Two pieces that passed through the June sale at Christie's were seized later in the year. They appear to have been an Attic pelike attributed to the Aegisthus painter that had surfaced through the Summa Galleries in the mid-1980s (lot 120), and an Apulian situla that had followed the same route but slightly earlier in 1977 (lot 132). Together they had realised over $120,000.
I later posted the comment from Christie's:
Sung-Hee Park confirmed that "the transparency of the public auction system combined with the efforts from the U.S. ICE and foreign governments, in this matter, led to the identification of two stolen artifacts".In December 2009 I wrote:
It is a matter of concern that two auction-houses --- Christie's and Bonham's --- have been willing to offer material from sales that are known to have contained material supplied by Medici and his associates. Why did their due diligence processes fail to identify the potential problem with this particular "provenance"? Auction-houses need to be very wary of antiquities that first appeared at Sotheby's in London during the 1980s and 1990s.Since then, Bonham's decided to withdraw one ex-Medici piece from its April 2010 sale (as well as three limestone busts featured in the Symes archive). Now three more pieces from the Medici Dossier (an Apulian rhyton, a Canosan terracotta, and a marble statue of a youth holding a cockerel) seem to be similar to three lots in the upcoming June sale at Christie's. (Two surfaced at Sotheby's in London, and one in New York.)
Christie's have responded to Theo Toebosch after he made an enquiry over the apparent association: "we do not sell works that we have reason to believe are stolen".
Toebosch also asked (and I repeat the questions here with his permission):
- Do you consider 'Japanese private collection 1980s' or 'London art market 1990s' as sole provenance well provenanced? If so, why? If not, why do you accept antiquities with this kind of provenance?
- What are your criteria to accept or refuse antiquities for auction?
- What do you consider due diligence?
Staff at Christie's need to ask themselves some questions.
- Why did ICE agents seize three pieces in 2009?
- How did Giacomo Medici form his stock of antiquities?
Composite of three pots apparently seized in New York by ICE agents during 2009.