Friday 17 January 2014

The Scattered Antiquities of Robin Symes

A rancorous legal battle over the collection of Robin Symes (described as Britain's most successful antiquities dealer) and Christo Michailidis has been going on for many years. Symes has been accused of selling off some items before a court order was granted to freeze his assets, and hiding the money from his late partner's heirs. In relation to a story current in the news at the moment, a 2009 news item reminds us of a piece of information which gives pause for thought. Reportedly, the Michailidis family have down through the years hired dozens of detectives to investigate Symes' worldwide dealings:
So far, they have unearthed 29 locations belonging to Symes containing thousands of antiquities. Symes yesterday refused to comment on the latest allegations involving the Gray collection. Although friends describe him as a charming, harmless man, allegations of unscrupulous behaviour surrounding the dealer have frequently surfaced in the past. An antiques administrator for Sotheby's was reportedly told in 1989 that he would allegedly be "sorted out" if he asked too many questions. 
One wonders what sort of collecting histories those items had and have. With regard to the current rumours of sales to Abu Dhabi, it is worth noting that Symes' 2005 court case involved an Egyptian statue sold to Sheikh Al-Tani in the Arabian Gulf

Mark Townsend, 'The dealer, the $10m and the missing art treasures ', The Observer, Sunday 13 September 2009.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

As I posted in the WikiLoot Facebook group, the question which comes to my mind about these caches of material is: Has any information come out in court proceedings about them or their contents? How would we go about finding out?

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