Saturday 7 May 2016

Bolivian antiquities on Sale by UK Dealer

Complete pots, the equally informative
fragments get thrown away by dealers
he proposed Bolivian/US MOU extension would prevent antiquities without the proper paperwork reaching the US market, thus helping collectors collect responsibly (by that I mean having antiquities where they can present the paperwork evidence of due diligence). Some dealers' lobbyists are opposing its extension. Perhaps this sort of thing explains why. Google "Bolivian Antiquities" and you pretty soon get this guy "Antiquities Online - a trading arm of Ancient Relics - Old World Antiquities, Precolumbian Art and Historical Collectables"
0411 A Bolivian pottery bowl in debased Tiahuanaco style, c. 200-700 A.D.  Price: £155
0410 A Bolivian pottery beaker in debased Tiahuanaco style, c. 200-700 A.D. Price £165
0407 Bolivian pottery beaker in debased Tiahuanaco style, c. 200-700 A.D. Price: £90 
0406 Bolivian pottery bowl in debased Tiahuanaco style, c. 200-700 A.D. Price: £1850405 Bolivian pottery amphora in debased Tiahuanaco style, c. 200-700 A.D. Price: £185
0425 A good-sized pottery kero from Tiahuanaco, Bolivia, c. 700 - 1200 A.D. Price: £245  good-sized it may be, but is it a "good provenanced' one? 
0415 A Bolivian pottery bowl in debased Tiahuanaco style, c. 200-700 A.D. Price: £155 

The sales spiel of each of these items adds: "Precolumbian Bolivian pottery appears rarely on the market." which is supposed, I guess to make collectors jump at the opportunity to buy some from this seller. Sadly though, there is a catch. If you are American, you cannot. Terribly discriminatory? No:
Regretfully, we are unable to sell this item to American clients due to US import restrictions.
He of course means regrettably (though I am sure he is full of regret that he bought this unsaleable stuff). Now why would THAT be? The imports are only restricted in the case of artefacts which don't have the paperwork required to legally import them. And what kind of paperwork is that? Well, we all know the answer to that one (unless you are a coin dealer/collector when we can all see you'll know next  to nothing about that).

The interesting thing about this seller is that he's one of the first dealer members of the "Wild Apricot" ADCAEA which has a Code of Ethics, they say their dealers have to stick to to be a member. Well, this is odd. Look here: 'ADCAEA Dealer unable to sell some items to USA?' PACHI Thursday, 20 November 2014. Note the bit where it says
When I pointed this out earlier (PACHI Friday, 19 September 2014, 'ADCAEA Dealer from the UK "Regrets"...' ), I was assured (McGovern Huffmann pers. comm.) that the Associations' President was going to have a word with their member about this. That obviously never happened. In what way is the ADCAEA not a sham? What would be the point in a dealer forking out the demanded $500 to belong to a sham organization? Either the ADCAEA stands for something, or it does not.
Certainly it seems a sham that the ADCAEA not only has still (two years later) not sorted out the problem why one of their dealers is offering items that cannot be legally imported into the US, but is actively campaigning against the measures keeping such material off the US market.  So, they want dealers with paperless objects to have access to the US market. This illustrates two things, first of all  - despite protective and time-wasting declarations - there is not a snowball in hell's chance of the international antiquities market cleaning up their own act if not coerced, and secondly, until they do there is a huge need for every single type of import restriction to help curb trafficking and smuggling of antiquities, and to help protect collectors in the market  from being active on a tainted market/

Please support the extension of the Bolivian MOU.

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