In a high court ruling of Jeddi v Sotheby’s and Ors on June 15, the judge found in favour of Iranian collector and dealer Ali Saatsaz Jeddi against collector Ali Pishvaie.
Jeddi argued he bought the 10th century ewer in Dubai in 2010 but had asked Pishvaie to sell it through Sotheby’s in January 2012, agreeing to pay him a 25% commission. He later withdrew this request.
Instead, Pishvaie, who is from Iran and lives in France, argued he partly owned the artefact as his father bought it in the mid-1950s. Pishvaie claimed he had sold it to Jeddi in 2011 in a part-exchange deal allowing him a quarter ownership.
The judge ruled in Jeddi’s favour and the piece, currently with Sotheby’s in London, will be returned. A Sotheby’s spokesperson said: “The issue… has nothing to do with Sotheby’s. It is an ownership dispute between Messrs Jeddi and Pishvaie. Whilst we are currently in possession of the piece, Sotheby’s has not taken any position on the merits of their respective claims and will comply with any court order.”
Lawyer Hetty Gleave at Hunters, who represented Jeddi, said: “The case relied on an array of expert evidence ranging from the forensic experts who advised on the authenticity of handwriting and paper, and telecoms experts in relation to dates of documents produced.”
The ewer was valued at £12m in court papers and carried an estimate of £5m-7m at Sotheby’s.