Jade collection
The jade collection photographed at the owner's home in Bedfordshire.

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Five sentenced in £1.7m jade fraud

The family behind the theft of Chinese jades later sold at auction for £1.7m has been convicted. Following an investigation by Bedfordshire Police’s Serious Fraud Investigation Unit, five people linked to the Pickersgill family were convicted at Luton Crown Court earlier this summer and sentenced on September 2.

Over six years they stole jades from the home of a woman (now in her 90s) living in Wilstead village.

It was following a burglary at the victim’s address in September 2017, that a valuer employed by the insurance company discovered three items captured in the family’s photograph album had actually been sold at Bonhams in November 2013, November 2014 and June 2015.

The police later established that more than 40 items had been sold through two vendor accounts between November 2011-May 2017 totalling £1.7m.

Following further investigations court proceedings led to the conviction of the five involved. Des Pickersgill, 83, Gary Pickersgill, 42, Sarah Pickersgill, 40, Kevin Wigmore, 47, and Tracey Wigmore, 49, were sentenced to a total of 16 years in jail on charges of theft, fraud and converting criminal property.

East Bristol joins SoFAA

East Bristol Auctions

East Bristol Auctions has become a member of The Society of Fine Art Auctioneers And Valuers (SOFAA).

East Bristol Auctions, founded by Evan McPherson and Samantha Homes in Hanham, Bristol in 2012, has become a member of The Society of Fine Art Auctioneers And Valuers (SoFAA). Homes recently achieved Gemmology and Diamond qualif ications becoming DGA FGA qualified.

Uppark House theft appeal

Police are appealing for information after works of art were stolen from Uppark House in West Sussex on August 25.

The items taken from the National Trust property in South Harting were a pair of Sèvres vases c.1814 with lion mask handles, a pair of c.1800 French gilt bronze and marble figural candelabra and a c.1800 bronze and marble mantel clock modelled as the figure of Apollo. Images of the items are available (ATG No 2508).

Anyone with information on this incident should call 101 quoting the Sussex Police reference number 48 25/08/21 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

What is the time, Lord Protector?


A watch thought to have been owned by Oliver Cromwell to be offered at The Chelsea Antiques Fair this month.

A watch believed to have once belonged to Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) will be offered by dealer Martyn Downer at The Chelsea Antiques Fair on September 21-26.

Downer said investigating the “full history of the watch has been a thrilling adventure that has shed new light on the life of a great figure in British history”. The watch had been consigned to Laidlaw in Carlisle from a Cumbrian family and sold in July 2019 (see ATG 2403).

The verge movement of the oval silver-cased c.1645 watch is engraved William Clay fecit for a watchmaker recorded as working at King Street, Westminster. According to Downer, Clay was a close neighbour of Oliver Cromwell and his family.

Cromwell is recorded wearing the watch on many occasions before it was given to John Blackwell, the deputy treasurer-at-war and an officer in Cromwell’s ‘Ironsides’ calvary. Downer is offering it with a ticket price in the region of £180,000.

‘Biggest’ triceratops comes to auction


‘Big John’ has a guide of €1.2m-1.5m at Binoche et Giquello

The fossilised remains of ‘Big John’, the largest triceratops dinosaur ever discovered, will be offered by Paris auction house Binoche et Giquello next month. It has an estimate of €1.2m-1.5m at the October 21 sale at the Drouot auction centre.

The skeleton is named Big John after the owner of the land in the US where more than 200 of the dinosaur’s bones were found. Palaeontologists unearthed the first piece of bone in 2014 and eventually found 60% of the skeleton during 2015, including a 75% complete skull measuring 8ft 5in (2.6m) long. It will go on public display from September 16-October 15 in Paris ahead of the auction.

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In Numbers


The proportion of sales that dealers made online in 2020 (including art fair viewing rooms) – more than double the level of 2019, according to the Art Basel and UBS’ Resilience in the Dealer Sector: A Mid-Year Review 2021 report by Dr Clare McAndrew (founder of Arts Economics). The responses were from more than 700 art and antiques dealers across 54 regions or countries.