Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Egyptian Antiquities: Rotten Apples on the London Market

Georgina Adam ('The Art Market: apples – only $41.6m a bowl', Financial Times May 10, 2013) summarises the recent happenings concerning ancient Egyptian artefacts ("art") on the London art market. The Christie's affair at the beginning of the month is mentioned with the information - looking like it is from a source independent of the Egyptian press (or is it?):
According to the Metropolitan Police’s art and antiques unit, an unnamed man in his early 60s from northeast London was arrested the day after the sale “on suspicion of handling stolen goods, tax and fraud offences”. The suspect was released on bail until August.
She then however goes on to talk about the items all coming from an undiscovered "tomb" when te whole point is that one of them comes (we are told) from the excavations at the Amenhotep III temple site in Qerna. The Bonhams challenge a few days earlier is also discussed, there had been improbable allegations by the Egyptian authorities in the run-up to the session that it allegedly included "200 stolen antiquities":
The number of contested items was eventually whittled down to just 17. While 12 of these were sold and the session made £2m, most of the other Egyptian material performed very poorly. Julian Roup of Bonhams said that this was for “mundane market reasons” and unconnected with the allegations.
The rest here.

Vignette: Rotten apples are a good analogy for the current state of the no-questions-asked market, some are good, some are bad, but the latter spoil the whole lot. 

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