Iraqi authorities demand Israel return antique Torah scroll
http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article120208.ece

By DAVID E. MILLER | THE MEDIA LINE

Published: Aug 31, 2010 00:04 Updated: Aug 31, 2010 00:04

Iraq is demanding Israeli authorities return an antique Torah scroll smuggled into Israel in the early 1950s.

Israel’s Arutz Sheva reported that the ancient scroll, written in the early twentieth century, was extracted from Iraq after the Gabbai family in the Iraqi city of Al-Hila bribed a local official. The family patriarch, Moshe Gabbai, worked in the town’s synagogue.

The scroll was then donated by the family to the Center for the Heritage of Babylon Jewry in the Israeli city of Or-Yehuda.

“This scroll is part of Iraq’s cultural heritage, just like the heritage of other countries in the world,” Abd Al-Zahra Al-Talqani, a spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, told The Media Line.

“When we discovered the publication in the Israeli media, we began to investigate the matter and turned to the National Center for Manuscripts in Iraq. They told us the scroll was not stolen from the center.”

Al-Talqani said the scroll either belonged to an Iraqi library, to a Jewish establishment in Iraq, or was someone’s private artifact. He added that the Ministry of Tourism and Artifacts immediately contacted Interpol (the International Criminal Police Organization) and the Iraqi foreign Ministry with requests to exert diplomatic efforts to retrieve the scroll.

“We are still following the matter and investigating it,” Al-Talqani added.

Mordechai Ben-Porat, director of the Center for the Heritage of Babylon Jewry denied any knowledge of the Iraqi demand.

“I didn’t hear that they were asking for it,” Ben-Porat said, referring to the Iraqi Torah scroll. “In Iraq they suspect we have other things from there, and they threatened to turn to UNESCO about six months or a year ago.”

Al-Talqani said the Israeli report was tantamount to an admission of theft.

“Israel’s announcement that the scroll is in its territory is an implicit admission that it was smuggled from Iraq,” Al-Talqani told the Aswat Al-Iraq news agency. “We will demand the return of the Torah scroll to the country through diplomatic channels.”

Al-Talqani said that following UN Security Council resolution 1483 from 2003, demanding that countries return stolen artifacts to Iraq, many countries began to cooperate with the Iraqi government.

Al-Talqani argued that the Iraqis did not single out Israel.

“In April 2008 Syria returned 702 artifacts; two months later Jordan returned 2,470 – the highest number received from a country. Other countries including Italy, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Saudi Arabia and most recently Turkey have all returned artifacts as well.”

According to Al-Talqani, the Israel Antiquities Authority agreed to cooperate with Iraq in the past.

“There are additional Iraqi antiquities that entered Israel through trading and smuggling. The spokeswoman of the Israel Antiquities Authority admitted this and said she was prepared to work directly with Iraq, or through a mediator.”

Culture Program Specialist at the UNESCO office for Iraq, Tamar Teneishvili, said that Iraq could legally retrieve the Torah scroll.

“If it were proven that the object was stolen, it will be returned,” she told The Media Line.

“If the Iraqis know where it was stolen from and when, they can turn to the Interpol and start the process of restitution. It is possible.”

August 31st, 2010

Posted In: restitution

More security flops unveiled in Van Gogh theft
http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2010/08/29/4980089.htm

(Daily News Egypt Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) CAIRO: Investigations into the theft of a $50 million Van Gogh painting from a Cairo museum on last week, continue to reveal more security flops.

Only one single security guard manned Mahmoud Khalil Museum which housed Vn Gogh’s “Poppy Flowers” and most of the museum’s cameras have been out of order since 2006, revealed a report by the state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA).

The prosecution’s investigation into the found that the museum had reduced the number of security guards from 30 to 9 and “most days the number was reduced so that there was only one guard in the museum,” MENA reported.

Only seven of 43 cameras were functioning and none of the alarms went off during the theft.

Deputy Culture Minister Mohsen Shaalan and four employees at the Mahmoud Khalil Museum remain detained under investigation on charges of “security negligence”.

Shaalan was responsible for the development and security of the museum, according to a 2006 decision issued by the ministry of culture, giving him all administrative and financial authorities over Mahmoud Khalil museum.

Shaalan denied accusations of negligence and pointed the finger at the Ministry of Culture, which he said was using him as a “scapegoat”.

Shaalan said in a Sunday interview with El Shororuk newspaper mediated by his lawyer Samir Sabri that “the authorization that was given to me, is given to all ministry officials to facilitate financial issues and it’s limited to LE 300,000 and is usually used in very limited cases.” “LE 300,000 isn’t enough to develop and change a whole network of surveillance cameras and alarms, that requires LE 16 million,” he added.

In a telephone interception to Mehwar TV’s daily talk show “90 Minutes” Monday night, Sabri said that Culture Minister Farouk Hosni should be taken to court as the top official responsible for the security negligence that led to the Van Gogh theft.

“Mohsen Shaalan had sent several correspondences and notices to the Ministry of Culture since 2007, notifying them of the security problems in the [Mahmoud Khalil] museum, and informing them that the cameras and alarms don’t work, but the ministry ignored his requests,” he explained.

“He [Shaalan] even told the Minister of Culture personally about the security problems in the museum in a meeting between the two. But the minister’s response was that it was more important to replace the old drapes for the sake of foreign visitors,” Sabri added.

Hosni denied Shaalan’s accusations in an interview with UAE newspaper The National, on Wednesday.

“Nobody should imagine that I knew that the security cameras were not functioning, because had I known that I would have ordered the museum closed immediately,” he said.

Hosni accused the media of falsely attacking him and taking advantage of the incident to tarnish his good name and achievements as minister.

“It’s unbelievable the frenzy in the media dreadful hunger for accusations. They are leaving or defending the defendant [Mr Shaalan] and running after the [innocent]. Why? Because I am a minister,” he said.

At the heels of the Van Gogh theft, Hosni formed a committee on Saturday to take an inventory of all the artwork preserved in museums throughout Egypt in a bid to save face and preserve what’s left of Egyptian treasures.

Ahmed Salah, press officer at the culture ministry, told told Daily News Egypt that the ministry of culture established a committee of prominent artists and experts on Saturday to assess the condition of all artwork in all Egyptian museums to determine whether or not they need restoration.

On Thursday, Hosni ordered shut the Mahmoud Saied, the Islamic Ceramics and the Ahmed Shawqi Museums based on the findings of a security committee established by the ministry to evaluate security in Egyptian museums, following the recent “scandal”.

“The scandal is not in the loss of the painting, but in how it was stolen,” Hosni said.

The painting was cut out from it’s a frame with a box cutter in broad day light. Some reports claim that the thieves pushed a couch under the painting and stood on it while they cut it out without anybody noticing.

Museum employees discovered the theft Saturday afternoon on Aug. 21 before closing time.

The investigation showed that the museum didn’t keep any records of its visitors and the metal detector wasn’t working.

The events surrounding the theft caused a huge scandal for the culture ministry and shed light on the poor state of museums in Egypt.

Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris offered a LE 1 million ($175,300) reward for information leading to the recovery of the stolen painting, state television reported on Wednesday.

Sawiris, chairman of mobile operator Orascom Telecom, is the first businessman to publicly get involved in the search for the painting.

Mahmoud Khalil museum is home to valuable artwork, assembled by Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil, a politician who died in 1953. The collection includes paintings by Gauguin, Monet, Manet and Renoir, as well as the Dutch post-Impressionist master Van Gogh.

Š T # # The empty frame of stolen Van Gogh painting “Poppy Flowers” at Cairo’s Mahmoud Khalil Museum. (AP) # (c) 2009 Daily NewsEgypt Provided by Syndigate.info an Albawaba.com company

August 31st, 2010

Posted In: law enforcement and investigation

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August 31st, 2010

Posted In: Uncategorized

Germany On Monday Handing Over To Ukraine Caravaggio Painting Stolen From Odesa Museum (09:47, Monday, August 30, 2010)
http://un.ua/eng/article/282731.html

Germany on Monday is handing over to Ukraine The Taking of Christ, or Judas’s Kiss, a painting by Caravaggio, which had been stolen from the Odesa Museum of Western and Eastern Art, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany Natalia Zarudna has announced in an interview with Ukrainian News.

She recalls, the canvas was withdrawn from the abductors in Germany in course of a joint operation by both countries’ law-enforcement agencies.

The ambassador says the painting will be handed over during President Viktor Yanukovych’s visit to Germany.

Zarudna says the painting was badly damaged during the stealing from the museum, and the Berlin art gallery at its own costs has restored it completely before returning to Ukraine.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, officers from the Interior Affairs Ministry of Ukraine together with German police on June 25 in Berlin, Germany seized three Ukrainian citizens and one German on suspicion of stealing Caravaggio painting, The Taking of Christ, from the Odesa Museum of Western and Eastern Art.

Experts estimate the withdrawn Caravaggio painting to cost some USD 100 million.

Unknown persons in 2008 stole The Taking of Christ, or Judas’s Kiss by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio from the Odesa Museum of Western and Eastern Art.

August 30th, 2010

Posted In: recovery

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August 30th, 2010

Posted In: cultural security

Van Gogh investigations nearing closure
Arabic Edition
Sat, 28/08/2010 – 14:51
http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/news/van-gogh-investigations-nearing-closure

Investigations into the theft of the van Gogh painting Poppy Flower ended two days ago, according to the North Giza Prosecution. Over the six days of investigations, the prosecution heard 32 witnesses. Another six individuals were imprisoned on charges of negligence, including the head of the Fine Arts Sector Mohsen Shalaan. Authorities renewed the imprisonment of these six for another 15 days, pending further investigations.

Authorities will soon complete investigations in their entirety, according to a criminal laboratory report. Judicial sources said the suspects are expected to be referred for criminal trial over the next few days.

During the investigations, the prosecution heard the testimony of Salah al-Meligui, head of the Central Unit for Museums. He said he intended to include a plan to renovate the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in the budget but Shalaan asked him to postpone that plan and use the budget allocations for the development of other museums. Shalaan successfully pressured the Minister of Culture to use money from the Cultural Development Fund for the Khalil Museum’s renovations, according to al-Meligui.

Mahmoud Bassiouni, head of the engineering department of the fine arts sector, said Shalaan is to blame for not including the museum’s development plan in the budget. Bassiouni said he created designs for the project as instructed.

Employees from the fine arts sector said there was a plan to move the contents of the Khalil Museum to al-Gezira Museum until the renovations were completed. The contents of the museum were never moved, however, because the al-Gezira Museum also required renovations.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

August 29th, 2010

Posted In: art theft, law enforcement and investigation

Antique dealer attacks ‘scandalous’ European extradition laws
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/7968373/Antique-dealer-attacks-scandalous-European-extradition-laws.html

An antiques dealer has attacked “scandalous” European extradition laws which led to his attempted deportation over claims that he broke a Greek bylaw at his home in London 11 years ago.

Richard Edwards and Jackie Williams
Published: 8:00AM BST 28 Aug 2010

Antiques dealer Malcolm Hay at his home in West London Photo: JULIAN SIMMONDS
Malcolm Hay, who runs a business from his Kensington town house, sold hundreds of broken pottery pieces to a visiting dealer from Athens in 1999.

Eight years later, he was arrested by armed police at City airport in London. He was detained for two days after a European Arrest Warrant was issued claiming the items he sold had been stolen from the Greek state.

Under the warrant, endorsed by the Labour government six years ago as a fast-track process for terrorists, foreign prosecutors do not have to show evidence to the British courts, but simply demand that the person be “surrendered”. In Mr Hay’s case, court papers in Athens show the alleged offence should not come under Greek jurisdiction because it took place in London. Mr Hay, 60, calls the entire affair “a false stitch-up”.

The apparent crime, “illicit appropriation of an antique object”, is not even an offence under British law.

Mr Hay said the British authorities who tried to deport him to face four years in a Greek jail acted like “the Gestapo”. No prima facie evidence of wrongdoing was presented and Mr Hay said: “The English involvement is what I find more upsetting and disgusting. Having been brought up and lived in this country, with all its values, I find it really hard to understand.

“It has allowed Greece to extend their jurisdiction, because they do not need to produce the evidence. That is despite the alleged wrongdoings happening in Britain – even the dealer I sold to says that.”

It was disclosed this week that the number of people in Britain seized under the “no evidence needed” warrant rose by more than 50 per cent last year.

David Blunkett, the former home secretary who introduced the warrant, said he had been “insufficiently sensitive” about how it could be “overused”. Mr Hay showed The Daily Telegraph the invoice of the transaction at the centre of the claims by Greek authorities.

It shows that on July 15, 1999, he sold a female trader from Athens 582 potsherds and other small items for £1,800. He said he bought them at fairs and described the artefacts as “junk”.

But at the same time, Greek police were investigating the female trader, who ran a shop in Athens. She was found to have more than £100,000 worth of unbroken pots and figurines from around 4-6BC, which by national law belonged to the Greek state. She then claimed she bought them from Mr Hay.

After his arrest in 2007 at passport control on the way home from a trip to Zurich, Mr Hay successfully fought extradition after a magistrate ruled that Greek authorities abused the correct processes to accuse him of the crime.

But a trial went ahead in Athens, with the Greek dealer and Mr Hay, represented by a local lawyer, both accused.

The female dealer was cleared. To Mr Hay’s “complete shock”, he was found guilty and jailed for four years. He has appealed against the verdict and is awaiting a hearing later this year. If he loses the appeal, the extradition process will begin again.

August 29th, 2010

Posted In: customs and law enforcement, law enforcement and investigation, legal issues and the law

Museum returns Baroque painting confiscated during Nazi era. The Pieter de Grebber work belonged to Jakob and Rosa Oppenheimer

By Josephine von Perfall | Web onlyPublished online 27 Aug 10 (News)

http://www.theartnewspaper.com/
Director of the Museum Wiesbaden, Dr. Volker Rattemeyer with “Double Portrait of a Young Couple” by Dutch painter Pieter de Grebber, which is being returned to the heirs of Berliner art dealer Jakob Oppenheimer (Photo: EPA)The Museum Wiesbaden has returned a 17th-century painting confiscated by Nazis in the 1930s to the heirs of its rightful owners. Double Portrait of a Young Couple by Dutch painter Pieter de Grebber (1600-1653) once belonged to the Jewish art dealer Jakob Oppenheimer and his wife Rosa.According to the museum, Nazis destroyed Oppenheimer’s company and gallery in 1933. Works of art owned by Oppenheimer were auctioned off unlawfully and the museum bought the De Grebber painting from a local gallery in 1937.After the museum identified the origin of the painting in March 2010, the Hessian Ministry of Economics agreed for the museum to give back the work of art. On 10 August, the painting was finally returned to its owners.“We have to face the injustice caused by the Nazi regime”, Volker Rattemeyer, the director of the museum said at a ceremony to mark the handing over of the work. Paris-baed lawyer Eva Sterzing received the painting on behalf of Oppenheimer’s heirs. “The heirs appreciate that injustice is being recognised”, said Sterzing.However, the future of the painting remains uncertain, as neither of the Oppenheimer descendants have the means to pay off the other heirs.

August 28th, 2010

Posted In: WWII

Antiquing in Israel a Tricky Business
http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/41692/

By Genevieve Long
Epoch Times Staff Created: Aug 27, 2010 Last Updated: Aug 27, 2010

RELIC: Part of an ancient aqueduct at Caesarea, Israel, a site of many antiquity excavations. (Genevieve Long/The Epoch Times)
JERUSALEM—The business of antiquities in Israel is so serious that the government has a special unit for antiquity robberies. That unit exists within the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA), which works to prevent items from being taken before they leave the country. But the system of theft is so extensive that the origin of an item can be hard to track.

That might have something to do with the vast number of archaeological sites in the region.

According to the IAA, there are about 30,000 known antiquity sites in Israel, mostly in open areas without guards. Hundreds of those sites are revaged every year by robbers, who sell their loot to middlemen.

The theft of antiquities in Israel is systematized, and starts with the diggers. They toil illegally throughout the night at archaeological sites, with excavation tools and metal detectors. They often break into areas where they can find rare coins minted during the Jewish revolts against the Romans, which can fetch a high price on international markets. Coins are the most common artifact, but there is also the common robbery of graves, which often include rare and valuable artifacts, and underwater areas.

There are many legitimate antique dealers in Israel, but the illegitimate system that includes middlemen, merchants, and collectors makes it risky to buy and sell through the open market. The IAA says a local middleman usually finances digging operations, including equipment, then buys the stolen goods, and resells them to merchants and collectors.

RARE COIN: Zak Samer holds a 2,000-year-old coin in his shop in Jerusalem. Coins like this are commonly robbed from archaeological sites in Israel. (Genevieve Long/The Epoch Times)

The trick for finding the right buyer is to know what makes them legitimate.

In the bustle of Jerusalem’s Old City, there are rows upon rows of vendors selling everything from antique knock-offs to unverified goods.

At Mishirky Antiquities, proprietor Zak Samer sits in his small shop amidst ancient artifacts ranging from the Byzantine period, eating a lunch of hummus and pita.

Some of the items in his shop are worth thousands of dollars, despite their modest appearance. Mr. Samer is an Arab Christian and his shop is situated in the Christian Quarter of the Old City. He watches over his store with a serious, yet warm face.

“No Rush No Push,” states a sign near the entrance.

“I don’t rush the customers to buy anything, and I never push them,” explains Mr. Samer, smiling. The shop was founded by his grandfather, and he inherited it from his uncle.

On the wall is a certificate that Mr. Samer says every antiquities dealer in Israel should have in their shop: authorization by the IAA. He buys his pieces at auction that the IAA runs about three or four times a year. When it comes to whether or not the items in other shops are stolen and sold through middlemen, Mr. Samer admits that the problem exists, and it’s not just a stereotype.

“It’s like people think Arabs are always thieves,” he says about the association of grave robbers and Arabs from the Judean Plain. “It’s a screw up stigma we have as thieves.”

But all of the pieces in Mr. Samer’s shop are authorized by the antiquities authority and come with a certificate of authenticity. The transfer of the goods out of the country is so sensitive that someone mailing a package to themselves could land in prison. Mr. Samer, whose customers are usually professors and collectors, suggests carrying purchased items by hand.

“If shops don’t have certificates of authenticity, the pieces might be false,” he says, just as a British man comes into the shop looking for a small piece that will cost under $50. Nothing in the shop is priced that low, and the man leaves as abruptly as he came in.

“He doesn’t want to pay [what it’s worth],” says Mr. Samer, going back behind his counter and his lunch of hummus and pita.

August 27th, 2010

Posted In: looting and illegal art traffickers

26 August 2010 Last updated at 10:34 ET
Antique silverware stolen during Sutton Green break-in
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-11100485

Police said the total collection of stolen silverware was worth £25,000
A collection of antique silverware worth more than £25,000 has been stolen from a house in Sutton Green.

Surrey Police said a burglar broke into the property and took dozens of items of “personal and monetary value”.

Among the pieces stolen were a silver tea service worth more than £3,000 and three pairs of Victorian candlestick holders worth £5,000.

The intruder also took a Victorian oil lamp and military sword, both worth about £2,000.

Detectives have appealed for information on the burglary, which happened on 8 August.

August 27th, 2010

Posted In: art theft, metal theft

26 August 2010 Last updated at 10:24 ET
Iraq ‘bleeding antiquities’ as instability continues
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11099647

By Jane O’Brien BBC News, Washington
While many ancient artefacts have been recovered thousands may never be found
As the US prepares to withdraw its last combat troops from Iraq, international cultural experts are warning that the country is “bleeding antiquities” and that artefacts representing the world’s cradle of civilisation are still in peril.

Precise figures are hard to establish because much of Iraq’s art and antiques remains undocumented. In 2003 an estimated 15,000 artefacts were stolen from the Iraqi National Museum and only about a third have been returned.

But experts believe hundreds of thousands more have been looted from the country’s archaeological sites that rank among the most important in the world.

“These are fuzzy numbers, but we just don’t know. Looters go in privately and they dig. They don’t document what they find,” says Prof John Russell, a cultural adviser to the US State Department.

“The first time anyone sees these artefacts is when they’re seized by the police or turn up through dealers.”

Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

It’s the memory of the Iraqi people, so they should make more effort to protect this”

End Quote Dr Donny George Youkhanna Former director, Iraqi National Museum
One such haul uncovered by customs officers in New York contained dozens of cuneiform tablets, the oldest known system of writing. Until they were found, nobody knew they existed.

They are among 1,054 items discovered in the US alone. Earlier this year, a pair of 2,800-year-old Neo-Assyrian gold earrings from a mass of gold jewellery known as the “Treasures of Nimrud” were among items returned in a special ceremony to the Iraqi Embassy in Washington DC.

“This is an Iraqi problem. The Iraqi people and the Iraqi government should take the first steps and start protecting their cultural heritage,” says Dr Donny George Youkhanna, the former director of the Iraqi National Museum.

He fled Iraq during the 2005 insurgency and now teaches at Stony Brook University in New York.

“Iraq’s heritage is the wealth of the Iraqi people. It’s the memory of the Iraqi people, so they should make more effort to protect this. Every day these sites are bleeding antiquities,” he said.

Funding fears
Prof Russell says the worst looting is in southern Iraq, where hundreds of sites have been raided. Large sites such as Isin and Umma now look like cratered moonscapes.

Experts say the military presence in Babylon did irreparable harm
Part of the problem is the ongoing lack of security in Iraq – and once the last US combat troops withdraw at the end of August, the remaining 50,000 soldiers will take on an advisory role, helping to train Iraqi police.

Experts say the future of Iraq’s cultural heritage cannot be safeguarded until there is a strong and stable central government with a functioning antiquities department backed by law.

The US government has awarded $13m (£8.3m) to help fund the Iraqi Cultural Heritage Project.

The two-year initiative, which ends in December, has established a Conservation and Preservation Institute in Erbil, a training programme for Iraqi archaeologists and renovated galleries and storage facilities at the Iraqi National Museum.

Although that was reopened briefly in 2009, it remains largely closed to the public because of security issues.

The Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage has also received more than $1m to help restore the ancient site of Babylon. That was damaged by US troops who established a military camp on the archaeological site, mistakenly believing they were outside the city walls.

Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

I wish I could be optimistic but a very important part of history has gone”

End Quote Prof Nada Shabout University of North Texas
It is not clear what will happen when funding for these and other projects ends.

And little is being done to safeguard the future of Iraq’s modern art and monuments. Many of these have deliberately destroyed as part of the de-Baathification process aimed at removing symbols of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

“There was first the de-Baathification policy… then there was random looting and destruction, and there were things that offended certain religious sensibilities. There was always one reason or another,” says Prof Nada Shabout, an Iraqi-American modern art expert who teaches at the University of North Texas.

“Some of the public monuments were in bad taste and were ugly, and I would not be heartbroken if they were brought down. But there is a system of conserving heritage and they were nevertheless part of the history of the country… So do we throw away the baby with the bath water?”

Artists flee
And while public attention and funding has focused on restoring and preserving Iraq’s antiquities, there has been less support for the Iraqi National Museum of Modern Art which was also looted during the conflict.

Much of Iraq’s modern art has also been looted from galleries in the upheaval
From an original collection of some 8,000 works, Prof Shabout says only 1,500 remain at the National Museum of Modern Art which now shares its space with government departments.

Prof Shabout says many works turn up at well-known auction houses or art dealers, but because records of the museum’s holdings were destroyed, there is no way to prove they were stolen.

She has been funded by the American Academic Research Institute of Iraq to compile an online archive based on photographs, memory and research. She now has about 600 authenticated images, but there is a long way to go.

Many of Iraq’s established modern artists have moved abroad to escape the conflict and protect their work.

“I wish I could be optimistic but a very important part of history has gone, and little acts of goodness are not bringing it back,” says Prof Shabout.

August 26th, 2010

Posted In: looting and illegal art traffickers

26 August 2010 Last updated at 10:03 ET
Two arrested after statue theft
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-11099353

The statue cost £30,000 and was erected in July 1999
Two men have been arrested following the theft of an 8ft (2.4m) statue of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel from a quayside in Pembrokeshire.

Police believe the bronze statue, which cost £30,000 when erected in July 1999, was taken from Neyland overnight on Sunday.

The arrested men, aged 30 and 20 and both from Pembroke, have been released on bail and investigations are continuing, Dyfed-Powys Police said.

The statue has not yet been found.

Officers say lifting equipment must have been used to remove it intact from its plinth at Brunel Quay.

The statue by the late sculptor Robert Thomas, who also created the Aneurin Bevan statue in Cardiff city centre, was unveiled by the Prince of Wales, and was the work of the late Robert Thomas.

Metal thefts have become increasingly common this year as the price of most metals has risen.

The theft comes three weeks after an 1899 statue of a boy, Joyance, by Victorian sculptor Sir William Goscombe John was cut from the water fountain in Thompson’s Park, Canton, Cardiff.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Milford Haven CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

August 26th, 2010

Posted In: law enforcement and investigation

Egyptian tycoon offers reward for Van Gogh theft
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE67O5OZ20100825

CAIRO | Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:19pm EDT

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has offered a 1-million Egyptian pound ($175,300) reward for information leading to the recovery of a stolen Van Gogh painting, television reported on Wednesday.

Sawiris, chairman of the leading Arab mobile operator Orascom Telecom, is the first businessman to publicly get involved in the search for the panting, worth an estimated $55 million.

The painting, known as “Poppy Flower” according to a statement in Arabic, was stolen on Saturday morning from Cairo’s Mahmoud Khalil Museum, home to one of the Middle East’s finest collections of 19th- and 20th-century art.

An early investigation of the theft showed “flagrant shortcomings” in security, with only seven out of 43 security cameras working properly.

The culture ministry’s head of fine art, Mohsen Shaalan, has been detained along with four other officials for 19 days pending investigation after being accused of “negligence and failing to carry out their employment duties.”

Nine other employees were barred from travel.

The museum houses works assembled by Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil, a politician who died in 1953, including paintings by Gauguin, Monet, Manet and Renoir, as well as the Dutch post-Impressionist master Van Gogh.

Sawiris, the oldest of three billionaire sons of Egyptian entrepreneur Onsi Sawiris, owns just over half of Orascom Telecom and 100 percent of mobile phone operators Wind Italy and Wind Hellas of Greece through his investment vehicle Weather Investments.

($1=5.704 Egyptian Pound)

(Reporting by Sherine El Madany; Editing by Jon Hemming)

August 25th, 2010

Posted In: reward posted

Artifact stolen from Vakil Mosque found
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/140029.html
Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:22AM

Police have recovered the inscription stolen from Vakil Mosque.
Iranian police have recovered an ancient inscription that was stolen from a historic mosque in southern province of Fars over four months ago.

“Investigations launched by police and heritage activists over the last few months concluded with the discovery of the precious artifact in Marvdasht city, located in Fars Province,” said Mohammad-Reza Bazrgar, head of Fars Province Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department.

“In May 2010, thieves entered the Vakil Mosque under cover of darkness. Then they captured and tied up a security guard before escaping with the invaluable item,” he further explained.

The mosque was built between 1751 and 1773, during the Zand Dynasty. It was restored in the 19th century during the Qajar period.

“No one has yet been arrested related to the theft,” he went on to say.

The ancient piece belongs to the early Islamic era. Verses of the holy Quran were carved on the jadeite which measures 125 centimeters by 70 centimeters.

NAT/JG/HRF

August 25th, 2010

Posted In: recovery, religious artifact theft

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August 25th, 2010

Posted In: Uncategorized

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August 25th, 2010

Posted In: Uncategorized

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August 25th, 2010

Posted In: diefstal beelden

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August 24th, 2010

Posted In: art fraud

Schiele Art Back In Austria After Ownership Feud
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129377681

by The Associated Press

VIENNA August 23, 2010, 11:34 am ET
A 12-year battle over the possession of a painting that was stolen from a Jewish Austrian by the Nazis came to a close on Monday when the work by Austrian expressionist Egon Schiele was displayed at a Vienna museum.

The oil painting was returned over the weekend after the Leopold Museum agreed to pay $19 million (15 million euros) as part of the settlement to the estate of art dealer Lea Bondi Jaray, the original owner.

U.S. authorities had refused to return the painting to the Leopold Museum after it was exhibited in 1998 at the New York Museum of Modern Art because of a claim by her descendants.

Bondi Jaray was forced to sell the painting, “Portrait of Wally,” at an unrealistically low price in the prelude to World War II as part of a widespread Nazi campaign that stripped Jews in Austria, Germany and later other European countries of their possessions.

“Portrait of Wally” — which pictures Valerie “Wally” Neuzil, a woman Schiele knew and used as a model — was among more than 100 works the Leopold Foundation had leant to MoMA.

U.S. customs refused to let the work leave the country after Henry Bondi of Princeton, New Jersey, filed a claim that said his late aunt was forced to give up the painting before fleeing Vienna in 1939 to escape to London when Germany annexed Austria.

She died in 1969. Henry Bondi also has since died.

The controversy over the portrait, which the Leopold Museum acquired after the war, contributed to Austria passing a 1998 law that stipulates the restitution of property taken from the country’s Jews by the Nazis.

But the restitution law applies to state institutions, not to private museums such as the Leopold Foundation — something that Vienna’s Jewish community asserts was exploited by Leopold.

The museum was created by the late Rudolf Leopold. He is credited with assembling Austria’s largest and most important private art collection, which includes more than 5,000 works by renowned artists such as Schiele, Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka.

According to the Jewish community’s website, paintings by Schiele, Klimt and Egger-Lienz that were looted by the Nazis were bought by the Austrian state with public funds and given to the Leopold Foundation.

The foundation acknowledges that it is not ruled by the restitution law, but denies any wrongdoing.

Andreas Noedl, who sits on the Leopold museum’s board, acknowledged the gross injustice done to Austria’s Jews, telling reporters on Monday that the portrait “reflects the history of the horrendous atrocities during the Holocaust.”

Leopold Museum chief Peter Weinhaeupl called the return a “symbolic day” for the museum.

———

Online: http://www.raubkunst.at and http://www.leopoldmuseum.org

August 24th, 2010

Posted In: recovery, restitution, WWII

Toen een aantal jaren geleden uit het Kunsthistorisches Museum in Wenen de Saliera van Benvenuto Cellini, waarde 30 tot 40 miljoen euro, gestolen werd schreef ik in een column dat wat mij betreft de directeur van dat museum meteen ontslagen moest worden. De inbraak en diefstal vond binnen 56 seconden plaats. Mijn commentaar leidde toen tot een reactie uit Engeland. Charles Hill schreef mij dat ik die directeur te hard aanpakte en dat de inbraak en diefstal het werk waren van een beveiligingsspecialist die het alarm op de ramen zou hebben gemanipuleerd. Diezelfde Charles Hill beweerde ook dat de diefstal het werk was van een oost-Europese bende. Dat soort uit de duim gezogen verhaaltjes doen het altijd goed. Er was iets heel anders aan de hand: de inbraak en diefstal werd verricht door een aangeschoten inwoner van Wenen die op de steigers tegen het museum klom, een onbeveiligde ruit insloeg, een onbeveiligde vitrine insloeg en met het zoutvat van Cellini er vandoor ging. Niks specialistische beveiligingskennis en niks georganiseerde criminaliteit. Gewoon een ordinaire gelegenheidsdiefstal die simpel gepleegd kon worden. De beveiliging van het museum was waardeloos en mijn advies de eindverantwoordelijke de laan uit te sturen meer dan gerechtvaardigd.

In Nederland kennen we ook zo’n voorbeeld: de roof van vele schilderijen en zilveren objecten uit het Westfries Museum te Hoorn. Ook die directeur had meteen moeten opstappen. Het liep anders: hij presenteerde zich als de leugenaar van de eeuw toen hij blaatte dat de beveiliging van het museum geavanceerd was en de crimineel zeer professioneel. Kletskoek. De bewegingsmelders in het museum waren van het niveau stacaravan en werden kinderlijk eenvoudig afgeplakt. De laan uit met die directeur was toen mijn mening en ik sta nog steeds achter die mening.
We hebben in Nederlandse musea geen cultuur waarbij falende, verantwoordelijke managers de rekening gepresenteerd krijgen wanneer zich incidenten voordoen. In tegenstelling: wanneer je museum afbrandt en de hele collectie verloren gaat omdat je de zaken organisatorisch niet op een rij hebt, of wanneer je museum leeggeroofd wordt doordat je vele jaren de beveiliging verwaarloosde, dan maak je een goede kans in het lezingencircuit terecht te komen als slachtoffer van de boze buitenwereld. Geen woord over de verantwoordelijkheid.
Na de inbraak en diefstal uit het museum in Parijs afgelopen mei (2010) bleek dat de beveiliging al maanden onklaar was. Weg met die verantwoordelijke eindmanager, denk ik dan. Nu Egypte weer: de schilderijenalarmen deden het geen van alle en 36 van de 43 camera’s functioneerde niet. Daar weten ze in Egypte wel raad mee: de verantwoordelijke staatssecretaris de bak in. Of dat nu redelijk is? Misschien wel, wie zal het zeggen.
Beveiliging en veiligheid zijn core business voor musea. Langdurig verwaarlozen van core business lijkt mij voldoende reden voor ontslag. Geen geld? Nonsens; het is een kwestie van prioriteiten stellen. Wanneer er geld is om kostbare objecten in huis te halen – al of niet via tijdelijke tentoonstellingen – dan moet er ook geld vrijgemaakt worden om die kostbare objecten veilig binnen te houden. Zo eenvoudig is het. Dan maar geen dure eersteklas dienstreizen – denk aan de Nederlandse museumdirecteur die eerste klas naar Parijs vloog om daar over te stappen op de Concorde naar New York; denk aan de Nederlandse museumdirecteur die met dienstwagen met chauffeur naar Parijs reisde. Er werd wel een beetje op de kleintjes gelet gelukkig, want de chauffeur moest overnachten in een goedkoop hotel om de volgende morgen de directeur weer bij zijn 5sterren hotel op te halen.
De museummanagers moeten zich realiseren dat het de beveiliging is die de deur van het museum open maakt….

Ton Cremers

Koppen rollen in Caïro na diefstal Van Goghmaandag 23 augustus 2010 | 18:24CAIRO (ANP) – In Egypte rollen de eerste koppen na de diefstal van een schilderij van Vincent van Gogh. Het Openbaar Ministerie heeft het hoofd van de afdeling kunst van het ministerie van Cultuur opgepakt in verband met de diefstal van het kunstwerk. Dat meldden staatsmedia maandag.Mohsen Shaalan, de eerste ondersecretaris van het ministerie van Cultuur, en vier andere functionarissen worden beschuldigd van ,,nalatigheid en falen bij het vervullen van hun functie”, aldus persbureau MENA. Negen functionarissen van het Egyptische ministerie mogen het land niet verlaten.Het schilderij Klaprozen, waarvan de waarde is geschat op 43 miljoen euro, werd zaterdag op klaarlichte dag gestolen uit het Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Giza, een voorstad van de hoofdstad Caïro. Het alarmsysteem bleek niet te werken. Slechts zeven van de 43 beveiligingscamera’s functioneerden. Ook werkte het alarmsysteem bij de schilderijen niet.

August 24th, 2010

Posted In: algemeen, diefstal, diefstal uit museum

Egypt Jails Five Officials in Van Gogh Theft Probe
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-08-23/egypt-jails-five-officials-in-van-gogh-theft-probe.html

August 23, 2010, 11:57 AM EDT

By Alaa Shahine

(Updates with more officials detained in third paragraph, culture minister’s comment in sixth.)

Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) — Egypt’s public prosecutor has ordered the detention of a culture ministry official pending a investigation into the theft of a $55 million painting by Vincent van Gogh, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported.

The painting, which is titled “Poppy Flowers” or “Vase of Flowers” was declared missing from the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Cairo on Aug. 21.

Prosecutor Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud also ordered the four-day detention of four museum employees, the news agency reported today, without saying how it obtained the information. The five are accused of negligence, according to the report.

The painting is one of 304 oil paintings and 50 sculptures in the three-story museum, which was built on the Nile in 1920 as the residence of Egyptian art collector Khalil. The most conservative estimate of the value of the collection is 7 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.2 billion), according to a government website. The museum features a number of prominent European artists including Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin and Claude Monet.

Egypt, which boasts some of the world’s most renowned antiquities, such as the golden mask of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, has been restoring many of its cultural attractions in an attempt to boost revenue from tourism, which brought in $10.76 billion in income last year, according to the Tourism Ministry.

Poor Security

Security at many sites remains poor, say officials. The theft “took place in broad daylight,” Culture Minister Faruq Hosni said in an interview aired today by Dubai-based Al Arabiya television. Only seven out of 43 security cameras were functioning and none of the alarms attached to the museum’s paintings was working, the public prosecutor told reporters yesterday at the museum.

The robbers climbed on a sofa and cut the picture out of its frame, the state-run news agency reported yesterday, saying security agencies at Egypt’s airports and borders had been put on alert. The public prosecutor has ordered the release on bail of three other people, including the director of the museum, it said.

The same van Gogh painting was stolen in 1978 and was recovered two years later from an undisclosed location in Kuwait, the Associated Press reported.

Posthumous Fame

Failing to achieve popularity as an artist in his lifetime, Vincent van Gogh committed suicide in 1890 at the age of 37. His paintings have become among the world’s most valuable since his death. “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” sold at Christie’s International Plc for $82.5 million in 1990, making it the most expensive artwork to sell at auction at the time. The previous record for a work at auction was his “Irises,” which sold for $53.9 million.

Van Gogh’s paintings have been frequent targets of art thieves. “Blossoming Chestnut Branches” was one of four paintings stolen from a Zurich museum in February 2008.

Khalil was an Egyptian parliamentarian in the 1930s and 1940s. The mansion and the art collection were bequeathed to the state in his will, the government says. Khalil, who studied law at the Sorbonne University in France, died in Paris in 1953.

–Editors: Digby Lidstone, Heather Langan.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alaa Shahine in Cairo at asalha@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at mbeech@bloomberg.net.

August 23rd, 2010

Posted In: art theft

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August 22nd, 2010

Posted In: Uncategorized

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August 22nd, 2010

Posted In: diefstal, diefstal uit museum

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August 22nd, 2010

Posted In: diefstal, diefstal uit museum

Confusion reigns over stolen Van Gogh painting
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gR7b9KgMHbhceV0FWJ…
By Rayad Abu Awad (AFP) – 9 hours ago

CAIRO, Egypt — Egypt’s culture minister Sunday backtracked on a claim that two Italians were arrested with a stolen Van Gogh painting, blaming a subordinate for giving “inaccurate” information.

“The information … came from … Mohsen Shaalan. Despite Shaalan receiving confirmation that the painting was retrieved, the information was inaccurate,” the ministry said in a statement.

Culture Minister Farouq Hosni had earlier told AFP and Egypt’s official MENA news agency that the work identified as Poppy Flowers and valued at more than 50 million dollars, was found with two Italians in Cairo airport hours after its theft from the Mahmoud Khalil museum on Saturday.

It was not immediately clear why the Italians were arrested and whether they had been freed.

Hosni had earlier said the museum, located in the middle and upperclass district of Dokki on the Nile and which also has works by Monet, Renoir and Degas, was visited by only 10 people on Saturday.

Italy’s domestic ANSA news agency, citing what it called “information gathered at the scene”, said the two Italians were young and that they had visited the museum with a group of Spanish and Russian tourists.

Hosni’s statement said “measures are still underway to uncover the circumstances of the incident and retrieve the painting”.

He also made a live statement by phone on Egyptian state television to set the record straight.

Police officials questioned museum employees and visitors after the theft and reviewed security camera footage. A police official said thieves were expected to smuggle the painting outside the country.

Shalaan, who had said that the painting was in the possession of police at Cairo airport, had meanwhile switched off his cellphone and could not be reached for comment.

Security officials also refused to comment on Hosni’s statement. One official described the incident as “embarrassing and chaotic”.

Hosni had earlier said the painting was cut out of its frame after the Mahmoud Khalil museum opened in the morning.

The painting of the yellow and red flowers in a vase had been stolen before in 1977, and was returned to the museum a decade later.

The museum houses a collection of paintings which were owned by Mahmoud Khalil, a parliamentarian in the 1930s.

August 22nd, 2010

Posted In: art theft, law enforcement and investigation

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August 21st, 2010

Posted In: diefstal uit museum, Uncategorized

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August 21st, 2010

Posted In: diefstal uit museum

Egyptian police recover stolen Van Gogh painting
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100821/ap_on_en_ot/ml_egypt_stolen_van_gogh

AFP/File – Two Italians were arrested at Cairo airport trying to smuggle out a Van Gogh painting stolen from a museum …
By HADEEL AL-SHALCHI, Associated Press Writer Hadeel Al-shalchi, Associated Press Writer – 14 mins ago
CAIRO – Police recovered a painting by Vincent van Gogh at Cairo airport Saturday, hours after it was stolen from a museum in the Egyptian capital, the country’s culture minister said.

Farouk Hosni said security officers at Cairo airport confiscated the painting from two Italians — a man and a woman — as they were trying to leave the country. No further details were immediately available.

The painting, which Hosni said was valued at $50 million, was stolen earlier Saturday from Cairo’s Mahmoud Khalil Museum.

The painting goes by two names, “Poppy Flowers” and “Vase with Flowers,” according to the museum’s director, Reem Bahir.

This is the second time the piece by the Dutch-born postimpressionist has been stolen from the Khalil museum. Thieves first made off with the canvas in 1978, before authorities recovered it two years later at an undisclosed location in Kuwait.

Officials have never fully revealed the details of that theft. When it was recovered, Egypt’s then-interior minister said three Egyptians involved in the heist had been arrested and informed police where the canvas was hidden. Authorities never reported whether the thieves were charged or tried.

The one-foot-by-one-foot painting resembles a flower scene painted by the French artist Adolphe Monticelli, whose work deeply affected the young van Gogh. The Monticelli painting also is part of the Khalil collection.

Most of the canvasses for which van Gogh is remembered were painted in 29 months of frenzied activity before his suicide in 1890 at age 37.

Experts have said they believed the Cairo canvas was painted around 1887.

Other works in the Khalil collection, all from the 19th-century French school, are by Paul Gauguin, Gustave Courbet, Francois Millet, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Auguste Renoir and Auguste Rodin.

August 21st, 2010

Posted In: recovery

Idols wing seizes four panchaloha idols; arrest two persons
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Idols-wing-seizes-four-panchaloha-idols-arrest-two-persons/articleshow/6383832.cms

TNN, Aug 21, 2010, 06.43am IST

CHENNAI: The idol wing of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) on Thursday arrested two persons and seized four panchaloha idols stolen from a temple in Tiruvarur. The idols of Nataraja (38 kg), Pradhosha Amman, Sivasamy Amman and Chandhraskerar seized from A Justin (37) of Lalgudi, Tiruchi and Alrin Prabhu (23) of Kulamanickam, Ariyalur, nabbed from near the Marina beach, were worth over Rs 25 lakh, the police said.

These, officials said, were stolen along with three others, a silver crown and silver spear from the Giridhapureeswar Koil temple in June and concealed on the Cauvery river bed in Tiruvarur.

A special idol wing team which got a tip-off about a duo coming to the city to sell idols was monitoring the area around the Marina Beach when it saw two persons near the Labour Statue with a bag. They were taken into custody and questioned. They gave vague replies and the police team checked their bag and found a one-foot Pradhosha Amman idol.

The two then admitted to commiting the crime and said they had stolen seven such idols, including that of Pradhosha Amman, from the Giridhapureeswar Koil and added that three more idols were concealed on the Cauvery river bed. A police team then went to Tiruvarur and recovered the three idols. Three more idols are yet to be recovered and two associates of Justin and Prabhu are absconding, the police said.

According to the police, Justin, acquitted in a case of murder, had for long been targeting temples in Tamil Nadu. He and his associates had first planned to steal the idols from the Perumal Koil in Pudukkottai but dropped the plans because of the strict security arrangements there. The gang then decided on the Giridhapureeswar Koil. The team members visited the temple on several occasions to identify the places where the idols were kept. They then climbed a tree near the compound wall and used a rope to climb down. They broke the lock of the temple door, stole seven idols and the silver artefacts before using the same rope to pull up the idols and escape.

The gand then got the silver crown and spear melted and made into blocks which were sold to a jeweller in Hosur. The gang also sold the Pradosha Nayakar idol to the jeweller who returned it saying it had no gold content. The idol was then dumped in a drainage in Tiruchi, the arrested duo told the police.

They thieves then planned to sell the idols to foreign collectors through Chennai dealers. It was with this intention that Justin and Prabhu came to Chennai, the police said.

“We have taken steps to prevent this assault on our cultural heritage. It is not just the price of the idols but the value people attach to them and their cultural importance that make this crime one of the most heinous. We have also proposed to open icon centres in all districts of Tamil Nadu to bring down idol thefts,” said S K Dogra, ADGP, EOW.

Read more: Idols wing seizes four panchaloha idols; arrest two persons – Chennai – City – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Idols-wing-seizes-four-panchaloha-idols-arrest-two-persons/articleshow/6383832.cms#ixzz0xGT1jQ33

August 21st, 2010

Posted In: looting and illegal art traffickers

Van Gogh painting stolen from Cairo museum

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/middleeast/news/article_1579156.php/Van-Gogh-painting-stolen-from-Cairo-museum

Aug 21, 2010, 17:53 GMT

Cairo – One of Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous paintings, Poppy Flowers, has been stolen from a museum in Cairo, Egypt’s Ministry of Culture said on Saturday.

In was not immediately clear how the thieves managed to steal the painting from the Mahmoud Khalil museum, but Culture Minister Farouq Hosni ordered urgent measures to prevent it being taken out of the country.

In 1978, the same painting was stolen, but was returned shortly afterwards. One year later, a duplicate was sold for 43 million dollars in London, sparking a debate in Egypt whether the returned painting was, in fact, a fake.

The museum is named after Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil, a prominent Egyptian politician who purchased the 1915 Nile-side mansion with his French wife. The couple were passionate art collectors.

The museum, inaugurated in 1962, nine years after Khalil’s death, houses a collection of 208 items, among them works by Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, and Rodin.

August 21st, 2010

Posted In: art theft

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August 20th, 2010

Posted In: art theft, Museum thefts, sculpture theft

Aug 19, 2010 9:07 pm US/Eastern
Gold Bar Worth $500K Stolen From Key West Museum
http://cbs4.com/local/gold.bar.theft.2.1869470.html

The bar was in an exhibit that allowed people to hold it without danger of theft, or so museum operators thought.

The insurance company is offering a $10 thousand reward

It was a piece of history worth half-a-million dollars that you could reach out and touch, part of the treasure from the galleon Santa Maria on display at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West. But where the bar used to be is now an empty exhibit. Apparently, someone managed to baffle security and walk off with their own personal treasure.

Wednesday afternoon, at 5:18 p.m., video security cameras recorded two suspects removing the bar from a case that had enabled museum visitors to touch and lift it, while keeping it secure.

Key West police and the FBI are working to identify the suspects who stole the bar, recovered from a wrecked 1622 Spanish galleon off the Florida Keys.

According to Alyson Crean, Key West Police spokeswoman, one suspect is described as a white male, about six feet tall with dark hair and a medium build. The second suspect is about five feet, six inches tall.

The 74.85-ounce bar had been on display at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum for more than 20 years and is worth about $550,000, according to museum officials.

It was recovered from the Santa Margarita shipwreck in 1980 by the late Key West shipwreck salvor Mel Fisher and his crew, while searching for the Margarita and Nuestra Senora de Atocha galleons.

The exhibit was a highlight of the museum tour because of the unique experience of holding gold worth so much, and for the historical value.

The gold bar is one of the most iconic and best known objects in the museum, according to Melissa Kendrick, the museum’s executive director. She said said the museum’s insurance company is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the return of the bar.

Fisher is best known for finding over 40 tons of silver and gold were located including over 100,000 Spanish silver coins known as “Pieces of Eight”, gold coins, Columbian emeralds, silver and gold artifacts and over 1000 silver bars, from the sunken ship Atocha in 1985.

The find eventually totaled almost half a billion dollars.

August 20th, 2010

Posted In: Museum thefts

In de afgelopen 15 jaar publiceerde Unesco een aantal nuttige handboeken voor beveiliging, hanteren collecties en calamiteitenplanning:

– Legal and Practical Measures Against Illicit Trafficking in Cultural Property
– DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT FOR MUSEUMS
– MANAGING DISASTERRISKS for World Heritage
– Running a museum, a practical handbook
– Cultural heritage protection handbook, security at museums
– Cultural heritage protection handbook, care and handeling of manuscript
– Cultural heritage protection handbook, handeling of collections in storage
Voor de geïnteresseerden heb ik die handboeken in een zip file geplaatst op: http://www.museumbeveiliging.com/handboeken.zip
Het bestand is 15MB, dus geef het even tijd om binnen te komen op je computer.

August 20th, 2010

Posted In: Uncategorized

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August 20th, 2010

Posted In: Uncategorized

RFID en objectbeveiliging in musea19/08/2010 – 14:19Op http://groups.google.com/group/museumbeveiliging is gisteren een bericht gepubliceerd over ZOMOFI en RFID objectbeveiliging in musea.De RFID techniek van ZOMOFI maakt gebruik van de 2.4 GHz ISM license-free band. In dat opzicht is deze techniek beter beveiligd tegen tamperen dan de Wavetrend RFID techniek die in enkele Nederlandse musea wordt gebruikt. Die maakt immers gebruik van een overvolle freuentie waar ook garagedeuren en kinderspeelgoed gebruik van maken, namelijk de 433MHZ band. De 868MHZ band is volgens Europese harmonisatie gereserveerd voor beveiligingstoepassingen.
De echte die-hards onder de museumbeveiligers wijs ik voor nadere informatie nog eens op: http://www.museumbeveiliging.com/?p=168 (RFID en Museumbeveiliging: gebakken lucht?).

Bron: Museumbeveiliging, Ton Cremers » Blog Archive » RFID en objectbeveiliging in musea

August 20th, 2010

Posted In: Geen categorie

Tags: ,

Floods threaten Pakistan heritage sites
http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/floods-threaten-pakistan-heritage-sites-20100816-12732.html

August 16, 2010
AFP

Pakistan’s devastating floods are now threatening ancient archeological sites, on top of leaving millions of people dependent on humanitarian aid to survive, an antiquities official said on Monday.

Pakistan has been ravaged by nearly three weeks of monsoon rains. Flooding has affected one-fifth of the country and hit up to 20 million people, destroying crops, infrastructure, towns and villages.

Flood waters in the southern province of Sindh have inundated hundreds of villages and also threaten its cultural heritage.

“There is danger to the 5000-year-old Moenjodaro and Aamri archeological sites,” said Karim Lashari, chief of the provincial antiquities department.

Moenjodaro is on UNESCO’s list of the world heritage sites. Its website says the city was built of unbaked brick in the third millennium BC and provides evidence of an early system of town planning.

Aamri, in the Dadu district of Sindh, has been declared a Pakistani national heritage site.

“Aamri is exposed to greater danger because the river Indus flows along this ancient town. There is also a major canal and any overflow of water there would submerge this town,” he said.

“There is already pressure on its banks and danger is severe.”

Pakistan is facing its worst floods for 80 years. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday visited scenes of the devastation and urged the world to speed up relief efforts.

The United Nations has launched an aid appeal for $US460 million ($A515.0 million), but charities say the response has been sluggish.

August 19th, 2010

Posted In: cultural heritage at risk

Book theft ring busted
http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S1703602.shtml?cat=504

Posted at: 08/18/2010 6:11 PM | Updated at: 08/18/2010 8:13 PM
By: Kayla Anderson, Eyewitness News 4; Taryn Bianchin, KOB.com

Prosecutors tell Eyewitness News 4 they can finally prosecute a theft ring after nearly three years of investigation.

The last of seven suspects was arrested on Tuesday in what investigators say was a theft ring that stole high-priced books from UNM’s medical library, then sold them back to the University Bookstore.

“All of the other defendants have been arrested at some point in time. We opted to wait until the last defendant was arrested until we proceeded,” DA Kari Brandenburg said.

In what she calls a sophisticated scheme, the suspects went as far as removing security tags, markings and even book pages. They even recruited unsuspecting students to help them sell the books back to UNM.

A criminal complaint says the suspects traveled across New Mexico and Texas stealing books, then selling them for profit. As the final suspect appeared in court on Wednesday and soon all of the suspects will be indicted by a grand jury.

“Receiving stolen property, damage to property, racketeering, because this was a scheme of a number of people working together for the sole purpose of engaging in criminal activity. And racketeering is a second degree felony,” Brandenburg said, running down the list of possible charges.

As this case makes its way through the court system, Eyewitness News 4 checked in with UNM police. They say despite the ring getting busted-up, they expect to see another surge in thefts, normally observing an increase around the start of each semester. Police said they arrested another suspect on an unrelated case Tuesday.

“They’re not students. They’re people coming that are coming in from off the street,” said UNM Police Lt. Robert Haarhues.

Authorities estimate the theft ring cost UNM $2,700, but the district attorney says the actual loss spans across five states and totals between $10,000 to $20,000.

August 19th, 2010

Posted In: library theft

Thieves preying on temples, shrines
http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201008180282.html

BY YASUKAZU AKADA THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

2010/08/19

Alarmed at the theft in March of a Buddhist statue created 1,000 years ago that is designated a national important cultural property, the Agency for Cultural Affairs set about finding out how many similar incidents had occurred.

It discovered that at least 105 Buddhist statues, Jizo deities and shrine dogs had been stolen from temples and shrines across the country between fiscal 2007 and 2009.

It was the first such survey by the agency.

Many of the stolen objects are not designated as important cultural properties by the central or local governments.

The agency alerted local boards of education, which are responsible for the protection of cultural properties.

The theft in March was of the Seated Image of Dainichi Buddha, a wooden statue dating from the late Heian Period (794-1185). It was discovered missing from a warehouse at Konyoji temple in Nose, Osaka Prefecture.

Of the 105 missing statues, 20 were stolen in fiscal 2007, 40 in fiscal 2008 and 45 in fiscal 2009, the agency said. By prefecture, Wakayama had the highest number of cases at 20, followed by Shiga Prefecture with 13, Gunma and Shizuoka with 11 each, and 10 respectively in Nara and Kyoto.

Of these, two are designated as national important cultural properties and nine are designated as prefectural or municipal cultural properties.

The remaining 94 are not protected by law or ordinance, the agency said.

The stolen objects included a bronze statue of Nitta Yoshisada, a legendary warrior in the Kamakura Period (1192-1333), in Gunma Prefecture and parts of centuries-old statues of leaders of the Ashikaga Shogunate (1338-1573), in Kyoto Prefecture.

In many instances, such cultural objects are sold to antique dealers, the agency said.

Items that are not designated as having particular cultural merit are likely being stolen by people who need money, said Nara prefectural police officer Kohei Nakaue, who is in charge of crimes against cultural assets.

“These items are often stored at temples and shrines which are unmanned,” he said.

August 19th, 2010

Posted In: religious artifact theft

Wederom: minuscule chips waarmee kunst wereldwijd gevolgd kan worden, maar Andre Selders bakt blijkbaar lucht..

19/08/2010 – 07:40

Oorspronkelijk bericht 25 januari 2010 / update 6 mei 2010 / update 20 augustus 2010

Ik geef het maar op met die meneer Selders. Hij blijkt volgens de statistieken op mijn site een zeer regelmatige bezoeker te zijn – ik voel me vereerd – maar ook nu na acht maanden geeft hij nog steeds geen duidelijkheid over zijn mysterieuze techniek. Zijn geblaat gaat bij mij in het archief onder GEBAKKEN LUCHT.

TC

Oorspronkelijk bericht 25 januari 2010 / update 6 mei 2010

Beste museumbeveiligers,

De trouwe Museumbeveiliging lezers herinneren zich misschien nog de idiote mail die ik al weer ruim drie maanden geleden ontving naar aanleiding van een artikeltje van mij over minuscule chips waarmee gestolen kunst via de GPS gevolgd zou kunnen worden. Voor de mij onbekende Andre Selders was dat artikeltje aanleiding een nogal warrig en aanmatigend bericht te sturen. Naar aanleiding van dat bericht belde ik Selders en ik informeerde de mailing list over dat gesprek (zie hieronder). Kort na mijn bericht van eind januari werd ik opgewonden gebeld door Selders met de mededeling dat ik hem in discrediet zou hebben gebracht bij zijn werkgever. Dat deed ik niet en hoefde ik ook niet te doen, want Selders is daartoe perfect zelf in staat. Aan het einde van dat telefoongesprek – drie maanden geleden – beloofde Selders juridische stappen tegen mij. Blijkbaar bekijkt de man volgegeten en  verveeld hangend op de sofa in zijn doorzonwoning te veel goedkope Amerikaanse soaps.

Hoe het ook zij: de korte termijn waarbinnen hij meer informatie zou kunnen geven over een wonderbaarlijke nieuwe techniek is na ruim drie maanden nog steeds niet verstreken.  Kort is relatief..

De voorbereiding van juridische stappen kost blijkbaar ook een eeuwigheid. Selders lijkt zowel technische als juridische problemen te hebben.

Die minuscule chips waarmee kunstwerken via de GPS opgespoord en gevolgd kunnen worden lijken nog even op zich te laten wachten.

Jammer nou…

Ton Cremers

++++++++++++++++++++

Zie mijn reactie na onderstaand bericht:

—— Doorgestuurd bericht

Van: andre selders <a_selders@ziggo.nl>

Datum: Sun, 24 Jan 2010 16:40:12 +0100

Aan: Ton Cremers <toncremers@museum-security.org>

Onderwerp: uw artikel.

Geachte Heer Cremers,

Wat u Spruijt verwijt geldt ook U zelf en zelfs in meerdere mate. Kennelijk heeft u nog niet/nooit gehoord van BITTE (built-in tracking-tracing equipment) dat wordt ingebouwd in de vezel van een doek, in de aanhechtranden van glas gebruikt voor een vitrine (zoals b.v.voor munt-verzamelingen etc) en waar genoemd tte (tracking-trace-equipment) in de vorm van een spelde-knop vrijwel onzichtbaar is ingebouwd en zelfs met een mri (dit ter vaststelling van o.m. de warmte-uitwisseling van tte met ambient temperature.. lees de delta tussen tte en directe omgeving en wel zoals uitgedrukt in tienden van graden Celsius dan wel Fahrenheit, leidend tot een level -one alert bij verplaatsing) niet is te traceren.

Deze “technologie” is als poc (proof of concept met erkende functionaliteit) door een door mij aangestuurd samenwerkingsverband tussen TNO/HP/EDS op (korte) termijn beschikbaar. Nadere details kan ik U niet verstrekken.

Voor het geval U toch nadere toelichting wenst, ben ik uiteraard bereid een en ander “nader toe te lichten”.

Deze mail stuur ik U vanuit mijn private box.

A.P. Selders-Greveling-Schaep,

TCS Group Aviation-Logistics-Supply Chain

HP/EDS, Startbaan 16

1187 XR Amstelveen

Cell: 06-25-349-823/06-4678-9779

Email: a_selders@ziggo.nl/andre.selders@hp.com

——- Einde doorgestuurd bericht

De heer Selders verwijst in de eerste zin van zijn bericht naar mijn reactie op de bewering van Ruud Spruit, voormalig directeur van het Westfries Museum, dat er minuscule chips bestaan waarmee gestolen kunst via de GPS wereldwijd gevolgd kan worden. Dat voor mij in meerdere mate geldt wat ik Spruit zou verwijten – waarschijnijk bedoelt Selders onkunde over beveiliging – is een fors verwijt. Ik hoopte op argumenten in de mail van Selders. Helaas vind ik die niet want blijkbaar gaat het hier om een techniek die nog onthuld moet worden. Selders verwijt mij dus gebrek aan helderziendheid. Bij dat verwijt buig ik mijn hoofd in nederigheid. Ik geef toe dat ik niet helderziend ben. Helaas helpt Selders mij in zijn warrige mail niet echt op pad. Het wordt helemaal rommelig wanneer hij mij in één adem mededeelt geen “nadere details” te kunnen verstrekken, maar mocht ik “nadere toelichting” wensen dat hij uiteraard (?) bereid is een en ander “nader toe te lichten”. Selders biedt mij hier aan mij iets te geven dat hij niet verstrekken kan.

Dus heb ik gebeld met Selders. In dat gesprek moest ik helaas ervaren dat de bereidheid van Selders “nadere toelichting” te verschaffen ver te zoeken was. Op al mijn vragen kreeg ik te horen – Selders is verzot op het doorspekken van zijn mededelingen met Engelse uitdrukkingen – dat het om ‘classified information’ gaat.

Hoe spoort u gestolen objecten op (= track) en blijft u ze volgen (=trace)?: “classified information”.

Hoe is de elektrische voeding geregeld?: “classified information”.

Dan maar geen technische vragen, maar een vraag naar de functionaliteit: Kunt u aan de hand van uw techniek met onzichtbare / niet te vinden chips op afstand gestolen objecten opsporen en volgen (track and trace)? Je raadt het al: “classified information”.

Ik mocht dus niet weten hoe die wondertechniek van Selders werkt, maar ook niet wat die techniek doet, ondanks alle ‘naders’ uit Selders’ mail.

We moeten in spanning afwachten met welke onthulling Selders tzt komt. Mocht hij via het door hem aangestuurde “samenwerkingsverband tussen TNO/HP/EDS op (korte) termijn” met een techniek komen waarmee kunstvoorwerpen onzichtbaar getagged en op afstand wereldwijd opgespoord en gevolgd kunnen worden, de techniek waar Spruit van droomt, dan voorspel ik Selders een gouden toekomst.

Gezien zijn mail aan mij en de wijze waarop hij mij te woord stond tijdens het telefoongesprek raad ik hem overigens aan de marketing van dat wonderprodukt over te laten aan een professional.

Ton Cremers

August 19th, 2010

Posted In: Geen categorie

Tags: , ,

Op http://groups.google.com/group/museumbeveiliging is gisteren een bericht gepubliceerd over ZOMOFI en RFID objectbeveiliging in musea.De RFID techniek van ZOMOFI maakt gebruik van de 2.4 GHz ISM license-free band. In dat opzicht is deze techniek beter beveiligd tegen tamperen dan de Wavetrend RFID techniek die in enkele Nederlandse musea wordt gebruikt. Die maakt immers gebruik van een overvolle freuentie waar ook garagedeuren en kinderspeelgoed gebruik van maken, namelijk de 433MHZ band. De 868MHZ band is volgens Europese harmonisatie gereserveerd voor beveiligingstoepassingen.
De echte die-hards onder de museumbeveiligers wijs ik voor nadere informatie nog eens op: http://www.museumbeveiliging.com/?p=168 (RFID en Museumbeveiliging: gebakken lucht?).

August 19th, 2010

Posted In: Uncategorized

Oorspronkelijk bericht 25 januari 2010 / update 6 mei 2010 / update 20 augustus 2010
Ik geef het maar op met die meneer Selders. Hij blijkt volgens de statistieken op mijn site een zeer regelmatige bezoeker te zijn – ik voel me vereerd – maar ook nu na acht maanden geeft hij nog steeds geen duidelijkheid over zijn mysterieuze techniek. Zijn geblaat gaat bij mij in het archief onder GEBAKKEN LUCHT.
TC
Oorspronkelijk bericht 25 januari 2010 / update 6 mei 2010
Beste museumbeveiligers,
De trouwe Museumbeveiliging lezers herinneren zich misschien nog de idiote mail die ik al weer ruim drie maanden geleden ontving naar aanleiding van een artikeltje van mij over minuscule chips waarmee gestolen kunst via de GPS gevolgd zou kunnen worden. Voor de mij onbekende Andre Selders was dat artikeltje aanleiding een nogal warrig en aanmatigend bericht te sturen. Naar aanleiding van dat bericht belde ik Selders en ik informeerde de mailing list over dat gesprek (zie hieronder). Kort na mijn bericht van eind januari werd ik opgewonden gebeld door Selders met de mededeling dat ik hem in discrediet zou hebben gebracht bij zijn werkgever. Dat deed ik niet en hoefde ik ook niet te doen, want Selders is daartoe perfect zelf in staat. Aan het einde van dat telefoongesprek – drie maanden geleden – beloofde Selders juridische stappen tegen mij. Blijkbaar bekijkt de man volgegeten en  verveeld hangend op de sofa in zijn doorzonwoning te veel goedkope Amerikaanse soaps.
Hoe het ook zij: de korte termijn waarbinnen hij meer informatie zou kunnen geven over een wonderbaarlijke nieuwe techniek is na ruim drie maanden nog steeds niet verstreken.  Kort is relatief..
De voorbereiding van juridische stappen kost blijkbaar ook een eeuwigheid. Selders lijkt zowel technische als juridische problemen te hebben.
Die minuscule chips waarmee kunstwerken via de GPS opgespoord en gevolgd kunnen worden lijken nog even op zich te laten wachten.
Jammer nou…
Ton Cremers
++++++++++++++++++++
Zie mijn reactie na onderstaand bericht:
—— Doorgestuurd bericht
Van: andre selders <a_selders@ziggo.nl>
Datum: Sun, 24 Jan 2010 16:40:12 +0100
Aan: Ton Cremers <toncremers@museum-security.org>
Onderwerp: uw artikel.
Geachte Heer Cremers,
Wat u Spruijt verwijt geldt ook U zelf en zelfs in meerdere mate. Kennelijk heeft u nog niet/nooit gehoord van BITTE (built-in tracking-tracing equipment) dat wordt ingebouwd in de vezel van een doek, in de aanhechtranden van glas gebruikt voor een vitrine (zoals b.v.voor munt-verzamelingen etc) en waar genoemd tte (tracking-trace-equipment) in de vorm van een spelde-knop vrijwel onzichtbaar is ingebouwd en zelfs met een mri (dit ter vaststelling van o.m. de warmte-uitwisseling van tte met ambient temperature.. lees de delta tussen tte en directe omgeving en wel zoals uitgedrukt in tienden van graden Celsius dan wel Fahrenheit, leidend tot een level -one alert bij verplaatsing) niet is te traceren.
Deze “technologie” is als poc (proof of concept met erkende functionaliteit) door een door mij aangestuurd samenwerkingsverband tussen TNO/HP/EDS op (korte) termijn beschikbaar. Nadere details kan ik U niet verstrekken.
Voor het geval U toch nadere toelichting wenst, ben ik uiteraard bereid een en ander “nader toe te lichten”.
Deze mail stuur ik U vanuit mijn private box.
A.P. Selders-Greveling-Schaep,
TCS Group Aviation-Logistics-Supply Chain
HP/EDS, Startbaan 16
1187 XR Amstelveen
Cell: 06-25-349-823/06-4678-9779
Email: a_selders@ziggo.nl/andre.selders@hp.com
——- Einde doorgestuurd bericht
De heer Selders verwijst in de eerste zin van zijn bericht naar mijn reactie op de bewering van Ruud Spruit, voormalig directeur van het Westfries Museum, dat er minuscule chips bestaan waarmee gestolen kunst via de GPS wereldwijd gevolgd kan worden. Dat voor mij in meerdere mate geldt wat ik Spruit zou verwijten – waarschijnijk bedoelt Selders onkunde over beveiliging – is een fors verwijt. Ik hoopte op argumenten in de mail van Selders. Helaas vind ik die niet want blijkbaar gaat het hier om een techniek die nog onthuld moet worden. Selders verwijt mij dus gebrek aan helderziendheid. Bij dat verwijt buig ik mijn hoofd in nederigheid. Ik geef toe dat ik niet helderziend ben. Helaas helpt Selders mij in zijn warrige mail niet echt op pad. Het wordt helemaal rommelig wanneer hij mij in één adem mededeelt geen “nadere details” te kunnen verstrekken, maar mocht ik “nadere toelichting” wensen dat hij uiteraard (?) bereid is een en ander “nader toe te lichten”. Selders biedt mij hier aan mij iets te geven dat hij niet verstrekken kan.
Dus heb ik gebeld met Selders. In dat gesprek moest ik helaas ervaren dat de bereidheid van Selders “nadere toelichting” te verschaffen ver te zoeken was. Op al mijn vragen kreeg ik te horen – Selders is verzot op het doorspekken van zijn mededelingen met Engelse uitdrukkingen – dat het om ‘classified information’ gaat.
Hoe spoort u gestolen objecten op (= track) en blijft u ze volgen (=trace)?: “classified information”.
Hoe is de elektrische voeding geregeld?: “classified information”.
Dan maar geen technische vragen, maar een vraag naar de functionaliteit: Kunt u aan de hand van uw techniek met onzichtbare / niet te vinden chips op afstand gestolen objecten opsporen en volgen (track and trace)? Je raadt het al: “classified information”.
Ik mocht dus niet weten hoe die wondertechniek van Selders werkt, maar ook niet wat die techniek doet, ondanks alle ‘naders’ uit Selders’ mail.
We moeten in spanning afwachten met welke onthulling Selders tzt komt. Mocht hij via het door hem aangestuurde “samenwerkingsverband tussen TNO/HP/EDS op (korte) termijn” met een techniek komen waarmee kunstvoorwerpen onzichtbaar getagged en op afstand wereldwijd opgespoord en gevolgd kunnen worden, de techniek waar Spruit van droomt, dan voorspel ik Selders een gouden toekomst.
Gezien zijn mail aan mij en de wijze waarop hij mij te woord stond tijdens het telefoongesprek raad ik hem overigens aan de marketing van dat wonderprodukt over te laten aan een professional.
Ton Cremers

August 19th, 2010

Posted In: Uncategorized

‘Archiving art helps verify legitimacy’
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010818story_18-8-2010_pg12_6

By Sohail Raza Khattak

KARACHI: In Pakistan verifying the authenticity of the art work is a big problem due to the absence of a tracking and archiving system in the art galleries, museums and any other places where paintings, miniatures and sculptures are sold.

University of Sindh Institute of Art and Design Lecturer Waheeda Baloch said this during her speech on ‘Curating Art with Law and Management Issues’ at the VM Art Gallery.

Baloch said in Pakistan most of the artists do not have any idea where their paintings are being sold and how many. Neither the artist nor the art galleries keep track of whom the paintings were sold to and where the work is being kept. “They just put the money in their pockets and forget about the rest,” she said.

If the art galleries keep a record of the paintings, miniatures and sculptures that they sell, it will be possible to find a particular piece of art if needed, even after 20 years, she said, adding, “It will also help us in knowing the legitimacy of the art work. We don’t have any equipment to verify the authenticity of paintings, for example we cannot find whether a particular painting is the real art piece by Sadeqauin or just a copy of it.”

Talking about the concept of copyright in the field of art, she profoundly elaborated the various types of copyrights and status in different countries, and compared it with Pakistan. “Here most of the artists are ignorant of their rights and the publishers exploit them. When a painting is sold to somebody they consider that the artist has sold them the economic rights of the painting, so they start reproducing thousands of copies to make money.”

She said there are moral rights that an artist can exercise to forbid his paintings from being exhibited in such a place where he considers his work may be used to defame him.

Baloch said that ideas, methods and even styles do not fall within the jurisdiction of copyright laws. One can follow anyone’s style and work on the methods of someone else, but ideas and concepts are unique and also can only be recorded verbally, therefore, to avoid theft artists must keep the ideas to them.

Shedding light on the contract signed between the artist and the curator, she focused on the establishment of an artists’ organisation, the role of which would be to protect rights, give suggestions to the artist regarding contracts, monitor infringements and settle cases between two parties.

While criticising the role of artists in the country, she said, “Most of the artists in our country make copies of their own paintings or sculptures on requests made by people, which I think is not a good practice.”

She condemned those artists who write their names on the paintings made by their students or other junior artists, and said, “Ethically it is wrong not to give credit to the true owner of the work.”

Talking about framers, she disclosed that many of them make their workers prepare exact replicas of works by renowned artists and sell the items for up to Rs 50,000, while they only pay the workers Rs 10,000. “Despite all these there is a big difference between skills and creativity. These workers, although not trained at any institute, copy things perfectly but they can’t create new things,” she concluded.

August 18th, 2010

Posted In: advice and tips

Vienna Psychotherapist Tackles Nazi-Era Art Claims at Museum
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-17/vienna-psychotherapist-tackles-nazi-era-claims-at-museum-founded-by-father.html

By Catherine Hickley – Aug 17, 2010 7:00 PM ET Tue Aug 17 23:00:01 GMT 2010

“Portrait of Wally” (1912) by Egon Schiele. The Leopold Museum in Vienna paid $19 million in a settlement, ending a decades-long dispute between the museum and the heirs of Jewish art dealer, Lea Bondi Jaray. Source: Leopold Museum via Bloomberg

Diethard Leopold, a Viennese psychotherapist and son of Rudolf Leopold, founder of the Leopold Museum. Leopold says he aims to settle all outstanding Nazi-era claims for art in the museum’s collection within a year. Photographer: Ian Ehm/Leopold Museum via Bloomberg

Diethard Leopold, a Viennese psychotherapist whose father founded the Leopold Museum, is aiming to settle all outstanding Nazi-era claims for art in its collection within a year.

Leopold, who is 54, was appointed to the board of the museum’s foundation by his father in June, days before Rudolf Leopold’s death. In July, the museum agreed to pay $19 million to the heirs of the Jewish art dealer Lea Bondi Jaray to settle a decades-long dispute over Egon Schiele’s portrait of his lover Wally, stolen by the Nazis in the 1930s.

“The museum is striving to solve these problems in a speedy, effective, comprehensive and, most of all, amicable manner,” Leopold said over coffee in the museum cafe yesterday. “I do feel that more weight should have been put behind these efforts in the past. A solution within the coming year is a realistic option. I don’t think it should take longer.”

The Leopold Museum owns 44 Schiele paintings and 180 works on paper, the biggest collection of the artist worldwide. During Rudolf Leopold’s lifetime — he died on June 29 at the age of 85 — the museum argued that as a private foundation, it was not subject to Austria’s restitution law, which only applies to federal government museums. It is planning to sell some of the Schiele works on paper to pay for the “Wally” purchase.

Its failure to resolve claims by Nazi victims and their heirs led to protests by groups such as the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien, which hung posters and stuck tape around the museum declaring it an “art crime scene” in 2008.

Reputation ‘Damaged’

“The last 10 years have damaged the reputation of the museum,” said the bespectacled Leopold, who has bushy eyebrows and wears an open-necked shirt and suit. “Under Austrian law, the Leopold Museum is unambiguously the owner of these works. But I do not believe that we should insist on our legal prerogative and say that is the end of the story.

“We are very much aware that not all of the crimes that were committed in the Nazi era have been addressed so far,” Leopold said. “We are also aware that in those cases where it is in our power to set the record straight, speedy and effective solutions are required. In principle we now want to speak to the heirs directly — I think that is the most effective way.”

Leopold said he has grasped the initiative himself, approaching the heirs. An Austrian government panel found that three paintings in the museum’s collection by Anton Romako should be returned to the heir of Oskar Reichel, one of Vienna’s most important prewar collectors.

Talks With Heiress

“There is an heiress, a private person who lives in Vienna,” Leopold said. “I wrote to her and she phoned back and we met up. I just didn’t want to wait any longer. The contact was positive. I am optimistic we will come to a solution soon.”

One of the most high-profile outstanding restitution cases involves Schiele’s “Houses by the Sea,” which belonged to Jenny Steiner, whose art collection was seized by the Gestapo. Leopold said he has proposed selling the painting at auction and dividing the revenue according to an agreed percentage between the heirs and the museum.

“Or we can restitute it and simultaneously buy it back for a proportion of the value that is agreed upon beforehand,” Leopold said. “I am more in favor of the second solution as we then know the painting would stay on public view. It will be difficult to unite the heirs in a common approach.”

Wally’s Return

“Wally” returns to Vienna at the end of this week and the Leopold Museum will stage a special exhibition focusing on the history of Schiele and his muse, who volunteered as a nurse in World War I and died in Croatia. The painting will be displayed with a notice explaining its provenance, a text agreed by the museum and the heirs.

Leopold said he’s confident that “Wally” is worth the $19 million the museum will pay. The foundation’s sale of works to pay for it will probably be at an international auction in the next three years, Leopold said. Rudolf Leopold drew up a list of the works that could be sold before his death.

“The price was certainly a bit higher because my father absolutely wanted the painting back,” he said. “But there are many times over the years when everyone said my father paid too much for an artwork and that he was crazy, then 10 years later, they say it was cheap. This could happen with ‘Wally’ too.”

Provenance Research

Leopold estimates that only about 1 percent of the museum’s artworks come from Jewish prewar collections, so not more than 50 works. He aims to complete provenance research on those paintings by the end of the year.

“It has taken a long time to do the work so far,” he said. “If we put it on track now, we can do it.”

Once the claims are resolved, Leopold said he wants to hold an exhibition about Viennese prewar collections, examining the fate of their owners and the artworks.

The psychologist wrote a book about his father’s passion for collecting that was published in 2008. He laughed when asked whether he has a similar obsession.

“My obsession is in another area — I do Japanese archery,” he said. “It is an art, very subtle and existential. It gives me the strength and balance to deal with this sensitive and thorny business.”

(Catherine Hickley writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are her own.)

August 18th, 2010

Posted In: restitution

Monday, Aug. 16, 2010

Artifact transfer may cause friction
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100816x2.html

Ownership question could keep in Japan some Korean items seized during colonial rule

Kyodo News
Despite Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s promise last week to give back artifacts to South Korea taken from the Korean Peninsula during Japan’s colonial rule, major differences on the matter between the two countries could lead to a new diplomatic flash point, experts say.

In Kan’s statement Aug. 10 apologizing for Japan’s 1910 annexation of Korea, he promised to “transfer” archives “that were brought to Japan during the period of Japan’s rule through the Japanese colonial government of Korea” and are still in the hands of the government.

Based on the statement, released ahead of the Aug. 29 centennial of the start of Japan’s colonial rule, the central government has begun arrangements for such a transfer, including identifying relevant artifacts and drafting a treaty governing the matter, sources said.

The archives to be handed over will include the Royal Protocols of the Joseon Dynasty, but they are likely to be a “small portion” of the vast artifacts kept in Japan, one source said.

That is because Tokyo takes the position that Seoul’s right to claim them disappeared with the conclusion of an agreement in 1965 along with that of the Treaty on Basic Relations that normalized relations between the two countries.

In South Korea, people generally view such artifacts as having been stolen by Japan and calls are mounting for most items to be returned, the experts said.

There is a gap in perception between Seoul and Tokyo, which views the proposed handover as a “goodwill” gesture, according to the sources.

Tokyo plans to look into archives at the Imperial Household Agency and other facilities, including the Tokyo National Museum, according to other sources.

In his statement, Kan attached the additional condition that the archives to be handed over must be in possession of the Japanese government. This was because “privately held cultural artifacts, which amount to an enormous number, would otherwise be subject to the handover,” a senior Foreign Ministry official said.

The Royal Protocols of the Joseon Dynasty, or the Joseon Wangsil Uigwe, are stored at the Imperial Household Agency and consist of 167 volumes. Of those, 163 were moved from the colonial government to the agency’s forerunner during the Taisho Era (1912-1926), and the remaining four volumes were purchased from the private sector.

South Korea’s National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage says at least 61,000 cultural items were moved to Japan after the 1910 annexation.

If mishandled, the matter could set off criticism from South Korea that Japan is not being sincerely remorseful despite Kan’s expression of “deep remorse” and “heartfelt apology” in the statement, observers say.

On the other hand, voices could arise within Japan that the government is conceding too much if Japan decides to hand over more artifacts to South Korea than people here consider appropriate, they say.

Japan and South Korea confirmed in the mid-1960s that in exchange for Tokyo’s provision to Seoul of $300 million in grants and $200 million in loans, problems concerning property, rights, interests and claims between the two countries were settled “completely and finally.”

Praise from S. Korea
SEOUL (Kyodo) South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung Hwan wrote in an opinion piece published Monday in the Korea Herald that Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s apology last week for Japan’s annexation of Korea was “timely and appropriate.”

Yu said Kan’s statement marking the annexation’s 100th anniversary is “highly meaningful as the first ever Japanese prime minister’s statement specifically addressed only to (South) Korea.”

August 17th, 2010

Posted In: restitution

Published: Sunday, August 15, 2010
Vandal also stole part of family’s heart
http://heraldnet.com/article/20100815/NEWS01/708159915

Someone took the steel salmon from a sculpture to memorialize Peter Skerratt, who died in November 2007.

By Alejandro Dominguez
Herald Writer

SNOHOMISH — Peter Skerratt died in a freak accident by falling from his bicycle on a slippery Sixth Street Bridge the night of Nov. 22, 2007.

Frank Gosser built a memorial for his friend near the Pilchuck River where he and Skerratt used to go fishing as kids.

Now the memorial has been vandalized.

The memorial, a stainless steel sculpture bolted to a 2-ton boulder, had a metal salmon welded on top. This past Thursday Skerratt’s mother, Beverly Skerratt, 72, was bringing flowers to the site when she discovered that the salmon was stolen.

“This is not only devastating to my family, but to anyone who loved my son,” she said. “He would do anything to help you.”

She has brought flowers at least once a month for the past three years.

The silver salmon is about 4 feet long. It has “Peter M.S.” and the dates of Skerratt’s birthday — “5-5-63” — and his death — “11-22-07” — on the fish’s body.

“It’s like they have taken him from us all over again,” said Carol Sprague, 52, Skerratt’s sister.

Sprague said the monument helps bring comfort to her mother and the family.

The family said the memorial was complete when they visited three weeks ago.

The family has not filed a police report because they are hopeful that someone will return the missing fish.

“Our goal is to have it restored. No questions asked,” Sprague said. “They did not only take a piece of metal, they took something from my family.”

The family suspects that someone outside the community did the act. In the past they have seen coins being put on the cross by Skerratt’s friends, who say they still miss him.

“I just want to think it was done out of a stupid act and not for malice,” Sprague said. “I want to believe that.”

Skerratt wrote a poem as a message to the individual who has the fish:

“You took a memorial for scrap.

“IT’S NOT SCRAP!”

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@heraldnet.com.

August 16th, 2010

Posted In: sculpture theft

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August 16th, 2010

Posted In: law enforcement and investigation

Tale of Ansel Adams negatives grows hazy
http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_15787059?nclick_check=1

Posted: 08/15/2010 09:05:14 AM PDT
Updated: 08/15/2010 09:05:15 AM PDT

SAN FRANCISCO — It was a dream come true, straight out of “Antiques Roadshow.” In 2000 Rick Norsigian, a painter in a school maintenance department, bought a box of photo negatives at a garage sale in Fresno for $45. Last month, a decade later, he stood in a Beverly Hills art gallery to announce that a team of experts had concluded “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Ansel Adams had taken the pictures.

The gallery’s owner, David Streets, appraised the value of the 65 images, which experts called “the lost negatives,” at $200 million, and the incident made international news.

But a fairy-tale ending is eluding Norsigian. A day after the announcement, Matthew Adams, a grandson of the photographer, disputed the finding, questioned the credentials of the experts and went so far as to call the whole business a “scam.”

The story made the evening news in the Bay Area. Watching TV in her den in Oakland was Marian Walton, a former secretary and grandmother of four whose family hailed from the Fresno and Visalia area. She saw Norsigian’s picture of the Jeffrey pine on Yosemite’s Sentinel Dome flash on her screen. “Oh my gosh,” Walton thought to herself. “That’s Uncle Earl’s picture!” She didn’t even have to get out of her chair to make the comparison — it was hanging on the bathroom wall, in clear view from where she sat, she said in a recent interview.

Walton called the TV station, KTVU, and the next day, after her weekly tennis game, she got a visit from a reporter and Scott Nichols, owner of a San Francisco photo gallery that did a considerable business in Ansel Adams prints. Nichols took the Jeffrey pine picture and three other Yosemite shots from Uncle Earl Brooks that Walton had kept in a drawer.
KTVU did a story on Walton’s picture, with Nichols saying there was only a minute difference between it and the one on Norisigian’s website, which the Fresno school district employee had posted as one of 17 images he’d begun selling for $7,500 for a hand-made print, $1,500 for a digital one and $45 for a poster.

Nichols told The Los Angeles Times last week that the slight differences in the tree’s shadow and the clouds behind it were probably caused by a short time lapse between the taking of each picture. Everything else — the focus, brightness and angle, were the same. It was the best evidence yet, he said, of what he and other dealers, as well as Adams’ family and professional circle of former assistants already had concluded: that Norsigian’s negatives had been shot by somebody other than America’s greatest nature photographer.

And now, in the latest complication, court records reveal that Streets, who set the value for the negatives and is handling the related sales, is a felon with a criminal record for petty theft and fraud in Louisiana and Kentucky. Although he says on his website, davidstreetsbeverlyhills.com, that he has 25 years of fine-art appraisal experience, two of Streets’ former employers say his true talent is in the embellishment of his credentials.

Doris Allen, who owns the Bryant Galleries in New Orleans, says that although Streets, 45, can be “very charming,” he had said he had no appraisal experience when she hired him at her business in 2000. Now she is amazed to see him occupy an influential role in a national art debate.

“How can he get up there and claim that those negatives are worth $200 million?” she said. “That is absurd.”

The discussion of just who took the pictures is far from over, and Norsigian’s lawyer, Arnold Peter, said Streets’ past has little bearing on that question. But in a subjective field where credibility and expertise matter, it cannot help Norsigian that Streets’ resume appears to be tarnished.

For his part, Streets initially denied in an interview that he was the same David Streets who was convicted of passing bad checks, fraud and petty theft over a seven-year period that ended in 1998 when he was in his early 30s. But he later sent an e-mail in which he cited his extensive civic involvement in recent years, described the incidents as old and attributed them to “untreated manic-depression” that he began to experience after his mother “committed suicide when I was 15, and my father died the following year.”

“I took complete responsibility and learned from that experience,” he said.

• n n
The art debate has its roots in Norsigian’s purchase of the box of negatives, a rummage-sale find that took on a new light when he later noticed in an Adams biography that certain features of the purchased plate-glass negatives, which depict California landscape scenes from Carmel, Yosemite and around San Francisco, seemed to match events in Adams’ life. In particular, the plates showed evidence of fire damage, and in 1937 Adams lost negatives to a darkroom fire.

“The size, the fire damage, the locations and different stuff like that,” Norsigian said. “I kept researching little pieces at a time.”

He took his discovery to members of the Adams family, who disputed his claims. Adams had been notoriously protective of his negatives, locking them in a bank vault when he lived in San Francisco. Would he misplace a box of negatives?

“Ansel would never have done something like that,” said William Turnage, managing trustee of the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust, which owns the rights to Adams’ name and work.

But in 2007 Norsigian and Peter, his lawyer, set about organizing an authentication team that included a former FBI agent, a former U.S. attorney, two handwriting experts, a meteorologist (to track cloud patterns in the images), a landscape photographer and a former curator of European decorative arts and sculpture for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

They concluded the prints were of the sort made by Adams as a young photographer in the 1920s.

Peter said he decided to market the materials through Streets, whom he did not know but whose work as a dealer he was aware of. Streets, who moved to California from New Orleans in 2005, bills himself as “Los Angeles’ leading appraiser of all genres of fine art and celebrity memorabilia.”

Peter said it was Streets who came up with the

$200 million figure the night before their July 27 news conference.

“The $200 million represents several sources of revenue over an extended period of time — reprints, licensing, eventual sale of the negatives,” Peter said.

But even a member of Norsigian’s authentication team has expressed doubts about the estimate. Patrick Alt, a photographer, said that he believed that Adams did create the negatives but that he found Streets’ appraisal estimate “outrageous.”

It certainly will be difficult to support that value if the photos were taken by Brooks, Walton’s uncle, now deceased, who dabbled in photography. Walton, 87, said, “I about fell off my sofa” when she saw Norsigian’s announcement on television. The image on the screen looked exactly like a photo by her uncle that she had hung on her bathroom wall: a picture of the leaning Jeffrey pine in Yosemite that she had inherited from her father in 1981.

• n n
Two former Adams assistants, John Sexton and Alan Ross, have since agreed with her, saying tell-tale shadows and dust spots indicated that the two Yosemite pictures, Norsigian’s and Walton’s, were taken at the same time with the same camera.

Nothing about that development has dissuaded the Norsigian team from moving forward with sales, staged out of Streets’ gallery.

Streets has become something of a fixture in some Beverly Hills circles. Last May the mayor there, Jimmy Delshad, read a proclamation at a party Streets held on the anniversary of his gallery’s opening. But the mayor’s office later said he did not declare it “David W. Streets Day,” as it says on Streets’ website. Streets held a similarly high profile in New Orleans, even after his criminal convictions, for which he received probation and was, in one case, required to pay $19,000 restitution.

Allen said she did not know when she hired him that he had a criminal record, including a charge for pocketing a $600 deposit that a woman had made toward a couch at a furniture store where he had worked.

Allen, though, said she and her husband had a dispute with Streets and demoted him in 2004, after which he left and ended up working for at least one other gallery in New Orleans. She characterized his director’s position as primarily a sales job.

The continuing dispute has not shut down the sale of prints, which Norsigian has priced from $1,500 to $7,500; posters are going for $45. Peter declined to say how many have been sold or what percentage Streets is receiving as the dealer.

Copyright claims may well be brought by the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust.

A solid outcome from the haze of the dispute has been the discovery of a new photographic star. In November, Nichols will be hosting a show of work by Adams and his assistants, and he has decided to include photos by Brooks too.

“Uncle Earl is a damned good photographer,” Nichols said, “There’s no doubt about it.”

The Los Angeles Times contributed to this story.

August 16th, 2010

Posted In: fakes and forgeries

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August 16th, 2010

Posted In: law enforcement and investigation

This is a question that may surprise many and indeed many may consider it wiser to leave unanswered rather than hazard untenable answers.  Michael Kaput has some views on this issue which he expresses in an article entitled, “Whose Heritage? Repatriating ancient treasures seems like a noble cause, but history might end up the loser.” The article has been reproduced in Elginism, a leading website devoted to the question of restitution, especially, the restitution of the Parthenon/Elgin Marbles. Kaput does not give us any definition of history. If we take history as record of events and developments within a time framework, it becomes difficult to see why  the return of the bust of Nefertiti from Berlin to Cairo should be a loss to history. Did history suffer when the Egyptian queen was moved from Egypt to Germany? Or does history only suffer when artefacts are returned from their present locations in the West to their countries of origin?

read full text plus images at:

http://www.museum-security.org/kwame_opoku_does_history_suffer.htm

August 15th, 2010

Posted In: Dr. Kwame Opoku writings about looted cultural objects

Gardeners to guard museum?
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata-/Gardeners-to-guard-museum/articleshow/6309033.cms

Caesar Mandal, TNN, Aug 14, 2010, 06.28am IST

KOLKATA: Are sweepers, gardeners and contract labourers guarding the priceless artifacts in Indian Museum? Shocking but true, say some officials of the country’s oldest museum. What’s more, security gadgets at the heritage institution are either defunct or under-utilised and just about anyone can enter without a security check.

It seems the authorities have learnt little from the theft of a Buddha bust in December 2004. Apparently someone simply lifted the glass case and walked out with the Sarnath antique during visiting hours. The CBI still has a Rs 1 lakh reward for the recovery of this bust.

Officially, Indian Museum has a three-tier security system. The museum’s own security staff are in charge of the inner circle galleries, exhibits and the main building. The outer circle which includes the premises, and entry and exit points are managed by a private security agency. Kolkata Police is in charge of peripheral security.

Some years ago, 73 ex-servicemen were recruited along with nine inspector-ranked officers for the inner security in accordance with central government norms. Their number has dwindled to 42 in 15 years or so. The vacancies were never filled up.

The museum authorities have made up for the deficit with one gardener, eight sweepers and 12 labourers hired from a private agency with expertise in handling waste, an official admitted. They have no training to handle security gadgets and are even less informed about their duty.

The equipment, too, is not quite to the mark. Soon after the Buddha bust thief, 47 walkie talkies were bought to ensure close contact between security staff. But a major scam was detected soon after the purchase. Some officials had allegedly bought the gadgets at inflated prices. The case is now under CBI investigation.

And what about the walkie talkies? Security personnel admit that only six are in use and they have no idea about the rest. Two of the three door-frame metal detectors were found defunct, said an official.

The biggest oversight, perhaps, has been the under utilisation of CCTVs in each gallery. Strangely, the hidden eyes work only during working hours. “A government agency has been assigned to monitor the CCTV footage but its personnel work only during the day. Beyond working hours, the cameras remain shut,” said an employee of the museum. If a theft occurs at night, there will be no video footage of the crime.

That’s not the only after-hours security lapse. The museum’s second gate on Sudder Street is left open 24 hours. ” Group D staff and their families, who have their quarters inside the premises, freely use the Sudder Street entrance. There are no identity cards for them so outsiders can enter with ease,” alleged Saibal Chakraborty, secretary of Joint Platform Action, an employees’ union at Indian Museum. “We have repeatedly informed the chief security officer about the lapses, but he remains indifferent,” Chakraborty complained.

Museum director Dr K K Basa does not deny that there are problems. “We have reviewed the security system and decided to hand it to CISF. They will take charge very soon,” said Basa. He also admitted to the problem of outsiders entering the museum. “We have planned an alternate entrance for the employees to segregate the quarters from the premises. We have finalised the plan for updating internal security and it will be implemented soon,” said Basa.

Read more: Gardeners to guard museum? – Kolkata – City – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata-/Gardeners-to-guard-museum/articleshow/6309033.cms#ixzz0wcGccxKI

August 14th, 2010

Posted In: museum security

08/14/10
Iranian Cultural Heritage on Sale in Kish Under Pretense of Combating Smugglers
http://www.payvand.com/news/10/aug/1138.html
By Hamid Ahadi, Rooz Online

Sale of History by Ahmadinejad’s Office

The publication of a report in Hamshahri Mah about plans by the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization to organize a sale of the country’s historical artifacts revealed another behind-the-scenes effort by Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, to engage in activities outside the supervision of the Majlis and the State Audit Organization.

In her piece in Hamshahri Mah, reporter Sahar Bayani was astonished to find that some were planning to put Iran’s historic artifacts on sale on the Kish island. What added to the astonishment was the confirmation of the report by Omolbanin Nemat Gorgapni, head of the Cultural Heritage Organization’s division on museums and cultural artifacts. Having recently failed in its bid to bring under its control the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization – under pressure from high-ranking clerics – the Cultural Heritage Organization now plans to put on sale historic artifacts, which are held in extremely poor conditions in Iran.

This government official also announced a meeting with a representative from the Kish Free Zone Organization to work out the details of the plan. Like all other plans, the plan is said to have been proposed as a means of combating illegal smuggling in artifacts.

Hamshahri Mah Magazine

An archeologist, who wished to remain anonymous, told Hamshahri Mah, “This is the best time to organize such a sale, because the Archeological Research Center has suddenly and without prior plans been moved away from Tehran, and many archeologists and researchers at the center are considering retirement. No one is left now to protest the decision.”

This archeologist adds, “The Cultural Heritage Organization has recently posted many new and unscientific decisions to its performance chart. This organization not only has failed to support Iran’s cultural heritage, but is actually performing the opposite of its prescribed duties.”

Another archeologist, Dr. Hekmatollah Mollasalehi says, “This is an extremely dangerous plan. I think it is better to use the term catastrophe to describe it.”

This archeologist laments, “When an ineffective leadership, which has no understanding of Iran’s culture and heritage, takes charge of the organization, what do we except other than today’s irreversible catastrophes?”

According to experts, the Constitution makes illegal any sale any unauthorized excavation or purchase or sale of historic artifacts. There is no indication that lawmakers in the Majlis have passed a bill authorizing the government’s plan. The existing customs law forbids the transfer of such artifacts outside Iran.

Meanwhile, other questions remain unanswered: Why has the Kish Free Zone, which is inappropriate according to archeologists for housing historic artifacts, been selected as the venue of this sale? Would these artifacts not be damaged by the humid weather in Kish?

… Payvand News – 08/14/10 … —

August 14th, 2010

Posted In: looting and illegal art traffickers

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August 14th, 2010

Posted In: Uncategorized