Monday, 11 May 2015

Lawful Purchase and Ownership Shown in Court?

A dealer was annoyed that two of his eBay auctions appeared in the media illustrating a story (originating with Hugh Tomlinson in the Times) under the headline "Antiquities looted by Islamic State turn up on eBay". The headline attracted more attention than the text (see Sam Hardy 'Conflict antiquities from Apamea do not finance the Islamic State – they finance the Assad regime' Conflict Antiquities March 18, 2015 ). Anyhow the dealer declared he was going to take legal action for defamation and his lawyer, Michael E. Bierman, has issued a statement saying: "my client has proof of lawful purchase and ownership, which I have examined and confirmed myself. The coins have been in the United States longer than the “ISIS” construct has existed". So, how is the case coming along? Will we see this proof discussed in court records soon? How can a potential buyer know whether the antiquity he is thinking of purchasing is a conflict antiquity or not if the basic data allowing the licit to be distinguished from the illicit is so seldom offered by dealers? That fact rather suggests that the seller is well aware of his market and that the majority of buyers simply do not think, they simply do not care how and when that coin left the ground and the source country and through whose hands, and with what, it changed hands.

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