Law, crime and regulation

Legal cases, stolen art, regulation and tax issues remain important part of the art and antiques sector.

This category ranges from the levy of the Artist’s Resale Right to controversies over fakes and forgeries.


Bernardo Bellotto's view of Dresden

Sotheby’s to offer restituted view of Dresden acquired by Hitler's art dealer

21 July 2020

An Old Master painting restored to the family of its original Jewish owner will be offered at Sotheby’s next week with an estimate of £3m-4m.

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Overseas buyer for Armada maps unless £600,000 is found

20 July 2020

A public campaign to keep rare maps of the Spanish Armada in the country will be needed to raise the required £600,000.

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Rare Spanish Armada maps blocked from export in the hope a UK buyer can pay £600,000 to save them for the nation

13 July 2020

A group of 10 drawings that depict the Elizabethan naval battle have been temporarily prevented from being exported in the hope an institutional buyer can raise funds to keep them in the UK.

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Government issues export bar for Roman marble Celtic hounds in hope of finding UK buyer

08 July 2020

The owner of a pair of Celtic hounds has been temporarily prevented from exporting the sculptures by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

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Appeal to help find stolen wedding ring of elderly care home resident

02 July 2020

The family of an elderly lady in a care home in north London is hoping the antiques and jewellery trade may spot three rings that have been stolen.

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Antique clocks reported stolen from Foreign & Commonwealth Office

29 June 2020

A group of antique clocks has been reported stolen from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

News In Brief - including the arrest of five antiquities specialists in Paris

29 June 2020

A round-up of art and antiques news from the previous seven days, including the arrest of antiquities dealers and experts in Paris relating to looted Middle Eastern artefacts.

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Allow access to antiquities files, says Christie’s

22 June 2020

Following the removal of four lots from a New York sale, Christie’s has expressed frustration at being denied access to key information on possible looted antiquities.

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Legal wrangle into disputed Frans Hals painting continues as investment firm wins right to appeal

17 June 2020

The legal dispute over a Frans Hals (1582-1666) painting sold via Sotheby’s by Old Master picture dealer Mark Weiss and Fairlight Art Ventures is set to reach the Court of Appeal.

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Raid on eBay seller's 'fake medal factory' run from garden shed leaves market reeling

15 June 2020

A trading standards investigation has unearthed a ‘medal factory’ in Derbyshire, sparking the fear that thousands of fake military awards and badges could be in circulation.

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Market for illicit antiquities valued ‘in millions not billions’

15 June 2020

The antiquities trade has welcomed a new independent report that estimates the volume of looted objects on the market is much smaller than previous reports have suggested.

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Art Deco sculpture takes a final dance as the near-total trading ban looms over antique ivory

15 June 2020

As the implementation of the Ivory Act 2018 draws closer, it is approaching closing time at the last-chance saloon for UK owners who wish to monetise Art Deco chryselephantine sculpture.

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Sotheby’s loses New York court case against Greece over ancient horse figurine

10 June 2020

The Greek ministry of culture has won a court ruling over auction house Sotheby’s involving the ownership of an 8th century BC horse figurine.

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Government confirms 'non-essential retail' in England can reopen to the public from June 15

10 June 2020

Shops, retail galleries and auction houses in England will be able to reopen from June 15, the business secretary has confirmed.

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Descendants win fight for justice for Carl Spitzweg painting

08 June 2020

Painting went through lengthy ownership saga before being returned to family and then sold.

Export licensing unit reopens with digital applications

01 June 2020

The Export Licensing Unit (ELU), which closed under the March lockdown, has reopened with a new temporary procedure.

Supreme Court the final option in Ivory Act case

25 May 2020

Dealers and collectors of antique ivory will seek to take their case to the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal rejected their latest challenge to the Ivory Act 2018.

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National Gallery acquires trio of 18th century pictures from late art patron via tax scheme

22 May 2020

The National Gallery has taken ownership of three pictures by 18th century greats Jean-Etienne Liotard, Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Thomas Lawrence.

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Export-blocked 18th century harpsichord bought by Gainsborough’s House museum

20 May 2020

A harpsichord that was sold at The Canterbury Auction Galleries in 2018 to a US buyer and later barred from export by the government has been saved for the nation by Gainsborough’s House museum.

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Appeal to stop Ivory Act dismissed in latest court action

18 May 2020

Court of Appeal judges have dismissed the latest attempt to stop the Ivory Act.

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