Sunday 18 December 2011

Jersey: Collectors' Paradise

Jersey is an artefact hunter's paradise, there is currently no statutory obligation for artefact hunters to report finds and neither is there any system to allow objects of great significance to be acquired for public benefit. As a result, collectors can get their hands on as much loot as they can find, and "stuff happens". Like the case of a Neolithic stone ring "said to be from Jersey, Channel Islands" which was found in 1986 and sold (via an auction at Bonham's) to a "New England private collector" in 1993. It is now to be returned to Jersey, but only after La Societe Jersiaise and Jersey Heritage bought the polished jadeite ring for $17,500 (£11,291) at a Christie's auction in New York (sale 2490, lot 7). When it is brought back, it will go on public display at the Jersey Museum and La Hougue Bie. The ring was made from stone quarried in the Alps and as an important symbol of power and prestige, was brought to Jersey by the first farmers who colonised the island. Heritage groups in Jersey and the States of Jersey planning department are now looking into introducing legislation that will give important archaeological and cultural artefacts protection.

BBC News: Jersey return for 7,000-year-old Neolithic ring', 18 Dec 2011


Cartouche1953 said...

Wow that's a lot of money for a Jadeite ring. It amazes me what people pay for this stuff.

Paul Barford said...

Indeed, the antiquities market is worth a lot of dosh, which is why the dealers get a bit annoyed when we look over their shoulders at the way they go about getting their stuff. The auctioneers' estimate by the way was $15,000 - $20,000. Note however even with a totally legitimate origin and collecting history for this item, the lack of any proper details in the catalogue entry. So a lot of money changing hands in a regrettable culture of lack of transparency.

Cartouche1953 said...

truly ridiculous. Thanks for the heads up Paul

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