July 12, 1998
One of the joys of writing a personal newsletter like this one, a newsletter that's mine alone, with no advertising, and no selling your name and address to anyone ever, is that if I flake out or disappear or something for a couple of days, no one is going to fire me. So, this weekend having been the one on which we held our annual bash at the country house, I had to skip town in a hurry on Friday morning. My intentions were good. I took the laptop with me. But it was overly optimistic of me to think I'd have a moment to write to you, much as I love to do that, with all the hubbub in the house, and three house guests besides. So here we are on Monday morning, we've just arrived home, and I have rushed to the desk top to send you the newsletter!
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF COULDN'T THEY JUST STAND A FEW EGGS ON END AND BE
DONE WITH IT?
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago held a Summer Solstice Celebration on June 19. The celebration, 24 hours long, included an artist who spread broken glass and metal on the floor, lay down and asked passersby to stand on his chest. As you might imagine, people weren't all that eager to accommodate the gentleman. Finally, a conservative business type volunteered, whereupon the artist burst into operatic song. Also, women in blue tossed carrots into the air to the accompaniment of country music. Museum spokespeople said that showcasing performance art in real art galleries makes art accessible to everyone. This may be so, as 1500 people showed up for the eight hour marathon dance party that featured a battle of the DJs.
MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE USED IT TO COVER YOUR OWN BUTT DEPARTMENT
Try to follow this: Francisco Iglesias was the Panamanian Consul General. This gave him diplomatic immunity. In 1987 a bunch of looters stumbled upon one of the richest graves in the Western Hemisphere, one of the ten royal tombs of Spain. Inside they found an artifact dating to the Moche civilization, which existed from 100BC to about 700 AD, which makes said artifact Pre-Incan. The item happened to be a golden armor back flap, or buttocks cover, the part of the armor that protected the warrior from attack from - well - behind, as it were.
The armor passed through the hands of private collectors and remained under cover until last year. At that time, two Florida smugglers were brilliant enough to try to sell it to two undercover FBI agents at a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. The FBI agents told the smugglers they were interested in purchasing the item, and arrangements were made to meet in Philadelphia, supposedly so an expert could examine the armor before the agents paid for it. The two hapless twits then smuggled the armor from Lima Peru, to Panama.
Here's where Iglesias comes in. Authorities believe he smuggled the piece via a flight from Panama to Newark, NJ, using his diplomatic passport to bypass US Customs. When the two smugglers arrived in Philadelphia, toting the "seat cover" with them, and having been driven there by Iglesias in a car with diplomatic plates, authorities say, they were promptly arrested by the FBI. Authorities also say that Iglesias used his diplomatic office in New York to display the armor for prospective customers, believing it would be safe to do because it was not officially on American soil. Upon the arrest of the other two, Iglesias resigned his diplomatic post.
He has now been indicted on charges of conspiracy, interstate
transportation of stolen property and smuggling. If Iglesias is convicted,
he can spend up to 20 years in prison and pay up to $750,000 in fines. And
the government of Peru is probably not all that pleased with him either.
WHY YOU SHOULD PAY THE RENT ON TIME
A collector whose collection was sold at one of those storage bin auctions in Cheshire, CT on April 29 wants to re-acquire his things. Items included a hand- painted full size panel bed c. 1808 with a small matching lift-top chest, nightstand and bureau; six hand-carved Swiss figures; a heart cutout chair; a curly maple rush seat chair; an arrow-back French chair; a drop leaf Sheraton table; a carved wood love seat; and a small pine and maple tavern table. If you have any information about these items, you may contact the buyer at (914)737-8768.
The Dedham Historical Society plans to reproduce a Dedham pottery plate currently in its museum collection. They own the Dedham trademark, so it will appear on the reproduction. The plate is called "The Turtles" and features four sets of turtles on the edge. It will carry a larger version of the Dedham trademark and will be marked as a reproduction, along with the year of production. The limited edition of 300 will be available for sale at $75 each plate until July 15. After that, it will be $85 each. For information, call (781)326-1385.
So, Accumulators, better late than never, I say. You will get another
newsletter this week, probably Thursday night, as we're headed back up to
the country on Friday morning. Nevertheless, this is a busy week ahead.
Take good care. Happy Hunting!
© 1998 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #49
U.S. Library of Congress
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