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FACT seeks ivory ban appeal funds

Dealers and collectors granted an appeal against a High Court ruling on the Ivory Act 2018 are redoubling their efforts to raise the necessary funds.

FACT (the Friends of Antique and Cultural Treasures Limited) has set up a GoFundMe page to gather donations to help pay for solicitor and barrister fees ahead of the appeal hearing, likely to be in spring 2020.

Permission to appeal was granted after FACT lost a judicial review in October.

The appeal will be heard in front of three Lord Justices at the Royal Courts of Justice.

If FACT loses that appeal, the group could theoretically get permission to take its case to the UK Supreme Court and to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), though legal experts say these scenarios are unlikely.

Alastair Gibson, a director of FACT, has urged the trade to spread the request for donations digitally – on WhatApp and social media channels Facebook and Instagram, as well as email. “We are getting big donations but BADA’s ivory committee – of which I am a member – felt we weren’t harnessing digital technology to reach a wider group of potential donors,” he said. “We want to reach the smaller collector and dealer, and staff at dealerships and auction houses who may want to make a small contribution.”

To donate via GoFundMe: atg.news/2QEat69

By bank transfer to: British Antique Dealers’ Association, Coutts & Co, Acc No: 00089001, Sort code: 18-00-02.

Star Wars toy record rockets up

A record for any Star Wars toy has been set in the US with the appearance at auction of a rare prototype action figure: the J-slot rocket-firing Boba Fett.

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Boba Fett Star Wars toy – $157,500 ($185,850) at Hake’s.

Pop culture and memorabilia specialist Hake’s of York, Pennsylvania, believed it could bring $200,000-500,000 when sold on November 6-7 but settled for the winning bid of $157,500 ($185,850 including buyer’s premium).

Kenner’s prototype figure of the bounty hunter had made its debut at the New York Toy Fair in 1979 as part of the Empire Strikes Back range, only for the design to be pulled due to concerns about the safety/cost of the rocket-firing mechanism.

The final production figure (itself a collecting rarity) came without the projectile.

There were in fact two types of rocket-firing Bobas: the L-slot with a firing mechanism resembling a backward L and the rarer J-slot design.

While perhaps as many as 100 J-slot prototypes were made, most of the 20 or so survivors show the scars of heating, freezing and forms of stress testing. This example, however, appears to have emerged wholly unscathed.

Birds boost for Beddington in Paris

Five watercolours of birds by the artist Jean-Baptiste Adanson were among the sales at the recent edition of Fine Arts Paris. They were snapped up from the stand of first-time participant Charles Beddington of London.

Fellow newcomer Chiale Fine Arts from Turin parted with two portraits by Giuseppe Maria Bonzanigo representing Louis XVIII and Marie-Joséphine de Savoie.

It was the third edition of the event and hosted 8500 visitors.

“We met a lot of new potential clients for the gallery,” said exhibitor Taménaga, which sold an oil on canvas by Bernard Buffet and reserved a Chagall for a new client. Other sales included a terracotta statue from Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, L’Amour moqueur (1873), which was offered for €400,000.

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Among the works to sell on the 'Fine Arts Paris' opening night was this bronze, 'Le Jeune Oiseleur' by Charles Auguste Lebourg, from sculpture specialist Trebosc + Van Lelyveld. The 5ft 4in (1.65m) high figure is signed 'CA Lebourg' and dated 1866 and is a work that at one time belonged to Sir Richard Wallace.

TEFAF Maastricht makes changes

The organisers of the TEFAF Maastricht fair have announced a new floorplan and 25 new exhibitors for next year.

The spaces previously devoted to the loan exhibition and one of the restaurants have been ‘repurposed’ to create more space for exhibitor stands.

Newcomers to the next staging include Stuart Lochhead Sculpture in TEFAF Antiques, Galerie Jacques Lacoste in TEFAF Design, Nicolás Cortés in TEFAF Paintings and Omer Tiroche in TEFAF Paper. ArtAncient, which was in the Showcase section last year, now moves up to the main section. Showcase exhibitors for this instalment include Plektron Fine Art and Runjeet Singh.

The fair runs from March 7-15 after two preview days.

Most read

The most viewed stories for week November 14-20 on antiquestradegazette.com

1 Dealers and collectors make their final challenge to Ivory Act

2 Is the price right? At Olympia, dealers give buyers their tips on negotiation

3 Auction record for Star Wars toy

4 Huge polar exploration exhibition opens at Spink in London

5 Five lots to watch at auction including rediscovered Paul Nash

In Numbers

31

The number of coins recovered from a 9th century hoard of more than 300 Viking and Anglo-Saxon coins and pieces of jewellery found by metal detectorists in a field in Eye, near Leominster, in June 2015. George Powel, 38, of Newport, and Layton Davies, 51, of Pontypridd, found the £3m hoard but failed to declare the find and instead sold it to dealers.

Last week the pair were found guilty at Worcester Crown Court of theft and concealing their find contrary to the Treasure Act. Coin sellers Simon Wicks, 57, from Hailsham, and Paul Wells, 60, from Cardiff, were also convicted on the concealment charge.

The whereabouts of the rest of the hoard, pictured in images police recovered from Davies’ phone, is unknown.