Wednesday 5 June 2013

"I'd like my bit of Dead Rhino back"

I.M. Chait Gallery in Beverly Hills, California tried to sell two rhino horn cups to an overseas buyer for $220,000. The objects were seized by the Federal government as reported by Rick St Hilaire ("Black or White? Carved Rhino Horns Sold at Auction, Targeted for Forfeiture" June 5, 2013") under endangered species legislation. Good for them. Who'd trade in such things in this day and age? Who'd buy one? Who'd have one in their house? According to St Hilaire, the buyer contacted authorities to explain:
"Had I known these are the (sic) Black Rhinoceros Carvings, I would never never have risked my hard earned money from my personal savings (over $200,000) to buy them. . .  I would really appreciate if you could return these items to me. However, I am also comfortable to keep these items in US as my personal collection in [the] future in case you and US Customs think they can't be shipped out of US. But to confiscate them will be devastating to my personal finance and my life in general."
But having 200000 dollars tied up in assets which he could never realise by selling the objects (morally at least) seems not to be a devastating prospect. Then he'll not mind them going to a museum instead will he? Caveat emptor, know what you are buying, and what the legal and ethical consequences may be.

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