Authentication Committees Disappearing, are Auction Houses Next?

Auction houses are unlikely to go by way of Authentication Boards, after all, selling works of art and valuable cultural objects is on average more lucrative than issuing scholarly opinions.  Still auction houses are often in the center of legal disputes.  For example, last month in New York, Federal agents moved to seize a thousand-year-old Cambodian statue from Sotheby’s, one of two best known art auction houses, alleging that Sotheby’s decided to put up a figure of a 10th-century warrior for auction despite knowing that it had been stolen from a temple during the upheavals of the Cambodian civil war in the 1970s.  As one of its responses, Sotheby’s issued a statement that it had been in discussion with the American and Cambodian governments for a year before Federal Government acted. “Given that Cambodia has always expressed its desire to resolve this situation amicably,” the statement said, “and that we had an understanding with the U.S. attorney’s office that no action would be filed pending further discussion towards a resolution of this matter, we are disappointed that this action has been filed and we intend to defend it vigorously.”

Source: The New York Times.

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