Stolen books returned to dealers
Rare books stolen in a ‘Mission: Impossible-style’ raid on a warehouse in west London have been returned after a joint operation with Met police off icers and Romanian authorities.
Around 240 early books, manuscripts and incunabula have been given back to the dealers who had used the warehouse for storage ahead of The California International Antiquarian Book Fair.
The items were taken from trunks housed in a storage unit in Feltham, near Heathrow, on the night of January 29, 2017.
After more than three years of investigation the books were recovered in September from a hidden underground store in a rural house in Romania.
Unfortunately, 83 of the books had suffered some form of damage and four have not been recovered. For details of the missing four visit antiquestradegazette.com.
Anyone with information can also contact DI Durham on 07741703053 or call 101 quoting Cad 4340/05Nov20 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously via 0800 555 111.
Antiques firearms law change update
A crackdown on antique firearms will soon become law following the introduction of new legislation by government. Seven ammunition types will be removed from the definition of ‘antique firearm’, making up to 26,000 guns that use them illegal to own without a firearms licence.
Existing owners of the firearms that will be affected by the new regulations can apply for a firearm certificate.
They can also sell, deactivate or surrender the affected firearms ahead of the law changing, which will take place shortly after Parliament approves the legislation. However, a date for this is not yet known.
The regulations apply across England and Wales and in Scotland, except in respect of air weapons, which is a devolved matter. However, the regulations do not apply in Northern Ireland as firearms policy is devolved. Read more about the definition of antique firearms here.
Master Drawings NY looks to web shows
Next year’s Master Drawings New York is set to be a primarily digital event in light of the continuing pandemic.
The event is planned for January 23-30. Typically centring on galleries around the Big Apple, it also has a web presence, which will be enlarged for the next staging.
“We’re making provisions in case there are some physical shows allowed, but in the meantime, we are going to focus on what we know we will be able to do,” says co-founding director Crispian Riley Smith.
Each dealer may now have up to 25 artworks on the portal, with each item having up to five supporting images and videos.
The event showcases Old Master to Contemporary drawings and has expanded its remit to include paintings and sculpture.
‘Dead man’s penny’ sold for £8500
The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Museum (Royal Warwickshire) has bought a First World War ‘dead man’s penny’ memorial plaque awarded for a soldier believed to be the first black officer commissioned into a British army regiment during the conflict and the first black officer casualty.
The plaque of Lt Euan Lucie- Smith, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was estimated at £600-800 in the Dix Noonan Webb sale on November 12 but sold at £8500 (£10,540 including premium).
Lucie-Smith was killed in action on April 25, 1915, at the Second Battle of Ypres.
Lt Col (Ret’d) John Rice, chair of the museum trustees, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that we have been able to acquire this plaque of national importance and to be able to display it in our regimental museum in Warwick for the benefit of the general public. It will help us to showcase the contribution of Commonwealth soldiers in our regiment.”
The plaque was discovered by a former Member of the European Parliament, James Carver, who is a keen collector of medals relating to West African soldiers of the Victorian and Edwardian era. He spotted it for sale on the open market, bought it on a hunch, and has since researched Lucie-Smith’s military career and family background.
“Until now, the best-known black soldier of the First World War has been Walter Tull. However, I now believe Lucie- Smith to be the first black officer,” said Carver.
The most viewed stories for week November 5-11 on antiquestradegazette.com
1 Online trading and working behind closed doors during lockdown get the green light
2 Trade awaits clarifications as new lockdown in England looms
3 Lyon & Turnbull, Elstob & Elstob and Bellmans – new faces and departments at regional auction houses
4 A looking glass believed to have been owned by Marie Antoinette is among the four lots to watch at auction this week
5 1930s petrol pump globe stars in our pick of five auction highlights
The hammer price in Swiss francs (about £3.5m) for a rare 1954 Patek Philippe watch Ref 2523/1 at a sale held by Phillips in Geneva on November 6-7. The premium inclusive amount of SFr4.991m is a house record for the highest-value lot purchased online.