Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sotheby's 1984 sale: a re-emergence

In October 2008 Bonhams (London) had to withdraw several pieces. Among them was:
  • Lot 10: Apulian hydria. Surfaced: Sotheby's London, Antiquities, May 21st, 1984, lot 384. [see list]
(At least three other pieces from this sale had passed through the Graham Geddes collection: lots 222 [Apulian hydria], 372 [Paestan lebes gamikos], and 408 [Apulian volute-krater].)

This incident should alert vendors to potential problems with this specific May 1984 sale given that antiquities that passed through Sotheby's (London) in the 1980s have featured regularly in the returns to Italy (and see also other pieces withdrawn from sale at Bonham's).

The due diligence process will have no doubt been doubly thorough for lot 375 from the same May 1984 auction. The Attic black-figured Band cup is now due to be offered at Christie's on June 3, 2009, lot 104. Who was the original consignor for the cup?

The cup (lot 375) subsequently passed to the Royal-Athena Galleries, New York, 1984, and then the Summa Galleries, Beverley Hills. It is now being sold as part of the Allen E. Paulson Living Trust.

The names of Allen Paulson and Bruce McNall of Summa Stables coincide in the horse-racing world (e.g. "A Lengthy Test for Jade Hunter's Speed", The New York Times February 21, 1988, Sunday).

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