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Collecting histories matter

I see that there continues to be significant issues raised over the four antiquities withdrawn from Christie's. the key issue that needs to be addressed is an improvement in the due diligence process. It would appear that the collecting histories for these four objects were either incomplete or had not been authenticated. The advocates of a licit market need to demonstrate how an object passed through known collections and sales, and that paperwork should be authenticated. This is not an issue about access to images but rather about the rigour of those undertaking the research by or on behalf of the auction houses. 

Separately, how often are dealers represented in the paperwork as collectors? so, for example, is, say, a Japanese Collector shorthand for a Japanese dealer operating out of Switzerland? 

Comments

kyri said…
hi david,unfortunately in the real world documents,invoices,lables even letters are faked.if a consignor produces an invoice from a dealer who is no longer trading or a shop which closed in the 50s its near impossible to have it verified.alot of business is conducted in good faith and the antiquities trade is no different.i remember the famous faker john andrews producing fake british museum letters and official stamps that fooled alot of people.its not as easy as your making it out to be.faking paperwork that is unverifiable is not hard at least with the polaroids the physical evidence is there and its a bit rich when institutions are pointing fingers but not releasing information that would help the auction houses do their job properly.
kyri
David Gill said…
Kyri
Thank you for your comments. I think that you are confirming my point that documentation can be faked. This has implications for the so-called licit market.
David

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