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Some of the Anglo- Saxon beads that were stolen from a Canterbury Archaeological Trust store.

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Anglo-Saxon relics stolen from store

The Canterbury Archaeology Trust is appealing for help to find the 850 Anglo-Saxon glass beads, multiple coins, metal artefacts and bone objects that have been stolen in a series of thefts from a storeroom in Kent.

Break-ins occurred on three separate occasions over the first week of this month when thieves ransacked its educational loans collection, tampering with 90% of the 200 boxes.

The thieves damaged the warehouse, smashed through a wall and cut through electricity and water piping.

More than £1000 has been raised online so far for the trust to pay for repairs.

‘Depressing’ state of museum sell-offs

Museums in the UK have been increasingly selling off their collections and have been unable to buy new works of art due to funding issues, a report has revealed.

The new report, called Why Collect? was commissioned by Art Fund and the Wolfson Foundation, and is by historian Sir David Cannadine. It highlights the ever-widening gap between the prices of works on the international art market and the limited funds available to UK museums and galleries.

He describes the situation as a “deeply depressing picture” and calls for increased investment in museums.

Public spending on museums has decreased by 13% in real terms over the last decade.

The report found museums selling (deaccessioning) items in the past five years had increased and 57% of organisations disposed of items in 2017, up from 34% documented in research from 2006.

The number of organisations that disposed of more than 100 objects doubled from 12% to 22% in 2017.

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Hong Kong ivory crackdown looms

Hong Kong’s bill for a stricter ban on ivory will be enacted this year but exemptions for antique objects remain.

The trade in ivory will be phased out over the next three and a half years as ivory possession licences expire under Hong Kong’s Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Bill.

A document from the Legislative Council said that from December 31, 2021, “possession for commercial purposes of all elephant ivory (save for antique elephant ivory) will be banned by restricting the issue of a possession licence to cases of exceptional circumstances”.

London Asian art fest date is set

The date has been set for this year’s Asian Art in London festival, which will run from November 1-10.

Last year’s 20th anniversary event culminated in a gala party at the Hotung Gallery in the British Museum.

Sotheby’s buys online resource

Sotheby’s has bought Viyet, a website for interior design, vintage and antique furniture.

It will enable the auction house to move further into the middle-market online, with the majority of items valued at the $5000 and below level.

Viyet was founded in 2013 in the US and customers are both private buyers and the art and antiques trade. The Viyet team, led by chief executive Elizabeth Brown, will join Sotheby’s, while maintaining their brand and business operation.

Penman launches Windsor event

Penman Antiques Fairs is launching a new antiques fair in Windsor, its first new event for two years.

The Windsor Antiques Fair, which is already fully booked, hosts 40 dealers. It will take place at the Royal Windsor Racecourse in two large permanent marquees from June 8-10.

The event will be fully vetted, offering furniture, paintings, silver, ceramics and more from 1650 to the present day. It is one of six Penman fairs this year.

Putting on the Ritz auction in Paris

Around 10,000 items of surplus furniture and fittings that resulted from the extensive 2012-16 makeover of The Ritz in Paris will go under the hammer in a five-day sale held by Artcurial in the French capital from April 17-21.

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Fashion designer Coco Chanel arrived at the Ritz in 1937 and lived there for the next 30 years. She is one of a number of celebrities who have given their names to a suite at the Ritz. This bed head and pair of lacquered bedside cabinets from the Coco Chanel suite are estimated at €2000-3000 in Artcurial’s April 17-21 sale.

The 3500-lot sale offers a taste of the Ritz’s history and its contribution to the French Art du Vivre. It has been accommodating the rich and famous for 120 years since César Ritz opened the doors of his hotel on the Place Vendôme to the public on June 1, 1898.

Legions of famous guests have included Marcel Proust, Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel (who lived there for 30 years) and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (who began their honeymoon there).

In Numbers

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The number of companies outside the traditional auction sector acquired by Sotheby’s since Tad Smith became chief executive in March 2015. The most recent purchase is interior design portal Viyet (February 2018).