Lynda Albertson, 'Opinion: More Questions Than Solutions from the Auction Houses'
Following the successful identification and the subsequent withdrawal of the Sardinian idol, Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis, a forensic archaeologist and Research Assistant with the Trafficking Culture Project has forwarded ARCA four additional images of antiquities that match photos from the Symes-Michaelides archive. Tsirogiannis and Italian heritage professionals have been working diligently for years to make sense of a lengthy catalog photo and forensic documentation, that paint a vivid picture of the complexity of the network of dealers, middlemen, and tombaroli involved in the looting and smuggling of antiquities.The newly identified objects are reported to be included in Christie's New York scheduled for December 11, 2014
LOT 51: AN EGYPTIAN ALABASTER FIGURAL JUG, estimated at $150,000 -$250,000 Symes/Michaelides are not mentioned in the collecting history supplied by the auction house.It remains unclear why the auction house decided to accept for sale items the collecting history of which is shown by additional information to have some fundamental gaps. A fourth object is due to be auctioned by Sotheby's New York on Dec 12th 2014.
LOT 95: AN ATTIC RED-FIGURED COLUMN KRATER, estimated at $60,000 -$90,000
This object is described in more detail by David Gill with some penetrating questions about issues raised by the collecting history (' Pasta, Swingler, Christie's and the Krater', Looting Matters Friday, December 5, 2014) Swingler's name is not included in the collecting history supplied by the auction house.
LOT 139: A ROMAN MARBLE COLUMN CAPITAL, estimated at $80,000 - $120,000 Symes/Michaelides are not mentioned in the collecting history supplied by the auction house.
LOT 6: An Egyptian Diorite Figure of a Priest of the Temple of Mut, late 25th/early 26th Dynasty, circa 670-610 B.C., estimated at $400,000 - 600,000 .This too (one of the objects Nord Wennerstrom discusses), it turns out, figures in the Symes-Michaelides archive. The dealers are not mentioned in the collecting history supplied by the auction house. These are not "fifty buck" coins, these are high end antiquities, passed through - we are asked to believe reputable collections with legitimate suppliers. Why, then, are there so many gaps in the collecting histories of even such items?