Monday, 5 November 2012

How Long Before Collecting Loses its Innocence?

David Gill (Toxic Medici Material on the Market, November 5, 2012) points out that towards the end of last month he had noted that it was clear that ex-Medici material was surfacing on the market in forthcoming sale(s) after having passed to-and-fro through the unquestioning labyrinth of antiquities peddling networks. He however avoided pointing the finger at specific dealers and objects, though it seems that the sellers would indeed have been notified. He is tantalisingly vague about what happened - but I think we can guess.
Had some been left unsold? Had buyers bought material because it had not shown up in the due diligence searches? And were some lots left unbought in case they too were potentially toxic? [Or had any] dealers [...] warned in advance about ex-Medici material [...] treated them as "stolen" and withdrawn them from the sale(s)? 
Or added that information to their catalogue entries? Professor Gill notes:
 New sales are on the horizon and there could be more surprises in store. Those organising the December sales of antiquities would be wise to conduct rigorous due diligence searches. 
Otherwise, unless they can show that they did in each case presented for sale, how can buyers trust them? They might as well be buying from an internet site run by some unknown bloke in the smoke-filled back room of a grubby warehouse in a back street in Rotherham or Istanbul.

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