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mikewof

Anyone here ever returned a looted antiquity?

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I'm just looking for some guidance from anyone who has gone through the process.

I found out that one of the pieces in the collection of myself and significant other doesn't seem to match the story given to me by the dealer some twenty years ago. It seems to be as old as the pre-Islamic Sasanian Era, though, based on the craving and joining marks, at least 700-some years old. I've gradually discovered the likely provenance of the piece over the last few months.

My limited understanding of the U.S. Cultural Properties Law is that we may be obligated to report the item to the State Department Cultural Heritage Center, and possibly Interpol, who has an email system for reports, to which I sent a photo today. And then if it turns out to be okay, we can then potentially sell it or keep it.

So, anyone gone through this? If it turns out to be looted, is turning the piece over to a museum on permanent loan an option?

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How do you know it's not a fake/reproduction?  

Terrorist groups like ISIS looted a lot of antiquities that have likely found their way to the open and black markets.  

Take it to a reputable dealer who knows their stuff to validate it.  If its real, then you can ask them what the options are.

 

 

Image result for images of indiana jones

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39 minutes ago, mikewof said:

I'm just looking for some guidance from anyone who has gone through the process.

I found out that one of the pieces in the collection of myself and significant other doesn't seem to match the story given to me by the dealer some twenty years ago. It seems to be as old as the pre-Islamic Sasanian Era, though, based on the craving and joining marks, at least 700-some years old. I've gradually discovered the likely provenance of the piece over the last few months.

My limited understanding of the U.S. Cultural Properties Law is that we may be obligated to report the item to the State Department Cultural Heritage Center, and possibly Interpol, who has an email system for reports, to which I sent a photo today. And then if it turns out to be okay, we can then potentially sell it or keep it.

So, anyone gone through this? If it turns out to be looted, is turning the piece over to a museum on permanent loan an option?

post a picture...you opened a can of worms contacting authorities,IMO, you should have had your piece verified first then done with it on your terms

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1 hour ago, mikewof said:

I'm just looking for some guidance from anyone who has gone through the process.

I found out that one of the pieces in the collection of myself and significant other doesn't seem to match the story given to me by the dealer some twenty years ago. It seems to be as old as the pre-Islamic Sasanian Era, though, based on the craving and joining marks, at least 700-some years old. I've gradually discovered the likely provenance of the piece over the last few months.

My limited understanding of the U.S. Cultural Properties Law is that we may be obligated to report the item to the State Department Cultural Heritage Center, and possibly Interpol, who has an email system for reports, to which I sent a photo today. And then if it turns out to be okay, we can then potentially sell it or keep it.

So, anyone gone through this? If it turns out to be looted, is turning the piece over to a museum on permanent loan an option?

I have experience from the other end of the equation. Glad to hear a bit of honesty out there!

Roman artefacts were stolen from our family farm in the UK throughout the 80's by metal detectors operating through the night on a legally protected site. There is a Roman villa and graveyard on the site, invisible to the eye, and farmed over for centuries. Previous investigations have shown the full hypocaust floor to be intact, and you can fill a bucket with Roman pottery in about an hour. At least one Anarchist on here lived just 1 mile from the site for a while.....!

Artefacts were sold via London, Zurich and Sydney, and finally ended up in a private gallery in New York. At some point, they were offered for sale to the Getty Museum, who checked the provenance with the British Museum. They, too, had been offered them, and the location marked on a map as being our farm. Other finds confirm the provenance.

My father fought the New York fuckers with the haul, through International lawyers. We 'won', but only to the extent that the artefacts become the property of the British Museum on their death. He's dead - she's next.... If the estate does not return them, they become ours...

Haul has a value of several million dollars, and includes bronze statues, a silver and gilt leopard, and loads of other stuff. Still catching metal detectorists in the dead of night.

 

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7 minutes ago, Derek Grebe said:

...snip

. Still catching metal detectorists in the dead of night.

 

So is that the feed for the pigs sorted out then?

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I returned my ex girlfriend to her mother.

;)

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Kinda sorta. 

My father came back from WWII with a Japanese flag. Covering the flag were words written in Japanese.

What we didn’t know was these flags were signed by family and neighbors and given to soldiers as good luck. American soldiers and Marines often took them from bodies. 

A couple of years ago there was a story going around about a Marine from my father’s unit who was still alive and wanted to return he flag he kept to the family. It turns out there is a group that does this. The Obon Society. They found family members and this 90+ year old marine went to Japan and gave them the flag and told them of their brother’s death and where he was. They had zero info on what had happened.  I posted links to this Marine’s story back then. 

So my brother found the one my father brought home and we agreed it should be returned. We sent it to the Oban society. No news on whether they found the family it belongs to. 

https://www.apnews.com/02c6fc4141b3413c909f7143fe00010e 

Here is the story. My father, was in this guy’s unit. In fact he was with him when this happened. 

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3 hours ago, Derek Grebe said:

I have experience from the other end of the equation. Glad to hear a bit of honesty out there!

Roman artefacts were stolen from our family farm in the UK throughout the 80's by metal detectors operating through the night on a legally protected site. There is a Roman villa and graveyard on the site, invisible to the eye, and farmed over for centuries. Previous investigations have shown the full hypocaust floor to be intact, and you can fill a bucket with Roman pottery in about an hour. At least one Anarchist on here lived just 1 mile from the site for a while.....!

Artefacts were sold via London, Zurich and Sydney, and finally ended up in a private gallery in New York. At some point, they were offered for sale to the Getty Museum, who checked the provenance with the British Museum. They, too, had been offered them, and the location marked on a map as being our farm. Other finds confirm the provenance.

My father fought the New York fuckers with the haul, through International lawyers. We 'won', but only to the extent that the artefacts become the property of the British Museum on their death. He's dead - she's next.... If the estate does not return them, they become ours...

Haul has a value of several million dollars, and includes bronze statues, a silver and gilt leopard, and loads of other stuff. Still catching metal detectorists in the dead of night.

 

Bronze statues!!??  Wow, that is a rare haul, not many Greek or Roman bronzes survived (unless they were lost like the ones on your farm).

What is the reasoning behind the antiquities being returned to your family only if the current "owners" fail to give them to British Museum upon death?

 

Any pictures?

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3 hours ago, SailBlueH2O said:

post a picture...you opened a can of worms contacting authorities,IMO, you should have had your piece verified first then done with it on your terms

I was under the gun, my SO wants it removed from the house into a storage facility without climate control.

If I post a photo of the box here, you would understand why I had to do this.

It's fucked up, but I'm not going to risk it being destroyed by ham-handed movers in the snow. 

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Some amazing reading on this thread....

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9 minutes ago, mikewof said:

I was under the gun, my SO wants it removed from the house into a storage facility without climate control.

If I post a photo of the box here, you would understand why I had to do this.

It's fucked up, but I'm not going to risk it being destroyed by ham-handed movers in the snow. 

I'd love to have my hands on that bronze....figuratively...awesome story 

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5 hours ago, Derek Grebe said:

Still catching metal detectorists in the dead of night.

I’d see if their metal detectors can catch lead, at speed!

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I tried to return an "antiquity," but gave up. As a teenager in the late 60's, I picked up a piece of fired or painted tile from the track itself at Circus Maximus in Rome, noticed it buried just under the surface and dug it up and put it in my pocket. There is no question in my mind that it's very old, though I have no idea if it was original with Circus Maximus. I still have it today. A few years ago I looked into returning it, and I got such a convoluted runaround I just quit trying. I have no idea what it's worth, probably little or nothing.

I would love to know what it came from, but I don't expect I will ever know.

It's about 1½" x 3", the poker chip is just for scale.

IMG_1954.JPG

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My neighbour has a Narwhal tusk he acquired decades ago when he worked in the north.

He's smart enough to keep his mouth shut about it.

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I found some old tampons, not sure what period they're from though...

 

*ducking*

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3 hours ago, SailBlueH2O said:

I'd love to have my hands on that bronze....figuratively...awesome story 

Our's isn't bronze, it's teak. An ossuary, pre-Islamic.

Lawyers did their thing this morning, it's safe for now until the appraisal and possible repatriation at country of origin. It's an odd thing seeing something like that, it's so beautiful that you just want to see it in its native habitat of a museum, even if it means losing it. 

I really want to post a photo of it here, but I don't want to endanger it in the current legal crap.

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44 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

My neighbour has a Narwhal tusk he acquired decades ago when he worked in the north.

He's smart enough to keep his mouth shut about it.

I'd love to tell you what I have...:ph34r:

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18 minutes ago, mikewof said:

Our's isn't bronze, it's teak. An ossuary, pre-Islamic.

Lawyers did their thing this morning, it's safe for now until the appraisal and possible repatriation at country of origin. It's an odd thing seeing something like that, it's so beautiful that you just want to see it in its native habitat of a museum, even if it means losing it. 

I really want to post a photo of it here, but I don't want to endanger it in the current legal crap.

For all the crap that you deserve, Mikey - kudos on ya for doing the right thing with this.  Post pics & tell the story once the wrangling is done. 

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My great uncle lived in Ketchikan and owned a little coal mine of some sort. He smuggled out a mastadon tusk. It's in my deceased grandmother's basement.

 

I know she gave 1/2 of it to the local college back in the '50s

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24 minutes ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:

For all the crap that you deserve, Mikey - kudos on ya for doing the right thing with this.  Post pics & tell the story once the wrangling is done. 

Image result for sash weights

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, not exactly "antiquities", around 1900

I got interested in historic mining in my mountains. 

Am_Entry.thumb.JPG.d9f961d66e1a13741991fe4300ce4c1c.JPG

 

Just outside the opening, on an outcrop is an artifact that has been there since the mine was abandoned.

A (replaceable) drill tip that was used in the mine. 

(not a very good pic, I had just made the climb, was winded, and my hands were shaking)

Drill_Tip.thumb.JPG.0a2f2820be74dc942371d829bdcae60c.JPG

 

When I went up there in Oct, it was gone.

 

 

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How long did that reveal take the first go around? Thanks Point.

2 minutes ago, Point Break said:

Well played................damn well played..............

 

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4 hours ago, hobot said:

I found some old tampons, not sure what period they're from though...

 

*ducking*

That’s so wrong, but funny. 

4 hours ago, Snaggletooth said:

Cantte they do anny of that crabon datteng?

Crab on dating? :huh:

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50 minutes ago, Rasputin22 said:

How long did that reveal take the first go around? Thanks Point.

 

No party this time...  Dang..

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5 hours ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:

For all the crap that you deserve, Mikey - kudos on ya for doing the right thing with this.  Post pics & tell the story once the wrangling is done. 

Looks like things are stable now, it's safe until the appraisal and then the appraisal is used for the repatriation if necessary. Lawyer recommended Southeby's so I started it with them. I hope the appraisal isn't too expensive.

I had money at the time, I spent on it about what someone would spend for a half-decent 4KSB. The depreciation value would then be 100%, c'est la vie ...

1zmz11x.jpg

33nexzk.jpg

I showed it to one of my dad's nurses and it put a tear in her eye. It's one of those things that's so fucking beautiful that I don't even feel right owning the motherfucker. If it ends up on display somewhere, I'm going to take my grandkids to see it and tell them, "See that wooden box? Your mom used to spill her Cheerios and milk on that when she was your age."

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2 minutes ago, Snaggletooth said:

You really thick ist Teake?  Hassitte be tested?

Good point. The original agent told me it was a teak trunk from India, a hundred years old. The dumb retrofit hinge on the back is older than a hundred years, so yeah, maybe not even teak. It is a very hard wood though, to my fingernail test, about as hard as crabapple.

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2 minutes ago, mikewof said:

Good point. The original agent told me it was a teak trunk from India, a hundred years old. The dumb retrofit hinge on the back is older than a hundred years, so yeah, maybe not even teak. It is a very hard wood though, to my fingernail test, about as hard as crabapple.

Drag it off to the nearest Antiques Road Show.

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9 minutes ago, mikewof said:

Good point. The original agent told me it was a teak trunk from India, a hundred years old. The dumb retrofit hinge on the back is older than a hundred years, so yeah, maybe not even teak. It is a very hard wood though, to my fingernail test, about as hard as crabapple.

Alle woodes hardened/gette brittelle with age, is sealled with varnische or simmilare?

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I have two very rare photographs.

 

 

 

The first is a photo of Harry Houdini locked out of his car.

The second is a photo of Norman Rockwell slapping a child.

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1 hour ago, mikewof said:

Looks like things are stable now, it's safe until the appraisal and then the appraisal is used for the repatriation if necessary. Lawyer recommended Southeby's so I started it with them. I hope the appraisal isn't too expensive.

I had money at the time, I spent on it about what someone would spend for a half-decent 4KSB. The depreciation value would then be 100%, c'est la vie ...

1zmz11x.jpg

33nexzk.jpg

I showed it to one of my dad's nurses and it put a tear in her eye. It's one of those things that's so fucking beautiful that I don't even feel right owning the motherfucker. If it ends up on display somewhere, I'm going to take my grandkids to see it and tell them, "See that wooden box? Your mom used to spill her Cheerios and milk on that when she was your age."

Mike, I’ll give you credit. Sometimes doing the right thing sucks, but it feels pretty good after you do it. 

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1 hour ago, Snaggletooth said:

Alle woodes hardened/gette brittelle with age, is sealled with varnische or simmilare?

Nothing that I can tell. It looks like straight carved wood, I've examined the indents and cracks with a loupe, I didn't see any kind of treatment for the wood.

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29 minutes ago, Monkey said:

Mike, I’ll give you credit. Sometimes doing the right thing sucks, but it feels pretty good after you do it. 

Thank you. I feel that way about a lot of the pieces or artwork around here, attached to them, but not that ossuary, the flowers on it are really compelling in a way, it seems like something that belongs on display. The ossuaries weren't apparently too common for Muslims anyway, it was the thing of Israelites and Zorostrians. Life back in those days ... you lose a loved-one, drag their body to the cave, leave it in there while it decomposes over the next year. Then on the one-year anniversary of their death, you gather back in the cave, pick up the bones of your loved-one, drop them in the ossuary with the other bones, and I guess feel shittier or feel better. But I think that ossuary was carved for someone who was really loved. There is no way that box could have been carved by one person in much less than a year. I guess that would be a year of very special grieving while that poor schmuck carved that whole box. And the end result is so lovely, it maybe lightened the hearts of the ones who lost that person.

Yesterday I felt sure that it was in need of repatriation, I thought back on the timing, and that it supposedly came from a quickly transferred estate from a Saudi family who left NYC kinda quick after 9/11.  They apparently used it the same way we used it ... to store things like photos and towels. But today, I don't know anymore. I uploaded the photos to the databases, contacted the appraiser, doing what we're supposed to do. I guess it will unfold over the next few weeks.

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Hmm, I've got a bowl "salvaged" from the bottom of the Mediterranean. A gift from a friend. When they were in need of some ready cash, greek locals know where the wrecks are..apparently the floor of the Med is littered with thousands of cargo ships and prolly millions  of  thousand years old soup bowls. they pull em up still in stacks bound together with that white sea wormy stuff..wine amphorae, plates, bowls.

I was reluctant to take it, but my friend said that if they turned them over to the greek antiquities people, they just stamp em as authentic and sell em anyway. It's probably only worth a few hundred dollars..stamped.

It's awesome to have something that ancient and quite beautiful in it's simple decoration and utility, but I don't feel I'm robbing a museum..now a bit of marble off the acropolis frieze, or something from an archaeological dig would be a different story.

So..before you part with your treasure  Mike, think about it..is it really that valuable to history, or just another beautiful "soup bowl"

Your box like my bowl, and a little perfume bottle I picked up (as a ceramics expert said. "trying very vert hard to be tang") has no provenance, so they are worthless from an antiquities POV.

I think they have a happier live admired and cherished in the home than stored anonymously in a dusty vault somewhere. 

Like I said, looting from archiological sites or buying from tomb robbers is a serious matter and to be absolutely and rigorously prosecuted.  

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9 hours ago, Point Break said:
13 hours ago, Rasputin22 said:

Image result for sash weights

Well played................damn well played.............. 

Thanks guys.

That was a laugh I could really do with.

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21 hours ago, mikewof said:

It seems to be as old as the pre-Islamic Sasanian Era, though, based on the craving and joining marks, at least 700-some years old. I've gradually discovered the likely provenance of the piece over the last few months.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_conquest_of_Persia

The Muslim conquest of Persia, also known as the Arab conquest of Iran,[2] led to the end of the Sasanian Empire of Persia in 651 and the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian religion.

happened nearly 1400  years ago, Islam was pretty well established in the region 700 years ago...

 

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4 hours ago, genealex said:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_conquest_of_Persia

The Muslim conquest of Persia, also known as the Arab conquest of Iran,[2] led to the end of the Sasanian Empire of Persia in 651 and the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian religion.

happened nearly 1400  years ago, Islam was pretty well established in the region 700 years ago...

 

Yeah, the box is either Zorostrian or Jewish, likely not Islamic because they don't allow representations of flowers and nature. Or maybe it's just some old box from India and the Saudi family is a red herring. 

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17 hours ago, Rasputin22 said:

Image result for sash weights

Warms my heart to know that some of you recognize these!

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I remember the brouhaha at the time, but can't remember the significance. I seem to recall threats of physical violence using sash weights, but that's about the extent of it. It was about the time I started hanging around here so I didn't know the personalities yet. Seems like lots of people didn't like Swan 70 much.

Mike, that piece is breathtakingly beautiful. If you get the green light to keep it, you will have the clear conscience of knowing you did the right thing. If it winds up in a museum, that would be cool too. It'd be fun to lurk as people oohed and aahed  over it. Really magnificent. Thanks for letting us see it.

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10 minutes ago, On The Hard said:

I remember the brouhaha at the time, but can't remember the significance. I seem to recall threats of physical violence using sash weights, but that's about the extent of it. It was about the time I started hanging around here so I didn't know the personalities yet. Seems like lots of people didn't like Swan 70 much.

Mike, that piece is breathtakingly beautiful. If you get the green light to keep it, you will have the clear conscience of knowing you did the right thing. If it winds up in a museum, that would be cool too. It'd be fun to lurk as people oohed and aahed  over it. Really magnificent. Thanks for letting us see it.

don't remember any threats....as i recall swan lived in an old house and he identified (using a camera?) an old box behind a false wall.  much anticipation about what treasure might be in that old box...it turned out to be sash weights which led to significant ridicule...or something like that.

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22 minutes ago, chester said:

don't remember any threats....as i recall swan lived in an old house and he identified (using a camera?) an old box behind a false wall.  much anticipation about what treasure might be in that old box...it turned out to be sash weights which led to significant ridicule...or something like that.

That about covers it..........as part of the reason for the well deserved ridicule was the way he played it up as having found some treasure and his drawing out the process of opening the box, including announcing some specific date/time for the big reveal ala Geraldo Rivera. Then he was foolish enough (or trusting enough which around here is the same thing) when he opened it (unless it was all a put on) to post the actual contents. The rest is the stuff of legends........

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3 minutes ago, Point Break said:

That about covers it..........as part of the reason for the well deserved ridicule was the way he played it up as having found some treasure and his drawing out the process of opening the box, including announcing some specific date/time for the big reveal ala Geraldo Rivera. Then he was foolish enough (or trusting enough which around here is the same thing) when he opened it (unless it was all a put on) to post the actual contents. The rest is the stuff of legends........

:D

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8 minutes ago, Point Break said:

That about covers it..........as part of the reason for the well deserved ridicule was the way he played it up as having found some treasure and his drawing out the process of opening the box, including announcing some specific date/time for the big reveal ala Geraldo Rivera. Then he was foolish enough (or trusting enough which around here is the same thing) when he opened it (unless it was all a put on) to post the actual contents. The rest is the stuff of legends........

Then it came out that he had done the exact same reveal on another site a couple of weeks earlier...

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1 minute ago, Ishmael said:

Then it came out that he had done the exact same reveal on another site a couple of weeks earlier...

Yeahe, an we dointe licke peopel tryeng macke us looke licke foolles!                                   :)

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20 hours ago, Rasputin22 said:

Image result for sash weights

Why would anyone need four leadlines? :ph34r:

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4 hours ago, warbird said:

Warms my heart to know that some of you recognize these!

 

Whatever happened to old Swan 70??

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3 hours ago, chester said:

don't remember any threats....as i recall swan lived in an old house and he identified (using a camera?) an old box behind a false wall.  much anticipation about what treasure might be in that old box...it turned out to be sash weights which led to significant ridicule...or something like that.

We were fine with the sash weights, he later reran the story on another non-sailing forum, and some folks here assumed he made the whole drama up here when they found it there weeks later. But we were here for the real-time event, they just got the rerun. Or maybe Ishmael is right, maybe that reveal was earlier, but I thought it was after our's. He was a friendly guy.

He's doing well, we used to email a bit, he got into Corvette Racing, got himself a ZR1, or maybe a Z06. Same thing as when he raced his folk's Swan, but vehicles go a little faster when they have wheels and don't need to haul around a head, a galley, and a couple cabins through the water.

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3 hours ago, chester said:

don't remember any threats....as i recall swan lived in an old house and he identified (using a camera?) an old box behind a false wall.  much anticipation about what treasure might be in that old box...it turned out to be sash weights which led to significant ridicule...or something like that.

It was a rerun of a story posted in the Chevy forum a couple of years prior. One of the Chevy posters joined up here to let everyone know about the BS

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3 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Why would anyone need four leadlines? :ph34r:

You don't want those, the lead is rusting.

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Just now, chum said:

And the bottom sampler hole looks too small.

those are not lead line weights...hence no hole filled with wax

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2 hours ago, billy backstay said:
6 hours ago, warbird said:

Warms my heart to know that some of you recognize these!

Whatever happened to old Swan 70??

Changis name ot warbird?

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4 hours ago, VOA said:
8 hours ago, chester said:

don't remember any threats....as i recall swan lived in an old house and he identified (using a camera?) an old box behind a false wall.  much anticipation about what treasure might be in that old box...it turned out to be sash weights which led to significant ridicule...or something like that.

It was a rerun of a story posted in the Chevy forum a couple of years prior. One of the Chevy posters joined up here to let everyone know about the BS 

I think it was the other way around, and it was a Corvette site.

One of the clever cloggs over there google searched one of his images and found this place.

Then he made the mistake of saying sorry to the corvette people that he had "done this to a bunch of sailors first".

Still, the whole saga was as funny as fuck.

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4 hours ago, SailBlueH2O said:

those are not lead line weights...hence no hole filled with wax

Yeah, we got that. :rolleyes:

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2 hours ago, floating dutchman said:

I think it was the other way around, and it was a Corvette site.

One of the clever cloggs over there google searched one of his images and found this place.

Then he made the mistake of saying sorry to the corvette people that he had "done this to a bunch of sailors first".

Still, the whole saga was as funny as fuck.

That was my memory. I asked him to come back by email, he used to post some insanely funny things about cunnilingus, which was all the more funny that he was some upright New Englander living in house that would have looked like a wet dream to Martha Stewart.  He came back for one day only, posted a little drawing a hand holding a card that said "I'll be back, bitches."

Then he was gone for good and never came back. I hope he didn't die in a Corvette crash, he seemed to be pretty wreckless, that guy.

 

Update on the box ... the NYC District Attorney is looking into it, super nice guy. Poor fellow has to deal with trying to get so much looted art repatriated, you know he can't even go to a museum fundraiser there without every rich person in the room avoiding him like the plague, worried that he's going to visit and see some of their more illegal pieces. He's kind of like the narc at high school ... nice guy, knows how to smoke some reefer, but he had a job to do and always apologized to every poor kid that he set up. Talk about post-traumatic-stress disorder, I'll bet a lot of those high school narcs must have it hard after they got too old for their jobs. Who was the Silicon Valley millionaire who said something like the driver of his success was so that he could make the narc who threw him in jail as a teenager, jealous of him every day?

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On 12/6/2018 at 5:39 AM, More Cowbell2 said:

How do you know it's not a fake/reproduction?  

Terrorist groups like ISIS looted a lot of antiquities that have likely found their way to the open and black markets.  

Take it to a reputable dealer who knows their stuff to validate it.  If its real, then you can ask them what the options are.

 

Sorry, I missed this one ...

It might be a fake or reproduction, I fucking HOPE it is, we'll get to keep it. The depth of the carvings are the problem though, they are so deep, and uniformly cut into the wood, that it suggests a very long cut time, about a year. I don't see any evidence of electric rotary grinding, but there is a lot of rough hand-cuts, and what bodes worst of all for us on this is that there isn't another similar example that I've ever seen. Fakes and forgeries are usually made of more famous pieces, but in nearly twenty years I've never seen a similar piece.

If it's stolen, it was unlikely to be ISIS or any terrorists, we got it right after 9/11 down in our neighborhood near Tribeca. Most likely, it was part of the Saudi-expatriate art boom, where several rather wealthy Saudi families left NYC and NJ abruptly to return home, they were very much afraid of a major retribution here, which never actually happened, but damn sure would have happened in some other countries. They got out of Dodge and sold their larger stuff cheap.

I'm not taking it to a dealer, there are about five experts on wooden ossuary boxes in the world, I'm not loading that ol' gal up and flying to Scotland, I'm at home anyway all the time, taking care of my dad. I would end up dropping it anyway. That's the weird thing about stolen and looted art, it's not actually worth anything, it's a liability, because all of the money spend to protect it, insure it and so forth, is going to be lost when it's eventually repatriated. I usually tend not to invest in antiques for this reason, you spend $50 grand on something and find it's worth $0 a few years later. Of course, that's lightweight compared to investing it in a classic wooden boat ... there you invested $50 grand on a boat, spend ten years of your life and another $100 grand keeping it beautiful, then when you're done it's only worth a pack of matches and some gasoline. Hell, by the measure of you wooden boat folks, I just saved myself $100 grand!

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Door knockers for handles on an antique trunk?

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5 hours ago, mikewof said:

 

Sorry, I missed this one ...

It might be a fake or reproduction, I fucking HOPE it is, we'll get to keep it. The depth of the carvings are the problem though, they are so deep, and uniformly cut into the wood, that it suggests a very long cut time, about a year. I don't see any evidence of electric rotary grinding, but there is a lot of rough hand-cuts, and what bodes worst of all for us on this is that there isn't another similar example that I've ever seen. Fakes and forgeries are usually made of more famous pieces, but in nearly twenty years I've never seen a similar piece.

If it's stolen, it was unlikely to be ISIS or any terrorists, we got it right after 9/11 down in our neighborhood near Tribeca. Most likely, it was part of the Saudi-expatriate art boom, where several rather wealthy Saudi families left NYC and NJ abruptly to return home, they were very much afraid of a major retribution here, which never actually happened, but damn sure would have happened in some other countries. They got out of Dodge and sold their larger stuff cheap.

I'm not taking it to a dealer, there are about five experts on wooden ossuary boxes in the world, I'm not loading that ol' gal up and flying to Scotland, I'm at home anyway all the time, taking care of my dad. I would end up dropping it anyway. That's the weird thing about stolen and looted art, it's not actually worth anything, it's a liability, because all of the money spend to protect it, insure it and so forth, is going to be lost when it's eventually repatriated. I usually tend not to invest in antiques for this reason, you spend $50 grand on something and find it's worth $0 a few years later. Of course, that's lightweight compared to investing it in a classic wooden boat ... there you invested $50 grand on a boat, spend ten years of your life and another $100 grand keeping it beautiful, then when you're done it's only worth a pack of matches and some gasoline. Hell, by the measure of you wooden boat folks, I just saved myself $100 grand!

There's a lot of assumptions made about reproductions..

A good reproduction can be worth as much as an original depending on the skill of the craftsman.

I've stood in antique and reproductions workshop with the furniture maker and been shown two "17C" refectory tables side by side..one a genuine 17thC table..the other took 5 years to make (it has a brass plate underneath with the makers details..the real one was priced at $20,000..the reproduction $17,000. there was nothing to tell these two tables apart except intuition..(and the modern brass plate underneath the repro) The Maker's done the right thing..the buyer can onsell it as he or she wishes.

The "new" table is a repro not a fake..no intention to deceive..

Collect things for ..the love of the piece and hang it's supposed provenance...that way you're never disappointed.

Your box could be a reproduction and worth whatever the market says it's worth...but once again, even a reproduction has to have provenance..who made it, when, where, for whom and the original bill of sale. 

Looking at your pictures it's hard to see the patina one would expect from something 3-700 years old. The right hand side of the top..the carving should be more worn and smooth than the left, easy to check, if your right handed, pup your hand anywhere on the box where you would naturally open the lid, place objects, polish harder.

Dust and "hand dirt" build up..waxes and polishes where the ignorant used inappropriate cleaners or waxes over the centuries, spills and stains, knocks and chips in places where it would be exposed. 

Even that's no guarantee, a good restorer can "fake" a patina on just about anything..and I'm not talking about bike chains.

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10 hours ago, VWAP said:

Thank you for researching this, I'll add it to the list. I hope our's is just a hundred-some-year-old box from India, we'll be able to keep it if so. We have a another piece similar to the one in your link, it's made with a template-carving process, where the design you see has a mostly consistent depth across the carve. The part that worries me about my piece is that it's carved in relief.

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8 hours ago, Shortforbob said:

There's a lot of assumptions made about reproductions..

A good reproduction can be worth as much as an original depending on the skill of the craftsman.

I've stood in antique and reproductions workshop with the furniture maker and been shown two "17C" refectory tables side by side..one a genuine 17thC table..the other took 5 years to make (it has a brass plate underneath with the makers details..the real one was priced at $20,000..the reproduction $17,000. there was nothing to tell these two tables apart except intuition..(and the modern brass plate underneath the repro) The Maker's done the right thing..the buyer can onsell it as he or she wishes.

The "new" table is a repro not a fake..no intention to deceive..

Collect things for ..the love of the piece and hang it's supposed provenance...that way you're never disappointed.

Your box could be a reproduction and worth whatever the market says it's worth...but once again, even a reproduction has to have provenance..who made it, when, where, for whom and the original bill of sale. 

Looking at your pictures it's hard to see the patina one would expect from something 3-700 years old. The right hand side of the top..the carving should be more worn and smooth than the left, easy to check, if your right handed, pup your hand anywhere on the box where you would naturally open the lid, place objects, polish harder.

Dust and "hand dirt" build up..waxes and polishes where the ignorant used inappropriate cleaners or waxes over the centuries, spills and stains, knocks and chips in places where it would be exposed. 

Even that's no guarantee, a good restorer can "fake" a patina on just about anything..and I'm not talking about bike chains.

 

I would love to find out that piece is just a 100 or 200 year old box. Nearly twenty years of looking at that thing though, it just doesn't seem to fit any method of relief carving that I've seen for carvings of that age. But I'm no expert on wood carvings, so I hope you're right.

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Doesn't appear to have centuries of patina.

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On 12/7/2018 at 12:14 PM, SloopJonB said:

Why would anyone need four leadlines? :ph34r:

These were made by the great artist Sasha Waits.

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22 hours ago, Mrleft8 said:

These were made by the great artist Sasha Waits.

I think that was Tom's cousin.

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Or maybe Jepara wood carving. They do al kind of stuff, like your box.

o1AJ9qDyyJNSpZWhUgGYc3MngFqoAN1JExUJ4vsZ

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On ‎12‎/‎7‎/‎2018 at 1:21 AM, chinabald said:

Kinda sorta. 

My father came back from WWII with a Japanese flag. Covering the flag were words written in Japanese.

What we didn’t know was these flags were signed by family and neighbors and given to soldiers as good luck. American soldiers and Marines often took them from bodies. 

A couple of years ago there was a story going around about a Marine from my father’s unit who was still alive and wanted to return he flag he kept to the family. It turns out there is a group that does this. The Obon Society. They found family members and this 90+ year old marine went to Japan and gave them the flag and told them of their brother’s death and where he was. They had zero info on what had happened.  I posted links to this Marine’s story back then. 

So my brother found the one my father brought home and we agreed it should be returned. We sent it to the Oban society. No news on whether they found the family it belongs to. 

https://www.apnews.com/02c6fc4141b3413c909f7143fe00010e 

Here is the story. My father, was in this guy’s unit. In fact he was with him when this happened. 

That's cool, nice to see items returned to families that would mean little to anyone else. I imagine this must be a pretty common scenario when wars ended and it must have been a looting free for all.

My grandfather passed away recently and he had a Japanese sword, binoculars & periscope which he told my mother was taken from a deceased soldier.

While cleaning out his house, my parents and I agreed that it would be cool to return these to that soldiers family. But in reality how the hell would you find the owner for mass produced items like these? There must be millions of items like this stuffed away in peoples homes around the world. If anything when I look at the stains and scars on them its an eerie reminder that war sucks.

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On 12/6/2018 at 8:28 PM, 2slow said:

Bronze statues!!??  Wow, that is a rare haul, not many Greek or Roman bronzes survived (unless they were lost like the ones on your farm).

What is the reasoning behind the antiquities being returned to your family only if the current "owners" fail to give them to British Museum upon death?

 

Any pictures?

my old man has the original hard-copy pictures that were offered to the British Museum back in 1989 or so. Stunning.

Need to get him to scan them in!!

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7 hours ago, LeoV said:

Or maybe Jepara wood carving. They do al kind of stuff, like your box.

o1AJ9qDyyJNSpZWhUgGYc3MngFqoAN1JExUJ4vsZ

Thank you, I had a look at some of that, genuinely gorgeous carvings, really unique look and method. Do you own any? I like the historical carved scenes from there.

I asked an antiquities guy about the patina, he said it's more common for old wood carved pieces not to have patina than to have it, especially ossuary boxes which are often stored away in the dark and rarely have anything applied to them.

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1 hour ago, Oscar Whitbread said:

. If anything when I look at the stains and scars on them its an eerie reminder that war sucks.

War does indeed suck......on so many levels.

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2 hours ago, mikewof said:

Thank you, I had a look at some of that, genuinely gorgeous carvings, really unique look and method. Do you own any? I like the historical carved scenes from there.

I asked an antiquities guy about the patina, he said it's more common for old wood carved pieces not to have patina than to have it, especially ossuary boxes which are often stored away in the dark and rarely have anything applied to them.

They'll still have a patina. Dust, damp,  insects..even stored in a cave.

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3 hours ago, mikewof said:

Thank you, I had a look at some of that, genuinely gorgeous carvings, really unique look and method. Do you own any? I like the historical carved scenes from there. 

I asked an antiquities guy about the patina, he said it's more common for old wood carved pieces not to have patina than to have it, especially ossuary boxes which are often stored away in the dark and rarely have anything applied to them.

Hi, no do not own one, but here in the Netherlands that kind of furniture is well known, as Indonesia was an old Dutch colony. Many old folks have one in their attic, but mostly smaller then yours.

quick google; Action houses;
https://www.twentsveilinghuis.nl/nl/kist_met_snijwerk_indonesisch/l/100572
https://www.twentsveilinghuis.nl/nl/indonesische_kist/l/58499

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6 hours ago, Shortforbob said:

They'll still have a patina. Dust, damp,  insects..even stored in a cave.

If it was stored in a damp cave, it wouldn't be a box, it would be a pile of gunk. The limestone ones were stored in caves, the wooden ones were stored in homes. My SO bought a 300 year old Chinese table, that one wasn't looted, the color of the wood on the outside was the same as the color on the unexposed wood. No patina. Could it be maybe that the application of wax and sealants and oils to wood that create patina isn't a universal thing across all cultures? 

Patina isn't a feature of the wood, it's the result of people rubbing stuff on the wood.

Anyway, the main reason I started the process on this box is because I realized gradually that the story the dealer told me was most definitely incorrect. I have no idea of the origins or age of that box, but I suspect that a hundred year old box from India is unlikely to be retrofitted with hundred year old hinges and screws. It's possible, but it doesn't make sense. I can't imagine some Indian person or a British person buying a box with that much labor, and then do the most ham-handed retrofit I've ever seen soon afterwards. I guess it's possible though.

And in 15 years of internet searching, I've never seen a box with similar type of relief carving. But those Indonesian ones seem to come closest.

Meli, if you could find a similar one with some provenance, I would be very grateful.

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4 hours ago, LeoV said:

Hi, no do not own one, but here in the Netherlands that kind of furniture is well known, as Indonesia was an old Dutch colony. Many old folks have one in their attic, but mostly smaller then yours.

quick google; Action houses;
https://www.twentsveilinghuis.nl/nl/kist_met_snijwerk_indonesisch/l/100572
https://www.twentsveilinghuis.nl/nl/indonesische_kist/l/58499

Gorgeous stuff in that link, is the Dutch language Euro price where the bidding starts or where it ended? 

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