Friday, 25 March 2022

The Becchina Nolan amphora: update

Photograph from the Becchina archive
Source: Christos Tsirogiannis

Further details on the history of the Nolan amphora that appears in the Becchina archive have come to light. Professor Peter Stewart has kindly checked the details in the Beazley archive. The amphora was photographed by Sir John Boardman at Sotheby's in London in July 1983. It was then offered at Sotheby's London on 12 July 1983 (lot 531). Christos Tsirogiannis points out that the price on the Becchina photograph suggests that it was sold for £1500 (estimate £800–1200). Does this suggest that Becchina consigned the amphora to Sotheby's? What else did he consign to that sale? The amphora then was sold at Sotheby's New York in June 1988.

It should be noted that an Attic black-figured hydria, identified from the Medici dossier, surfaced at the same 1983 London sale. This was seized from the Steinhardt collection.

The case is a reminder that auction houses need to conduct a more rigorous due diligence process prior to sales.

The Nolan amphora now seems to have been withdrawn from Christie's forthcoming sale. (Lot 76 no longer appears.) 

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