ANSA is reporting that Bonhams London has withdrawn 10 antiquities worth an estimated 250,000 Euros from a scheduled sale today after concerns were raised by the Italian government, seemingly at the last minute. There are indications these objects were illegally excavated or illegally exported from Italy, perhaps in the 1970s. It seems likely that it was Francesco Rutelli’s “urgent” question to his successor, Sandro Bondi about this sale perhaps forced Bondi to act, particularly given the 11th hour nature of the actions. The Chairman of the auction house, Robert Brooks said in a statement:
We are always happy to cooperate with any action that limits the chance of items being sold that should not be sold. Having said that we would welcome a greater openness on the part of the Italian Government, which would allow us far more advance warning and information about concerns they have. Responsible institutions need to work together and not to keep information hidden, for whatever reason, until the very last minute.