Skip to main content

Crosby Garrett helmet: farmer comments

The Carlisle press has revealed the identity of the farmer associated with the so-called Crosby Garrett helmet (Thom Kennedy, "Fight on to keep Crosby Garrett Roman helmet in Britain", News and Star, October 9, 2010).
The farmer on whose land the helmet said he would have liked it to stay in Cumbria, but Eric Robinson remained tight lipped over whether he will receive any of the money raised from Thursday’s auction.

“It’s quite amazing [that it was worth so much],” he said. “I would have liked it to be kept in Cumbria but I can’t do anything about it.”

Mr Robinson said the man who found it had been coming to his farm for seven years and ‘hit the jackpot’ with this find.

He added: “I saw it when he found it. It looked very special, like it was pretty important.”
This raises several questions:
a. When did Eric Robinson see the fragmentary helmet? Does he remember the exact date?
b. Was Eric Robinson shown the fragments in situ? Or in bags? Or in trays? Were the pieces still covered in mud?
c. Is there a written agreement with the anonymous finder from County Durham? Why does Eric Robinson think that there is a possibility that he will not benefit from an object reported to have been found on his land?


Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Comments

Mo said…
This helmet was found 10" below the surface.

I am no expert but I would have thought that when the field was ploughed it would have brought his artefact to the surface.

Given that the finder had been detecting on the farm for seven years it seems to have taken a long time for this item to be discovered.
Macrinus said…
So, it can be alleged that we have a finder making an agreement with a land-owner, who doesn't appear to know that he is the rightful owner of a non Treasure Trove object found on his land. It is he who should be calling the shots.

But then, we can further allege that the implication of his answers is that he is not in a position to call these shots - that he is the junior partner in this arrangement. This would imply that he is not the rightful owner and, therefore, not the owner of the land on which it was found. He is, however, the owner of the field in which it was said to have been found - which implies that it was found elsewhere.

If this allegation is correct, then a false provenance has been created,a PAS number obtained, further increase of the pedigree of the find by receiving BM identification (no one denies it was a real Roman helmet). The sum of all this, one can allege, has had the result of increasing its market value.

One further allegation can be made, therefore, that a fraud has been committed, on persons at the time unknown, through the sale of this falsely provenanced item at auction.

Perhaps someone locally should ask the local MP to contact the authorities to inquire whether a fraud has been committed.
David Gill said…
According to PAS the find was made in "Grassland, Heathland". See record.

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 …

Sardinian warrior from "old Swiss collection"

One of the Sardinian bronzes of a warrior was seized from an as yet unnamed Manahattan gallery. It appears to be the one that passed through the Royal-Athena Gallery: Art of the Ancient World 23 (2012) no. 71. The collecting history for that warrior suggests that it was acquired in 1990 from a private collection in Geneva.

Other clues suggested that the warrior has resided in a New York private collection.

The identity of the private collection in Geneva will no doubt be telling.

The warrior also features in this news story: Jennifer Peltz, "Looted statues, pottery returned to Italy after probe in NYC", ABC News May 25 2017.

Attic amphora handed back to Italians

The research of Dr Christos Tsirogiannis has led to the return of an Attic red-figured amphora, attributed to the Harrow painter, to Italy (Tom Mashberg, "Stolen Etruscan Vessel to Be Returned to Italy", New York Times March 16, 2017).

The amphora is known to have passed through the hands of Swiss-based dealer Gianfranco Becchina in 1993, and then through a New York gallery around 2000 (although its movements between those dates are as yet undisclosed).

During the ceremony, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the District Attorney stated:
“When looters overrun historic sites, mine sacred spaces for prized relics, and peddle stolen property for top dollar, they do so with the implicit endorsement of all those who knowingly trade in stolen antiquities” More research clearly needs to be conducted on how material handled by Becchina passed into the North American market and into the hands of private and public collectors.