Thursday, 19 January 2012

Chasing Aphrodite: The Weiss Case and the Getty Connection

The Chasing Aphrodite blog authors seem to be getting their teeth into the "Weiss" affair (Arnold Peter Weiss’ Coin Partner and The Getty Connection). They are digging up some of the details of some of coin dealing's better-known, not to say colourful, characters and their interconnections. Thus they mention Weiss's partner in "Nomos", Eric McFadden (he of CNG fame), and with especial relish note his Getty Museum connection. Then comes a mention of Arthur Houghton III, and how could they not mention Bruce McNall? That brings them to "his silent partner, the antiquities dealer Robert E. Hecht Jr". In a nice turn of phrase they allege: "Hecht had been selling recently looted antiquities since the 1950s, and his network of loyal suppliers reached deep into tombs across the Mediterranean" (sadly Mr Hecht's court case ended yesterday inconclusively, he had no opportunity to disprove these allegations as his lawyers ran out of time).

They interviewed McNall this week, they say he:
recalled McFadden as “a knowledgeable, nerdy kind of guy,” which was helpful. “You don’t want to be looking like a slick car sales man selling ancient art,” McNall said. McNall said that it was common knowledge that many of the coins he was getting in those days had been recently — and therefore illegally — excavated. “Fresh” coins were were more attractive to buyers. “Any time you find something brand new, it’s sexier,” he said. “Otherwise it’s been around, it’s been seen, and maybe there’s a reason someone else hasn’t bought it…Nobody wants some old broad that’s been around on the town for too long.”
This brings them back to McFadden who they note as
a vocal opponent of US import restrictions on ancient coins, submitting statements to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee in opposition to restrictions for Greece and Bulgaria, calling them “unworkable, ineffective, and ultimately counterproductive”.In his letter arguing against restrictions for Greek coins, McFadden wrote,” “…there is no simple way of determining either where or when a coin might have been found before being moved from its find spot.”
Leaving aside the question that this is actually totally irrelevant to the operation of the CCPIA, the authors note that the Weiss case may test that theory.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.