Tuesday 2 August 2022

Catawiki Still Being Used for Laundering Ukrainian Artefacts

The problem with Catawiki (CEO Ravi Prakesh Vora, Amsterdam, NL) is that one really wonders about the veracity or effectiveness of their stock mollifier: "The Seller can prove that the lot was obtained legally, provenance statement seen by Catawiki". But not verified, apparently. Fibulologist Renate (see previous posts) has again uncovered some disquieting evidence that the site is being used to launder material that can be firmly documented as originating from war-torn Ukraine. At a time when there is so much concern about damage to Ukrainian cultural heritage, there is so little notice being taken in the concerns being raised about this. So once again, we are being asked to believe that ancient artefacts are capable of being in two places at once: 

More “dual presence” brooches (all offered by aesnumismatics on Catawiki)

These are artefacts that required some imagination or scientific sensation to explain their provenance. Or a very simple one. In any case, the information on Violity.com and Catawiki.com do not match.

You noticed that? Bought from a seller with material from Kharkiv? Does Aesnumismatics still have business links with this person, and are they Russian? Why is the Austrian seller giving totally different collection histories from the one that can so easily be documented online? Parallel universes, really, or is there something to hide here? Why has Catawiki made no effort to verify the collection history of objects they are facilitating the sale of?  They employ experts who should be flagging up things like this ("Oj, that ain't Ostrogothic, no way!"), and if their experts would not know an Ostrogoth if it hit them in the face, then they need to give their experts extra training. There is no such word as "goatling". 

Vignette: Europe, showing current conflict zones (red) and movement of artefacts from Ukraine to Catawiki in Netherlands - via an Austrian consigner. 

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