A Danish collector objects to my tone when I provided him with copies of my correspondence with about a former 'owner' of an artefact he'd carelessly bought:
> I do not appreciate your sarcastic way of communicating to me. If we shall have some kind of communication you have to change your style. <
Since the 1970 Convention, it has been very clear to everyone [Denmark since March 2003] what is and what is not a licit artefact both to sell and to buy, and that relies on documentation. Any collector who chooses to ignore that and replace that with other arguments really should not be surprised to receive criticism. I provided you with information you clearly had not bothered to obtain yourself. I do not feel that it is I who should be criticised here. I haqve not allowed myself to become the current owner of this controversial item.
You indicate that your “due diligence” in buying it (and the others) went no further than your “feelings” (http://paul-barford.blogspot.com/2016/09/you-got-to-get-that-feeling-allegedly.html). You wrote:“I can hardly believe that an intelligent person like Geoffrey Metz has obtained anything illegally in his collection bearing in mind he is an egyptologist, and that he sells his collection it in a public auction”.
You can “believe” what you like, but that is a subjective judgement, not objective documentation. I know nothing about the man’s “intelligence”, we know he bought that shabti from Portabello Road (a London street market - http://general-southerner.blogspot.com/2013/06/notting-hill-and-portobello-road.html ) and the Museum he worked briefly for now refuses to vouch for him, and since they have been made aware of his involvement in this sale has now removed his name from their website.
Nobody MADE you buy this object, you yourself took the risk of buying an artefact taken from the Valley of Kings which can only be traced (and that, by hearsay) to a London street market in 1992 (well after Egypt’s antiquities laws of 1983). The best you can do to support your belief that you did not buy a looted and smuggled artefact is to say it was “bought from an Egyptologist”. It could have been bought from the chief of Egyptian tourist police and still be an illicit artefact.
And you propose selling it on to somebody else and can offer them no other assurance or documentation other than that – passing the problem onto them. But as collectors become more responsible and the standards they set more rigorous, at some stage somebody is going to be left with an unsaleable paperless artefact on their hands. Pray that it is not you.