BONHAMS WITHDRAWS OBJECTS FROM ANTIQUITIES SALE FOLLOWING REQUEST FROM THE ITALIAN GOVERNMENT
Bonhams has withdrawn ten objects from its 15 October Antiquities Sale which features nearly 600 items, following a formal request from the Italian Government just 24 hours before the sale.
Despite the last minute nature of the Italian request, Bonhams said it would remove the items in line with normal procedure when an object's provenance is called into question.
Chairman of Bonhams, Robert Brooks, announcing the decision said: "We are always happy to cooperate with any action that limits the chance of items being sold that should not be sold. Having said that we would welcome a greater openness on the part of the Italian Government, which would allow us far more advance warning and information about concerns they have. Responsible institutions need to work together and not to keep information hidden, for whatever reason, until the very last minute."
The ten objects - vases and sculpture - have an estimated value of £200,000. The Italian Government has claimed that the items concerned may have been illegally exported from Italy some 30 years ago.
ANSA has also carried the story: 'Sale of "stolen" antiquities halted', October 14, 2008. This quotes from the Bonhams press release.