Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Becchina case continues

Ursula Kampmann has written about the continuing case of Gianfranco Becchina ("The Becchina case – or: a footnote to practical aspects of the return of cultural property", Coins Weekly August 27, 2015 [note that the article has been translated]). She notes that some 1278 objects were left without certain "provenance" --- what is clearly meant (and this is why I do wish that those writing about the market would differentiate between "collecting history" and "findspot") is that it was not possible to ascertain where those 1278 objects had been found. (And just to clarify, I suspect that the seized paperwork will provide some of the information about the "collecting history".)

Kampmann informs her readership that the 1278 objects could be returned to Palladion Antike Kunst for sale. But who would want to buy these objects? Could Greece, Turkey and who knows which other countries bring a claim once the objects have been matched to the paperwork? Buyers would be wise to be very cautious.

But it appears that 40,000 francs are outstanding as part of a court case and this has led to the confiscation of the 1278 objects. (And one can only think that if these items are unsellable, they are also likely to be valueless.)

Kampmann bewails the "incompetence of the authorities". But actually it highlights the network of deals and dealings surrounding this Swiss-based dealer.

Of course those who were buying directly from Becchina will now be very concerned that their actions will be revealed.

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