Thursday 29 April 2021

Derby Museums Hand in Hand with Antiquities Dealer?

Charles Hanson    

A few weeks ago, Derby Museums used the DENO Portable Antiquities Scheme office to give legitimacy to a controversial archaeological artefact ripped under unclear circumstances from its context. This object was on sale by Hanson's Auctioneers based in Etwall Derbyshire. The inclusion at the last minute (four days before the auction) on the PAS database seemed for some to settle the dispute about the circumstances of the find (there were conflicting stories) and thus arguably boosted the selling price from the estimate of £6,000 - £8,000  (before the creation of the PAS record) to a cool £55,000 after it had been documented in the British Museum-run database. 

I have unsuccessfully been trying to determine the circumstances of this event, but the office responsible (PAS FLO Meghan King in Derby Museums) refuses to discuss it. After being fobbed off by her and PAS Head Office, I wrote to the Executive Director of Derby Museums (there is no Curator, it's a charity) and so far have received not even an acknowledgement of my letter. This morning I decided to check out who the Trustees to whom he is answerable were... and what do we find at the bottom?

So, Mr Hanson works with and for the Trustees of a charity that runs a museum that duly provides legitimacy to the sale of an antiquity by Mr Hanson's own firm. Is that right?

All very Third Worldly and looking very sleazy. I am sure there is a very good explanation of this. Will we learn it? 

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