Skip to main content

Miami Law: Correction

Earlier this week I drew attention to a draft paper by Stephen K. Urice and  Andrew Adler where they discuss the Egyptian coffin seized in Miami. The suggested that the collector was Joseph A. Lewis III.

This appears to be incorrect. The case papers (09-23030, signed October 7, 2009) in fact state that the Barcelona galerista sold the coffin to an importer who is named as "Joseph A. Lewis II" (12).

I note that in 1991 a Joseph A. Lewis II from Richmond Va. and an unnamed co-conspirator were "charged in federal court with illegally importing Australian wildlife into the United States" ("Lizard Case in Va. Court", The Washington Post August 3, 1991). The wildlife consisted of "exotic lizards ... including Shingle-Back skinks and Bearded Dragon lizards". The report continued:
As part of the alleged conspiracy, the unnamed co-conspirator would travel to Australia and obtain live reptiles, an act that is illegal in Australia. The co-conspirator then would send the reptiles back to the United States in certain mail parcels. 
To avoid scrutiny of U.S. Customs officials, the contents of the packages were falsely labeled, authorities said.
The Australian press also commented on the case and  provide a little more detail ("Aussie lizards: big fine", The Sun Herald [Sydney] October 13, 1991).
A man has been convicted in the US of trafficking in exotic Australian lizards. 
Joseph Lewis, an executive of a cosmetic firm in Richmond, Virginia, was convicted of conspiracy to import shingleback skinks and bearded dragon lizards from Australia. 
Allen Hundley, of the US Fish and Wildlife division of law enforcement, said yesterday: "It was a big business, well-organised." 
Hundley said evidence before the court in Richmond showed Lewis had conspired with others to import three packages into the country from Australia. Those packages contained eight shingleback skinks and 10 bearded dragon lizards. 
According to court documents, in the mid-1980s Lewis ran a business from the basement of his home called Universal Select Animals. 
The company was "engaged in buying, selling and trading in exotic, rare and protected reptiles." 
Lewis pleaded guilty and was fined the equivalent of $9,400, ordered to perform 300 hours of community service and given 30 days of home confinement for his crime. 
Two Californian men have also pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the case.


Image
© ICE

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Marble bull's head from the temple of Eshmun

Excavations at the temple of Eshmun in Lebanon recovered a marble bull's head. It is now suggested that it was this head, apparently first published in 1967, that was placed on loan to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art (Tom Mashberg, "Met Museum Turns Over Another Relic With Disputed Past to Prosecutors", New York Times August 1, 2017 ). The head is reported to have been handed over to the Manhattan district attorney after a request was received from the Lebanese authorities.

It is suggested that the head may have been looted from an archaeological storage area at Byblos in the 1980s during the Lebanese civil war. Mashberg has rehearsed the recent collecting history:
The owners of the bull’s head, Lynda and William Beierwaltes of Colorado, say they have clear title to the item and have sued Manhattan prosecutors for its return.  The Beierwaltes bought the head from a dealer in London in 1996 for more than $1 million and then sold it to another collector, Michael …

The Toledo skyphos and a Swiss private collection

The Attic red-figured skyphos attributed to the Kleophon painter in the Toledo Museum of Art (inv. 1982.88) is now coming under further scrutiny following the research of Dr Christos Tsirogiannis. The skyphos shows Hephaistos returning to Olympos.

Tsirogiannis has identified what appears to be this skyphos in five photographs in the Medici Dossier. The museum acknowledged that the skyphos had resided in a 'private Swiss collection'. Tsirogiannis suggests that this is probably a reference to Medici.

Enquiries to the museum by Tsirogiannis elicited the information that the skyphos had been acquired from Nicholas Koutoulakis (although that information does not appear on the museum's online catalogue).

The curatorial team at the Toledo Museum of Art will, no doubt, be contacting the Italian authorities to discuss the future residence of the skyphos.

For further discussion of the Toledo Museum of Art on LM see here.

Reference
Tsirogiannis, C. 2017. "Nekyia: Museum ethics an…

Metropolitan Museum of Art hands over Paestan krater

In May 2014 I commented on a Paestan krater acquired by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art after it had been identified by Dr Christos Tsirogiannis in photographic images seized from Giacomo Medici. Tsirogiannis published his full concerns in the Journal of Art Crime in 2014, but it has taken a further three years for the museum to respond.

The krater showing Dionysos in a hand-drawn cart was purchased in 1989 from the Bothmer Purchase Fund (details from the Museum's website, inv. 1989.11.4). The krater surfaced through Sotheby's New York in June 1989.

It is unclear who consigned the krater to Sotheby's New York.

It has now been revealed that the krater has been handed over to the US authorities after a warrant had been issued (Tom Mashberg, "Ancient Vase Seized From Met Museum on Suspicion It Was Looted", New York Times July 31, 2018).

It appears that the museum did make an attempt to resolve the case in December 2016. Mashberg notes:
The Met, for its par…