Monday, 8 June 2020

One Born Every Minute

A buyer has been found for the Timeline "Doris" mosaic.

A while ago (PACHI Wednesday, 15 April 2020), I opined: 'Dealer's "Aphrodite mosaic" is a Bad Buy without the Paperwork [UPDATED]', because it looks like a bad fake. By this time the offer of a mosaic allegedly from a "private collection of seals and amulets, the property of a Canadian gentleman living in London"  had attracted four bids. The dealer, a former peddler of birds, cited a Warsaw professor (Marek T. Olszewski) in support of his identification of the object. This scholar told me that it was a fake and was miffed his work was being cited to support the dealer's legitimacy. It was one of a number of similar mosaics from this region noted on this blog (Syrian mosaics are fakes).

I wrote another post on the Timeline one: Wednesday, 15 April 2020 Timeline: Anatomy of Antiqui-Fraud in which I share the information sent to me by Prof Olszewski who had identified the source of the image, and the garbled and mismatched inscription. This was then shortly followed by a few comments by the inimitable Professor Erin Thompson (Friday, 17 April 2020 Professor of Art Crime Takes On Timeline Auctions Over Poor Description, Poor Documentation and Blatant AntiqiFakes ).

So that's three pretty whopping caveat emptor texts out there online since April, when the bidding stood at 12000 quid. It has just sold, if we can believe the Timeline webpage for £21,250.

Apparently to a buyer with that sort of money to spare who thinks he does not need to do much research 'to know what I am buying'. But hey, if they are happy and have the kind of friends who would be impressed by seeing this displayed floodlit on the upstairs bathroom wall (or too polite to point out that in their opinion, the buyer has been 'had'), then why not? Nobody forced them to offer that amount of money, it was their "offer". If they asked at all why a Mr Hammond says it's "genuine Roman" and what his qualifications are (which of course they can always check on the Internet), they presumably were quite happy with what they learnt. Or perhaps that simply was not important to them.

Does the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 and sections 5 and 6 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 apply at all to Dovercourt dealers of things represented as antiquities?

It has been general knowledge for some time that, in the opinion of a number of specialists, "95% of the objects on the market are either stolen/smuggled or fakes". So, unless they are completely ignorant of the nature of the antiquities trade (in which case they'd be well advised to stay away from it), anyone buying any antiquity that cannot be identified on the grounds of unimpeachable paperwork to be one of the 'clean' 5% is deliberately taking potluck. Most likely, the object without the papers is either stolen or fake, considerably less likely is that it is an undocumented real antiquity that was legally acquired and traded. But the chances are high that it is either stolen or fake (and since nobody, surely wants to buy stolen goods, it'd be better that it's fake).

It's like betting, nobody makes you put £25 on "Suzie's Midnight Runner" at the 10:30 at Cheltenham. Doing so, you are perhaps just kissing your money goodbye, but you are putting the money down for the thrill. The horse will probably lose, the bookie rubs his hands that there's one born a minute and that keeps him in business. It's the same with antiquities, ofttimes it's kissing good money goodbye and the dealer is rubbing his hands with glee that there are still many people that will part with cash on his say-so just for the thrill of "maybe" owning "something really old and valuable" (and bought for a "bargain price, because at Sotheby's...").

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Paul,

The Struggle goes on, but on a bright side Brian Gilmour has had to stop cutting chunks out of ancient swords and other valuable antiquities! He still had 'Tested' two lots in their latest sale, but who knows how long ago this was done? At the height of his power, he was chopping chunks out of a large number important lots per sale for his 'Tests'. Also his video on YouTube is flying with more and more people seeing 'Gilmour Exposing Himself - And his Employers On The Internet'.

Best, Jamie Corrigan

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