Sunday, 1 November 2015

"There is no evidence" that these antiquities are fakes"

I include, with no extra comment, the link to David Knell's post ""There is no evidence" that these antiquities are fakes' Ancient Heritage, Friday, 30 October 2015. A number of us know collector David Knell to be very knowledgeable in his subject, his knowledge of a number of facets of the antiquities market in general, and trust his judgement. More than one collector has expressed their thanks to him, among other things, identifying problematic artefacts for them and for helping "remove fakes and fraud in the marketplace". David has recently highlighted some interesting parallels to some objects sold by antiquities dealer Antoine Karawani, a committee member of the Association of International Antiquities Dealers (AIAD). It seems Mr Karawani was not too pleased that his attributions of the items in question were queried, even though the Code of Conduct of the AIAD would suggest that members should welcome this sort of enquiring attention and deal with it promptly by making any necessary adjustments to the descriptions.  Mr Knell is awaiting information from Mr Karawani about the manner in which he reached his  attribution of the items he had recently in his stock. I must say he is not the only one who would be very interested in seeing what the dealer has to say on this matter.

I say "had" because Mr Karawaani's business seems to have had a high turnover since David wrote, after all as he said to Mr Google, "Our company is the leading antiquities gallery online". On that evidence, buyers seem to have a voracious appetite for the sort of things he sells. Thus we find that the Serapis "from the E. Morgan collection in London" has gone, as has the Bes, the Ordos camel "acquired on the London art market in the 1990s" likewise (there'a an "Ordos" ram though). I did not like that encolpion, it has an ugly patina and looks provincially "Bulgarian", but it seems to have attracted somebody's eye as it too has gone. The Luristan monkey amulet was a very unusual object, it is not surprising that a customer snapped that up right away - it was unavailable (sold?) hours after David Knell mentioned it, but never mind, it seems you can easily get copies of this type. As a Middle Eastern object, I wonder what the collecting history of Mr Karawany's example was. As for human representations, the statuette of Fortuna which does have a collecting history, though rather vague ("A German collection formed in the 1960s-1970s") has likewise vanished from the seller's website. Collectors interested in classical female deity figurines will likewise be disappointed that the statuette of Athena ("from an English private collection, acquired from a German collection of the 1960s") has also gone since David wrote about it. I would say far from being disgruntled with David pointing out some of the highlights of his stock, Mr Karawany should be thanking him for advertising them on his blog and leading to such quick sales

Anyway, let us hear more about how a dealer like Mr Karawany goes about attributing objects like this that come to him second or third hand from old collections and how he goes about maintaining to AIDA standards "full and accurate records of relevant sales and purchases" to allow the stated collecting histories to be verified as part of his clients' due diligence to avoid unwittingly buying dodgy objects. Over to Artemission.

1 comment:

kyri said...

the AIDA "association in dodgy antiquities" is a worthless association made up by a few dealers that couldnt get into the ADA "antiquities dealers association".as for this particular dealer,there were also some greek pots that looked very dubious on his website that have miraculously vanished.these people,just like sadigh gallery in the us are very image conscience.i bought some pieces on-line from another dealer in the AIDA and they were fakes,i had a hard time convincing them to take them back.

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