Gilgamesh Dream tablet
The so-called Gilgamesh Dream Tablet which has been returned to Iraq by US officials.

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Gilgamesh Dream tablet heads to Iraq

A 3600-year-old tablet showing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh will be formally handed back to Iraq by the US.

Known as the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, it is believed to have been looted from a museum in Iraq in 1991 and entered the US in 2007, according to Unesco.

It was later acquired by the owners of retailer Hobby Lobby via auction at Christie’s but seized by the US Department of Justice in 2019.

Hobby Lobby founded the Museum of the Bible and president Steve Green began collecting artefacts for the museum. However, he admitted later he did not do thorough checks. In 2017, Hobby Lobby agreed to pay a $3m fine in a settlement with the Justice Department and to return thousands of clay tablets to Iraq and Egypt.

Rybolovlev final legal case dropped

The Geneva prosecutor’s office has dropped the last legal case initiated by Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev against Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier, according to EU Reporter. In his final ruling order, the prosecutor confirmed that, contrary to what Rybolovlev’s lawyers have claimed, there was no fraud, no mismanagement, no breach of trust and no money laundering.

Since January 2015, Rybolovlev and his lawyers have lost all of the nine court cases filed against Bouvier over the intervening years, including in Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, Monaco and Geneva.

Philately will get you everywhere

Trevor Chinery

Trevor Chinery of Elstob & Elstob.

Ripon saleroom Elstob & Elstob has opened a new stamp, postcards and postal history department led by specialist Trevor Chinery.

He has more than 25 years’ experience as a dealer and owns Philatelic Auction Agency. Until recently he ran a stamps department at Tennants of Leyburn.

US Constitution copy comes for sale

A first-edition printed copy of the US Constitution, as adopted by America’s founding fathers at a convention in Philadelphia in 1787, will be auctioned at Sotheby’s on November 23. It is estimated at $15m-20m.

It last sold for $165,000 in 1988, when it was acquired by New York real estate developer the late S Howard Goldman who died in 1997. His widow, Dorothy Tapper Goldman, is offering it for sale alongside another 80 items from their collection. Proceeds from the sale of the constitution will go to Goldman’s charitable foundation.

The document is one of just 11 known existing copies – the only one still in private hands – from the official first printing of the final text of the Constitution, as adopted in Philadelphia and submitted to the Continental Congress for review, Sotheby’s said.

Another group of works from the Goldman collection will be offered online from November 23-December 2.

Spiridion now at McTear’s saleroom

James Spiridion

James Spiridion of McTear’s.

James Spiridion has joined McTear’s as valuer and auctioneer. He was previously at Adam Partridge.

Strang takes on specialist task

Alice Strang

Alice Strang has joined Lyon & Turnbull.

Museum curator Alice Strang has joined Lyon & Turnbull as a senior specialist in Modern & Contemporary art in Edinburgh.

Previously she was senior curator in Modern & Contemporary art at the National Galleries Scotland and had also worked at Christie’s.

She is married to L&T managing director, valuer and auctioneer Gavin Strang.

Alongside her new role at L&T, Strang will continue her work as an independent curator and art historian, including research-based talks and articles about Modern British art.

Lowther returns to the Fellows team

Joan Lowther

Joan Lowther has rejoined Fellows.

Joan Lowther has returned to Fellows’ jewellery department. She had most recently been working as a gemmologist and valuer in Sweden for Stockholms Auktionsverk. Her new role at Fellows is as cataloguer focusing on the f lagship bi-monthly Fine Jewellery auction.

Goddard fills Asia Week NY top post

Dessa Goddard

Dessa Goddard is chairman of Asia Week New York.

Dessa Goddard is the new chairman of Asia Week New York, the collaboration between Asian art galleries, auction houses, museums and Asian cultural institutions.

Goddard is head of Bonhams’ US Asian art department and a specialist in Chinese paintings.

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In Numbers

L’Arc de Triomphe

'L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, Paris, 1961-2021' by Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

Photo: Benjamin Loyseau, © 2021 Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation


The area in square metres of recyclable silvery blue polypropylene fabric used to create L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, Paris, 1961-2021 by Christo and Jeanne-Claude which is on view in Paris until October 3.