10.02.2014

Bonhams Sale ...

I was tweeting along some of the lots, but just stopped. Yes I do tend to be sarcastic, but there are a few points I'd like to expand some, and others I'd like to add.

Firstly the one of the AIA St Louis lots was another of the many lots withdrawn from this sale.

I do find the AIA anti-art market policy to be ridiculous. I found an important head which gave new evidence about a famous portrait type, the Meleager-Diadoch,  and proved it was Demetrius Polyorketes. I was told that AJA would not even consider a note, because the head had passed through the art market in the early 90s ... even though it had a solid provenance and repairs going back to the 18th century. Looting is bad, but so is abusing a non-profit to make political statements.

There are reasons why the AIA St Louis perhaps should not have sold these items, but it seems strange to me that they would choose a minor auction house abroad when a major US auction house would have been more suitable.

I think lot 146 went well as it is a rare non-Christian example of Byzantine art, and possibly Jewish. As I'd suggested a bit before:



Unfortunately, yes this is true too ...



Lot 142 sold for £210,000 and the auctioneer seemed rather surprised it went so low. It's the 'Byzantine' silver plate that everyone I know seems to think looks 20th century, so I'm amazed it went that high.

Many lots went way under estimate and only sold as they had no reserve.

Another point I'd like to make is that I accidentally emailed Bonhams for a condition report on lot 142 - I clicked on the link and it opened up in my email, so I figured I'd send it.

There is lots of meaningless babble about comparanda in an attempt to expand on the sales pitch in the catalogue, but rather little in terms of actual condition:



I suppose the bits I see as modern could be because of the bad restoration.

Sometimes one doesn't see the trees for the wood, and I just realised that they do not give Art Loss Register certificate numbers. Obviously that could be because they acknowledge that the Art Loss Register is a bit of a joke -  issuing certificates for items that turn out to be listed as stolen with them, taking credit for others' work in Algeria - but in the UK the reputable dealers and trade associations insist on them for items over a certain value (I think it's £2,000 but could be wrong).



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