'The Head of a Young Boy Crowned with Laurel', c.1500-05, by Lorenzo di Credi (c.1457-1537), is one of the $100m Getty Museum purchases.

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Getty’s $100m Old Master purchase

Los Angeles’ J Paul Getty Museum has bought 16 Old Master drawings and an 18th century painting in its largest- ever purchase by value.

The drawings by artists including Michelangelo and Parmigianino were reportedly bought from the collection of 62-year-old businessman and collector, Luca Padulli, who acquired works at auction over the last 17 years through Old Master dealer Jean-Luc Baroni.

The single painting was La Surprise by Jean Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), which sold at Christie’s in London in 2008 for a premium-inclusive £12.4m.

The total price of the Getty purchase was reported at over $100m. However, the museum would only confirm that it is the biggest in “terms of financial value”.

Whale’s tooth sets scrimshaw ‘record’


The scrimshaw whale’s tooth by Edward Burdett that sold for $380,000 (£290,080) at Eldred’s – believed to be a record.

A scrimshaw whale’s tooth by Edward Burdett was sold for $380,000 (£290,080) at Massachusetts saleroom Eldred’s on July 20.

The tooth was estimated at $160,000-210,000 and knocked down to a private collector in the room. Eldred’s believes this to be an auction record for a piece of scrimshaw, beating a tooth by the ‘Pagoda/Albatross’ artist that sold for a premium-inclusive $324,000 at Northeast Auctions in August 2012.

Stockspring shop shuts after 38 years

English and Continental ceramics specialist Stockspring Antiques has closed its shop to focus on advisory work.

After 38 years of dealing, Felicity Marno and Antonia Agnew have sold the Kensington Church Street premises, a popular and familiar haunt for many ceramics enthusiasts and the location where they have traded since 1987.

They will no longer run a shop or hold stock but will act in an advisory capacity to clients as Stockspring Ceramics Consultants.

Arrests in Israel over antiquities

Five antiquities dealers were arrested by Israeli police in Jerusalem last week in connection with items that were illegally imported into the US by the arts-and-crafts retailer Hobby Lobby.

Objects seized in raids on their premises in the east of the city included sculptures, pottery, figurines, coins and papyrus fragments, as well as a large amount of cash. Israeli police said the dealers are suspected of producing false receipts and invoices for antiquities sold to the owner of Hobby Lobby and also of tax evasion.

The Cadbury’s egg worth a £17,200 bid


Cadbury’s Conundrum golden egg sold by Batemans for £17,200, the saleroom’s second-highest-ever result.

Batemans of Stamford sold a Cadbury’s ‘Conundrum’ egg for £17,200 in an auction last month. In the 1980s, the Cadbury’s Conundrum competition was a popular treasure hunt with 22-carat golden eggs made by the Queen’s jeweller, Garrards, as the prize.

Twelve caskets were buried across the UK with the finders able to claim an egg. The 13th example was awarded to a Cadbury’s retailer after a prize draw and it was this egg that was offered at Batemans with a £10,000-15,000 estimate.

Pallant fundraises to buy Wood picture


Pallant House Gallery is fundraising to buy Christopher Wood’s China Dogs in a St Ives Window.

Pallant House Gallery has a deadline of September 15 to raise £15,000 to keep Christopher Wood’s China Dogs in a St Ives Window (1926) in its Chichester home.

It has been on loan from a private collection since 2009 and the gallery has raised £200,000 so far.

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Art Business conference line-up

This year’s Art Business Conference on September 6 in London will feature, among other topics, Brexit’s opportunities, the evolving gallery model, tips on dealing with overseas markets and changes to data protection rules.

Antiques Trade Gazette is the event’s media partner, with ATG editor Noelle McElhatton hosting a session on the best practice use of social media to manage dealer and auctioneer reputations.

The discussion, featuring Timothy Medhurst of Duke’s Auctioneers, Michael Patrick, a partner in Farrer & Co’s reputation management practice and Freya Simms of PR and marketing firm Golden Squared Consulting, will include guidance on where the legal ownership of social media contacts lies.

In Numbers


The appreciation in the 2017 hammer price – £560,000 – for a Dante Gabriel Rossetti watercolour, Lady Lilith, from when it last sold in 1988.