Tuesday, 12 May 2009

ALR reports and e-commerce

Last week saw the opening of the new e-tiquities website "by Phoenix Ancient Art" (see earlier comments). Yet one week on there has been a major change. Last week you could read the on-line reports from the Art Loss Register (ALR): now the links to the reports have been removed and replaced with a logo and a little message, "All e-Tiquities have been searched in the Art Loss Register database."

Why the change? Is the ALR unhappy about having its reports posted on the web? Do the reports demonstrate in black-and-white terms that the collecting histories for some of the pieces cannot be extended back to 1970?

But what about transparency? How can potential buyers be sure about the "provenance" of the pieces?

Perhaps the time has come, as Larry Rothfield has proposed, for an archaeological body to be responsible for vetting these histories.


Unknown said...

The reason for the removal of the ALR reports may have to do with the fact the ALR charges a fee per search, and providing that information for free on the e-tiquities site incurred a loss of valuable and rapidly-depleting revenue for them. Obviously I can't speak for them, but it seems like a website that provides information that they have collected, and on which they depend for the funds to continue their operations, a website providing links for free to their search results would be pretty damaging.

David Gill said...

If this is the case ... you would have thought that the owners of the website would have asked the advice of the ALR.

Thanks for your comments.


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