Friday, July 15, 2011

International Smuggling Ring Operating within US Cracked

Lots of intriguing information in this story, though the outlines mesh with what we know is the modus operandi by which antiquities make their way from countries of origin (here, Egypt) to collectors in faraway exotic places (here, Virginia): move the pieces to a free port like Dubai, from there to Manhattan dealer, either directly from a Dubai dealer -- or a foreign (Jordanian) dealer operating out of the free port -- or run through some other dealership (in this case in Bloomfield, Michigan). The Manhattan dealer -- who thanks to Paul Barford we know operated in midtown, on Second Avenue between 55th and 56th Streets -- then fabricates a false provenance (part of an old family collection, in this case the dealer's own family!) which the collector accepts. What is quite interesting in this particular case is that the collector has also been indicted for allegedly knowing that the provenance story was fiction. How the authorities could prove this is a puzzler but even if it cannot be proven it really does put collectors on notice to be very very careful from hereon in if they want to avoid major legal bills at the very least.

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