of Giacomo Medici.

From:
The Art Newspaper

Medici “loot” for sale?
Two works coming to auction with Bonhams appear similar to those pictured in Polaroids found in the convicted dealer’s Geneva store
By Fabio Isman and Melanie Gerlis | From issue 217, October 2010
Published online 5 Oct 10 (market)

Bonhams London is to auction two antiquities that may have passed through the hands of the dealer Giacomo Medici, who has twice been found guilty of trafficking in antiquities in Italy, but is free as he mounts his third and final appeal. As we went to press, the auction house had not withdrawn the lots because the necessary information on the items had not been released, despite Bonhams’ repeated requests to the Italian authorities, they say.

Pictures in the Bonhams catalogue of the two works coming to auction on 6 October appear similar to Polaroids found in Medici’s Geneva store, which were seized in 1995 and presented as evidence during his trials, although these particular objects were never examined in court. This means that the objects have not been studied to establish their origins and whether or not they were illegally excavated or exported and may be legitimate.
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August 17, 2010

Loot from Giacomo Medici’s warehouse up for auction?

Posted at 2:08 pm in Similar cases

Much of Italy’s recent success in restitution claims against institutions in the USA stems from the raids on the Geneva warehouse of Giacomo Medici. It now seems that other artefacts seen in photographs seized in the raids are now coming up for auction.

From:
New York Observer

Digging Up the Past
By Michael H. Miller
May 25, 2010 | 3:17 p.m

In June 1964, a group of fishermen off the northern Adriatic coast pulled a dull gray mass, shaped like a man, covered in barnacles, out of the water. It was the statue now known as Victorious Youth, believed to be the work of Lysippus-Alexander the Great’s personal sculptor. The fishermen took the statue ashore and sold it, cheap. It changed hands many times after that, quietly, until 1977, when the J. Paul Getty Trust purchased it for a then-record sum of $4 million from a Munich art dealer. In February 2010, Italy won a lawsuit in Italian court against the Los Angeles museum, demanding the statue’s return. The Getty, appealing, has yet to comply, arguing it was a Greek statue found in international waters.
Victorious Youth is far from the only masterpiece in limbo-or in court. As million-dollar antiquities auctions (and a controversy surrounding them) kick off in in New York the week of June 6, never has the tension between collector, dealer and so-called “source” nation been higher. Late last week, Germany’s Foreign Minister formally spurned Egypt’s request for the return of the 3,000-year-old Bust of Nefertiti that sits in a Berlin Museum; three months ago Egypt hosted an international conference demanding the return of the Rosetta Stone from the British Museum, which has had it for 200 years. There are ongoing legal battles and new, or louder, claims from Turkey, China and Greece for the return of items. But Italy has been the most aggressive, successfully demanding the return of objects from both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Getty. (The Getty has returned 39 disputed objects to Italy since 2006, and isn’t finished, according to the museum’s general counsel, Stephen Clark.) Such disputes have pulled in collectors and chilled the climate for buying certain works, regardless of quality, dealers and auctioneers report. Now, three pricey ancient Greek items up for sale at Christie’s next month threaten to become a part of the messy, murky issues clouding the market.
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June 12, 2010

The unofficial repatriation of Chinese artefacts

Posted at 10:05 pm in Similar cases

In recent years, as the buying power of wealthy Chinese has increased, many have been buying back their countries heritage from abroad as it comes up for sale at auctions. This is repatriation in a sense, although in many cases it is likely that it will be heading back to another private collection rather than enriching the public domain. There have also been similar moves to return artefacts on a more organised basis as well however.

From:
Economist

Jade for joy
How to satisfy the insatiable demand from mainland China
Apr 28th 2010 | From The Economist online

AS DEMAND for Chinese works of art continues to rise—with the top of the market nowhere in sight—the supply of top-quality pieces is becoming increasingly rare. Dealers and auction houses in all the major centres, from New York to Hong Kong, all repeat the same refrain: it is getting harder to find stock.

Persuading collectors to part with their treasures takes skill. After first identifying who owns what, dealers or auction houses must then convince these owners that the time is right to sell. Yet if the market is strong, why shouldn’t owners wait? Prices will only rise.
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March 10, 2009

YSL artefacts raise questions about art auctions

Posted at 12:31 pm in Similar cases

In an increasingly globalised economy, auction houses are finding themselves caught in the middle of disputes over cultural property.
This is not something that they can easily ignore though, as te disputes often involve countries as well as individuals – countries that these same auction houses also want to operate within.

From:
The Independent

Auctioneers ‘hit in China bronzes row’
By James Pomfret and Ben Blanchard, Reuters
Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The heated row over Christie’s sale of looted Chinese bronze animal heads in Paris is being closely watched by key art market players for possible signs of a broader fallout.

Since Christie’s ignored protests from Beijing and last month auctioned off a pair of bronze rat and rabbit heads which were stolen from the Old Summer Palace in 1860, Chinese authorities have slapped strict checks on all future imports and exports by Christie’s, making it potentially more difficult to source top relics.
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