You are currently browsing the daily archive for 03/12/2012.

As from today it’s illegal to sell metal to scrapyards for cash. It’s all part of the fight against metal theft. Good. The only exceptions (and only for a while) are sales by rag and bone men.

Actually, no. The other exceptions are sales by antiquities dealers and posh auction houses (yes, they are effectively dealers in potentially stolen metal aren’t they!)

So how come action isn’t taken to reveal the names of people that sell to or through them? Too snooty? Is trading in metal, a proportion of which is later shown to be stolen, OK if you wear a tie?

Coincidentally, a New York judge has just ruled that the General Obligations Law (which dates back to the law in medieval England) allows an aggrieved purchaser to refuse to pay for antiquities bought at an auction if the name of the seller isn’t listed. According to the Antiques Trade Gazette the implications are far reaching as it might mean “auction houses will no longer be able to keep the names of consigners secret.”

Christies are seeking to have the ruling overturned. One doesn’t wonder why. Many floggers of British dug-up antiquities will be anxiously supporting them. One knows exactly why! Soon, not even rag and bone men will be able to hide their names. How can it be right that one large group who are systematically digging up and/or flogging Britain’s heritage for grubby personal gain are the only group that are allowed to stay anonymous? (Hey PAS, how come you help them by keeping the names of finders hidden? Whose side are you on?

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More Heritage Action views on metal detecting and artefact collecting

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