Robin Symes, the antiquities dealer with a checkered past will have remnants of his art collection sold at auction at Bonham’s in Bath. The sale is being organized by liquidators of Symes’ estate. Symes was a successful dealer in antiquities, but also played a role in the trade in illicit antiquities. He was featured prominently in the network of dealers which sold works handled by Giacomo Medici, and the Getty. The catalog describes the sale as the “Robin Symes Collection”. It includes the following “the items are being sold by the liquidators who make no warranty as to title, but have been given no reason to believe good title cannot be passed.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the history of these items. As Francesco Rutelli told the participants at the ARCA Conference in Italy this summer: just because one can buy these items, doesn’t mean one should buy these items.
Colin Gleadell, Art Sales: the last remains of a scandal [The Telegraph, Sep. 28, 2009]