Thursday, 11 December 2008

You've bought your antiquity - now what?

Once you have decided to buy an antiquity at auction or from a dealer you may think you can sit back and relax - but consider the implications.

You are now the proud custodian of (like Rolls Royce you never truly "own") an ancient artwork.
So how do you get it home or to your office?

An anecdotal tale which should serve as a warning - on UK television awhile back ( I don't remember the exact details) an English couple were moving to Spain to open an art gallery. Having spent c£50,000 on glass sculptures they then relied on a regular household removal firm to deliver their stock for the opening of the gallery. Not surprisingly the works were a) delayed and b) broken.

Art handling is a specialist skill and there are plnety of expert companies around to assist you, so shop around and get the best quote. Of course, if buying small artworks you may be able to carry thom home yourself on the plane, by car or even the train. However, if you want a sculpture professionally installed in your home and don't know whether or not you require an export licence, let the experts worry for you. All good commercial galleries and public museums trust them, so why shouldn't you? They even have bonded warehouses to please the customs.

Export licences for antiquities are tricky things in the UK at present becuase of the 'Waverley Criteria' and zero-rating, which I will explain soon.

For now we recommend the following for UK clients:

Gander and White
Constantine Ltd
Martinspeed Ltd
Ward Thomas

Good Luck

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

DeMystifying the Auction Process 2: Buying

Yesterday Christie's New York held its bi-annual Antiquities and Ancient Jewelry sales and today was the turn of Sotheby's NY for their bi-annual specialist auction. AS record prices continue to be achieved for exceptional antiquities perhaps it is time to get down to the practicalities of buying at auction.

The process of buying works like this. You register your personal details and interests with the auction house prior to the sale in which you are interested. The auction house runs a credit check to make sure you can pay for your purchases then activates an account for you.

Viewings are held the week before an auction where you may inspect the lots to be sold in person. Catalogues arepublished in printed form and on-line up to a month before the sale where you may begin to assess pieces which may be of potential interest.

Auction lots are sold to the highest bidder and this may be done in several ways, You may attend the auction in person where you will be given a paddle with your bidder number which you show clearly to the auctioneer when you are bidding. It is a myth that if you scratch your nose during an auction you will be committed to buying a $50,000,000 Picasso - Auctioners are not stupid!

Each auction catalogue also has an absentee bid form in the back. You may leave a written bid with the auctioneer prior to the sale if you cannot attend in person or send an agent such as myself to act on your behalf. Remember however, you are more likely to lose out to a bidder who can attend in person.

You may also register for a telephone bid which must be booked in advance of the sale. The auction house will call you two or three lots before the item/s in which you are interested and you can confirm your highest bid in person.

Remember, staff are very helpful and there to answer your questions within reason. Particulalry important when dealing with antiquities, you may ask for photographs and crucially, condition reports on any item before deciding to purchase.

Remember not to get carried away and bid more than is reasonable (the printed estimates in the catalogue are a useful guide to the value of an artwork), or more than you can afford.

This is the crucial trade secret- remember DEALERS BUY STOCK AT AUCTION! If you are a novice collector, this is no bad thing as it is an extra guarantee of authenticity and quality as the pieces you buy will have been assessed by auction house staff and the dealer. The downside is you would have got the item cheaper at auction than paying the dealers mark-up.

Remember, auctions are public sales - do not be put off by posh salerooms or intimidated by front of house staff or experts, they are there to help you.

A final crucial point regarding the auction process - whether buying or selling you will pay a commision to the auction house (currently 20-25% of the hammer price) plus VAT, storage and delivery charges so remember your budget must take account of these extra charges.

Happy hunting, but be warned - the auction houses cannot always be releid upon to spot the forgeries and the dud's. Think very carefully before investing your hard earned cash!


Sunday, 7 December 2008

De-Mystifying the Auction Process 1. The Catalogue

So far we have delved into some pretty heavy topics. We don't want the reader to feel overwhelmed so lets get back to the practical advice for a moment.

Again, I hope not to alienate the reader, but sometimes it is helpful to approach topics that may be considered as a given with fresh eyes.

What is an auction? An auction is a publicly advertised sale whereby single items or groups of associated artefacts are organised into 'Lots' to be sold. The price of each 'Lot' is not fixed but estimates are given by the auction house to guide the purchaser in deciding what an item may be worth. The guide price is usually given within a specified range in the Local currency of the saleroom (e.g. £150-200) and may also be given in other currencies if the sale is marketed internationally.

It may seem blindingly obvious, but a sale catalogue is a means of advertising. It is produced with the specific intention of marketing the lots in a given auction before the sale. The star item (usually the most valuable economically) is prominently advertised on the cover (Don't even think about bidding unless your name is George Ortiz or Sheikh Al-Thani).

The prime aim of the auction house is to sell the star item. Everything else is to a greater or lesser degree, secondary.

The more important items will be towards the front of the catalogue (i.e. single item lots) and lesser lots (i.e. low value multiples) wilbe pushed to the back, depending on sub-categories.

Auction catalogues may be specialist (i.e. dedicated to a single collection or type of object such as antiquities) or general. Usually specialist sales are held by major auction houses and general sales by provincial auctioneers.

After the sale, prices realised are published in a list of 'auction results'.

The auction house' conditions of sales are also provided in the sale catalogue and you will need to understand how the auction itself functions before bidding.


Friday, 5 December 2008

Museums and the "Velvet Rope"

Having made Lisa miss the "Treasures of Isis" exhibition at the 'Springsonian' Museum, Homer breaks into the museum to prove to his little girl that reckless acts can be rewarding. Having broken in Homer goes to step over a museum barrier when Lisa stops him with an anguished cry, "We cant' touch it's behind a velvet rope", with eyes glazed and a sense of awe in her voice she caresses the barrier and repeats, "a velvet rope".

Now the Simpsons may seem an unlikely source for discussing the role of museums as the guardians of word heritage - but the writers of 'The Simpsons' have hit the nail on the head when it comes to our attitude to the barriers, both physical and metaphorical which seperate those supposed to be encouraged to engage with history and share in the collective responsiblity for its preservation (i.e. the public) and those that actually act as the guardians of the past, whether they are museum curators, government appointed officials or private collectors.

There is a common expression in English that "a museum is a dangerous place" and unfortunately there are countless examples to back up this assumption.

We trust museums to act as guardians of heritage goods, not to allow visitors to pour a can of Coke over an Egyptian statue to see if the acid really will destroy the stone (it did) or allow visitors to trip over their shoelaces and smash priceless Chinese vases 'by accident'. Unfortunately these incidents are actual cases, not metaphorical.

Perhaps worse than both these cases is the apparent deliberate act of vandalism carried out on the Koptos Lions by the British Egyptologist, Flinders Petrie. It would appear that unable to export these unique examples of monumental predynastic sculpture he took a hammer and chisel to them and exported them as an assortment of unimportant stone fragments (see Barbara Adams book 'The Koptos Lions').

Museums all too readily excuse the behaviours of early collectors as past and yet tar collectors with the same brush.

Museums are founded on the good will of private donors. The British Museum has the Hamilton Vase collection, the Salt Collection, etc, the Fitzwilliam Museum has the Gayer-Anderson Collection, the list is endless.

Private collectors can take an ethical approach to collecting without being held accountable for current looting crises by the professional museum community.
In a worrying development of public censorship the latest issue of Minerva (Vol 19 No 6, Nov/Dec 2008, p.63) reports that despite James Cuno being hotly tipped as the favourite to replace Phillip de Montebello as Director of the Met Museum, NY, the position has gone to Thomas P. Campbell, Curator of Textiles, in case you were wondering.
It's not like the Met to bo concerned with ethics and antiquities (read Thomas Hoving's autobiography, 'Making the Mummies Dance'). Look at the saga of the Euphronius Krater to name but one. After all, they are happy to display The Levy-White Collection which still has the 'Icklingham Bronzes', known to be looted from a farmer's field in Suffolk, England.
In the same issue, Minerva also reports that "American Association of Museums Sets Stricter Guidelines for the Acquisition of Antiquities" (p. 7). Coincidence - I think not!


Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Sources: Get Informed 2 (web resources)

The World Wide Web is awash with information of varying quality and the ancient art market is not alone. Like any academic area of research, test the quality of your sources and favour those prepared by known professionals.

Naturally it is common practice these days for individual dealers to have their own websites, but how do you find them and evaluate their credentials?

The main trade organisations have their own websites and we recommend you identify potential suppliers through these memberships. In the UK many dealers, including auction houses are members of the Antiquities Dealers Association (ADA) and a list of members is available at

Obviously my comments are aimed at the UK market, but the majority of significant dealers and galleries are located in the USA and Europe. Do not let this put you off - great art is worth travelling for as long as the exchange rate holds up. The main dealers, including some UK dealers are represented by the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA).

Royal Athena Galleries are members of both organisations and a major supplier of ancient art to suit all pockets, catering to both the London and New York markets. Their current 'Art of the Ancient World catalogue 2009' is available to download as a pdf at

It is important to remember however, codes of conduct and membership are voluntary regulations, not legal requirements. Not all dealers who are not members should therefore be considered supect, in fact some of the best galleries are harder to identify because they are not affiliated with either organisation.

Dealers who sell exceptional works of ancient art legitimately but are not members of trade associations (as far as we can confirm) are The Merrin Gallery, USA, The Safani Gallery, USA and Barakat Galleries, London, Beverley Hills and Abu Dhabi.

In the last ten years the IADAA members have developed two significant ancient art fairs in Europe. The Basel Ancient Art Fair is held in November and the Brussels Ancient Art Fair held in June For the novice collector this is the ideal opportunity to compare dealers stock in one place and make informed decisions on investment.

Auctions are the other main market for antiquities and details of specialist auctions can be found at, and Other antiquities sales are held by Jean David Cahn of Switzerland

Christie's and Sotheby's both have specialist auctions imminent for New York based collectors. Christie's sales of ancient art and ancient Jewellery are on December 9th and Sotheby's antiquities sales is on December 10th.

Remember, auctions are highly publicised and competetive markets.

We have already mentioned the website for a community of dealers to advertise their stock but be warned this needs experience and knowledge to negotiate.

Antiquities auction results are provided by Carter Horsley at

Having promoted the market, information on the illict trade can be found at the following websites:

The Illicit Antiquities Research Centre (IARC) was a ten year investigative project by the McDonald Institute of the University of Cambridge from 1987-1997. Their website still contains downloadable copies of the journal "Culture Without Context".

Saving Antiquities For Everyone (SAFE) An American organisation founded by the Lawyer Rick St Hilaire, also has up to date news stories and publications.

In England, the Institute of Art and Law (IAL) provides relevant publications and conferences.

Finally, try not to rely on Wikipedia, it's not worth it!


Monday, 1 December 2008

Sources: Get Informed 1 (print publications)

While there are countless publications on both popular and academic archaeology, aside from dealer and auction catalogues, informed publications on the antiquities trade are rather rare.

I hope this introduction to sources will allow the reader to develop their knowledge at their own pace without losing sight of what is currently important.

We have already mentioned Charles Ede: Guide to Collecting Antiquities published by Hollington Books of London is the only general guide to antiquities so far produced.

Dr Jerome Eisenberg of Royal Athena planned an Encyclopedia of Egyptian Antiquities but so far I have not been able to ascertain whether it was ever produced or not.

We have also mentioned MINERVA magazine as the main trade publication, details available at

Auction and dealer catalogues are the best sources for information on the current market and I will come on to these when recommending Web sources.

The current situation in Iraq has led to a heightened awareness of looting and the best book at the moment is "Who Owns Antiquity?" by James Cuno, published by Princeton University Press.

Lord Renfrew is the leading academic opponent of the ancient art trade and Duckworth published the script of an influential lecture he gave on the subject as "Loot, Legitimacy and Ownership". (Irony is, if you want to be taken sserously as an academic it more difficult when your title is "Disney Professor" at the "Mcdonald Institute"!) Trust me he si very passionate about his belief in the harm the antiquities trade causes to archaeology.

What no one has questioned so far is the right of archaeologists to determine the fate of our shared cultural heritage. After all, arhcaeology is by nature a destructive process and the value of academic publication is highly subjective.

The dark underbelly of the trade is exposed in the works of Peter Watson and others. The main books to read (in order, to follow the thread) are "Sotheby's Inside Story" (Bloomsbury), "Stealing History: The Illicit Trade in Cultural Material" (With Doole and Brodie - available as free download at IARC website

and "The Medici Conspiracy" (with Cecilia Todischini).

To date, Jonathan Tokeley's "Rescuing the Past: the Cultural Heritage Crusade" (Imprint Academic) is the only book written by an individual involved in the illicit trade and is a fantastic, insightful and thought provoking read.

We would also recommend you read S.R.M. McKenzie's "Going Going Gone, Regulating the Market in Illcit Antiquities" (Leicester: IAL), Patrick O'Keefe's "Trade in Antiquities: Reducing Destruction and Theft" (Archetype) and Kathryn Walker Tubb (ed.) "Antiquities: Trade or Betrayed?" (Archetype). Tubb also has an up to date article in Vol 18 of the Proceedings of the Institute of Archaeology (2007), available direct from the institute

There are several other publications and fuller lists are available at the IARC and SAFE websites.

To finish, if you want a taster of the current debate before delving into these texts I found this link to a radio interview on the Saving Antiquities for Everyone (SAFE) website.


Sunday, 30 November 2008

Why not Contemporary Art?

This might seem a bit of a sideline off the main topic, but in persuading you that ancient art is the best investment, you may be asking yourself why everyone is caught up with contemporary art at present?

According to Forbes Magazine, Legendary Hedge Fund Manager Michael Steinhardt 'recognised the value' of antiquities and assembled one of the world's biggest collections. Now the biggest is not necessarily the best and I hope he took sensible advice on which antiquities to buy.

Similarly, when the British Rail Pension Fund decided to nivest part of their portfolio in the Art Market, they stuck with tried and tested markets, namely Old Master Paintings and Antiquities. They did not rush into the purchase of contemporary art.

Charles Saatchi has been instrumental in persuading the UK art market that contemporary is not just fashionalbe, but also a good investment. However, unless you have the influence to buy up entire degree shows and manufacture the next Banksy, it will always remain a risk.

In a recent discussion with a member of Tate's board who decide on purchases I learn't that even museums are trying to second guess who the next big artist will be. Unfortunately they are spending their collections budgets on unknown artists, then getting lumbered with worthless artworks as the artists career nosedives and they dont have a disposal policy that allows them to get shot of the works.

This is not a diatribe against the Tate however, but a warning that even arts professionals cannot reliably control such an amorphous beast as the art market. In 2004, the Arts Council commissioned a report to find out why more people do not invest in contemporary art. The report, 'Taste Buds' by Morris Hargreaves Mcintyre found that even high net worth individuals are intimidated by the dealer system and confused by the scale of the contemporary market.

If you are a novice and wnat to know what makes a good investment I would say this. Contemporary art does exactly what it says on the tin. A Banksy may cost you £20,000 at auction today but when he's no longer fashionable he may be worth £20.00. That's not to say it will definitely happen, but its a frightening possibility.

Of course If you are a museum curator playing with tax payers money or donations from wealthy patrons, you can afford to take the risk. After all you won't go to prison for a bad investment. Smuggle antiquities out of a source country and you can at least expected to be arrested at gunpoint when reentering the country

I will get to the ethical and legal considerations shortly, but first let me just say there is something magical about holding a complete predynastic pottery vessel that still shows the fingerprints from when the clay was wet during the manufacture that has survived for five thousand years or more.

If Egyptian antiquities were collected by Roman emperors and we have based our civilization, not to mention our art on Classical traditions, I think it is fair to say this is at least a tried and tested accepted standard of aesthetic beauty that is unlikely to become unfashionable any time soon.

As a rule of thumb, on average antiquities rise 10% in value every year and double in value every ten years. This is of course for significant artworks. Buy a scarab from a dealer and you are paying retail price against wholesale auction price so it is unlikely to ever be worth what you paid for it.

I like and admire Banksy's work (the streat cleaner steaming the cave paintings off the walls is my favourite) and even some of Damien Hirst's art I find quite interesting but if I have to put my money where my mouth is I will still choose a classical statue or Egyptian relief any day of the week.

Friday, 28 November 2008

What defines 'Ancient Art'?

In my last entry I described in detail my interpretation of what is meant by an antiquity. This was based on academic and professional understanding of both archaeology and the ancient art market.

This may have got somewhat confusing, so in comparison I will try and keep this entry succinct and to the point. You may notice some dealers describe their stock as 'antiquities' and other describe themselves as sellers of 'ancient art'. There is no great myster about the difference. It is primarliy an aesthetic judgement, although money also has a lot to do with the definitions.

An antiquity may be an example of 'ancient art' if it is aesthetically pleasing and/or historically important. All works of 'ancient art' are by definition antiquities, but not all 'antiquities' are of an aesthetic quality to be considered 'ancient art'.

Perhaps the most important point to remember is these definitions are modern, and made by a trade dependent on selling to a relatively small market. The ancient civilizations from which 'ancient art' and 'antiquities' originate, on the whole do not even have the concept of an artist.

The artist as a nmaed individual first appears on Greek vases. Even if a name is not known such as the Euphronius Krater, vases may still be identified as 'art' becuase the style can be attributed to a school or painter, e.g the Micali Painter.

Egyptian and Near Eastern art may be considered aesthetically pleasing by current collectors and museums, but the 'artists' were in fact craftsmen, working to standard canons of representation for specific buiding projects e.g. the decoration of a temple or tomb.

It is certainly true that all antiquities range in quality and importance, but this you will only be able to work out for yourself with detailed knowledge and experience of museum collections, private collections and the ancient art market. I suggest you look at published catalogues of dealers such as 'Art of the Ancient World', published by Royal Athena Galleries and the various catalogues of Rupert Wace Ltd of London, amongst others. These will give you fine examples of 'ancient art'. Compare to museum and exhibition catalogues such as 'Pharaoh's of the Sun' and 'In Pursuit of the Absolute - Masterpieces of Ancient Art from the George Ortiz Collection'.

Above all remember, you wil be unlikely to be in a position to form a collection of ancient art to equal George Ortiz, or the hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt, but that does not mean you have to settle for poor quality antiquities which are more common than dealers would have you believe.

Our mantra will remain the same throughout this Blog, buy the best you can afford and trade up whenever possible. A reputable dealer will give you the same advice.

Above all, dont be intimidated by the Bond Street image of the market.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Back to Basics

I would not be so presumptious as to assume I have a readership yet, but one can remain ever hopeful. I hope readers who are attracted to the subject will have some knowledge of the current ancient art market an the issues surrounding it, but I will not presume this from the outset.

Even if you are familiar with the current debate, whether from an academic or archaeological perspective, as a dealer or collector immersed in the trade, it does no harm to go back occasionally and remind ourselves of a few simple facts.

I hope to introduce more complex issues such as export controls and legal instruments affecting cultural property, the history of the market and advice on the various ways into the market, but for now I think it best to begin by reminding ourselves of a few basic facts. If you are new to the subject of antiquities I hope this is helpful and less overwhelming than beginning with an analysis of government legislation.

So the first question I want to address is simply what is an antiquity?

Antiquity is a term that is applied to the physical culture of ancient history, Greece, Rome, Egypt, the Near East are all civlizations we associate with 'antiquity'. Consequently the market in antiquities is the trade in the phyiscal remains from the civlizations of antiquity, the dim and distant past way beyond living memory and in some cases beyond recorded history.

If you are a fan of The Antiques Roadshow, Flog It or some such television guide to antiques, you may understand the term 'antique' to be anything over one hundred years old. Whatever the dealers tell you, anything else is a 'collectible'. Just as an antique must by definition be over a hundred years old, so an 'antiquity' must be over a thousand years old, and most are considerably older.

An antiquity is not just a question of age, and this is where the art market and professional archaeology differ in their approach to remains of past civilizations. By definition an archaeologist must consider anything found within an arhcaeological context as potentially significant for understanding human behaviour of the past. This includes what a Roman soldier ate for lunch while patrolling Hadrian's Wall or even the plants and animals that made up the physical environment during early settlement and migration patterns.

An antiquity is more specific. It is the phyiscal remains certainly, but importantly includes only the artefacts which show the signs of use and manufacture, that is human intervention. Conversely - and confusinlgy for the beginner, ancient coinage forms a different area of research in both the market and academia so 'antiquities' are further limited to objects and artefacts made by humankind, other than coins.

Some examples, a Roman or Anglo Saxn brooch such as the important collection amassed by Reverend Richard Hattat, weapons and armour as represented by the highly significant Axel Guttman collection, parts of buidings such as carved timbers or stone releifs, but not buidings themselves, and any object from Roman pottery bowls to flint had axes.

Generally speaking the time frame for antiquities differs from civilization to civilization but will include the stone tools and implements, not to mention the clothing of early human hunter-gatherer societies up until the brooches and clothes pins of Medieval Europe, although most cultures will consider antiquity to be older than the Medieval Period. Egyptian antiquities for example include Coptic manuscripts and decorative woolen fragments of ceremonial clothes from the early church, but as Islam is alive and well in Egypt (as is the Coptic church incidentally), Medieval Islamic art will not be considered antiquities (although confusingly the Supreme Council for Antiquities, Egypt's government body responsible for ancient monuments, does now have responsibility for preserving Medieval buildings as well).

Now that's as clear as mud I hope. Of course this is a simplification, but I hope it will get you thinking about what we mean when academics or antiquities dealers talk about something as 'an antiquity'. If you have ideas of your own, please share them.

Next I hope to differentiate between 'antiquities' and 'ancient art' before moving on to a short history of the market. I must stress I am endeavouring to prevent a balanced overview of the current antiquities trade and have no political agenda to promote or refute. I hope you wil find my Blog insightful and useful.


Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Introduction to the ancient art market

It constantly amazes me that high net worth individuals will pick over contracts with a fine tooth comb when it comes to buying a house, car or anything else the general public has an awareness of. Yet when it comes to investing in the art market, particularly the ancient art market, known to be plagued with forgeries and low grade tat, they trust their 'instincts'.

You want proof - I recently met an American collector and casually asked him who he took advice from when buying antiquities. His answer - "I've been collecting for thirty years - I don't need advice from anybody"!

Now, you have to be supicious of anyone who doesn't take advice right! Bearing in mind that Bolton City Council and the Art Fund funded the purchase of the Greenhalgh 'Nefertiti' (a poor copy of the Louvre sandstone Nefertiti with way too big hips, even for the Amarna period) and the British Museum were prepared to take on face value that the same family, living on a council estate in the north of England had also 'inherited' Assyrian reliefs from the palaces of Nineveh, we all need to consult other authorities occasionally.

An honest appraisal of the pitfalls of the antiquities market is provided by Helios Gallery, a respectabl member of the Antiquities Dealers Association (ADA) in their e-Bay guide to collecting antiquities. "We all get caught out sometimes" - its the nature of the beast.

If you are new to the market in antiquities, I will be happy to share what I know about UK and international laws and the ethics of collecting Cultural Goods. I will happily point out the controversial nature of the trade and not hide the vocal opposition amongst the academic archaeological community. Collectors and investors should, after all be fully aware of the issues surrounding the market before getting involved.

To conclude - The place to start in order to get an overview of the current market is Minerva Magazine: The International Review of Ancient Art and Archaeology, but be aware it is owned and run by the owner's of Royal Athena Galleries/Seaby, major players in the ancient art trade. This is no bad thing, but you should be aware of this interest. The standard book on the subject is Collecting Antiquities: "An Introductory Guide" by Charles Ede, one of the leading London dealers. Now rather outdated it is still a good all round introduction and there has been nothing to replace it yet.

Also, and this may not be immediately obvious, but visit as many museums and exhibitions and read as widely as possible in order to familairise yourself not just with the market, but with antiquity in general. Unlike our American cousin, the more you know, the better you will be able to evaluate the potential of an antiquity for purchase/investment.

There are a lot of fakes out there and we will conclude by suggesting you stay well clear of e-Bay until you know your market, although it is a useful resource for cheap reference books to help you develop your knowledge. A trade secret - Invaluable is just what it says. Current and archived auction lots are available for research at but you must be serious enough to subscribe to make full use of this invaluable research tool no matter what your area of interest.

If you must venture into e-Bay territory, the only advice I can give at this stage is initially look to dealers who are independently established and recognised by the trade through membership of a regulatory body. I do not wan't to give the impression I am somehow promoting one dealer, but Helios Gallery comes to mind as they have been around a fair while, provide antiquities of interest to the lower end of the market and first time collectors, are members of the ADA and sell on e-Bay.

I will begin to reccomend other markets and galleries in my next blog.


Monday, 24 November 2008

About Me

To start at the beginning, following an early interest in archaeology I began collecting antiquities as a teenager having found a dealer listed in Exchange and Mart of all places. My professional interest in the market began at University College London where I gained a BA in Ancient History and an MA in Egyptian Archaeology before deciding my interests lay in the ancient art market rather than academic archaeology. I spent three years working for a provincial museum on the cataloguing and exhibiton of their archaeological and ethnographic collections. However, I do not think hordes of schoolchildren gawping at mummies is a respectful use of the past. Following the MA at UCL I worked in the art trade for a few years before undertaking a professional MA in Arts Market Appraisal at Kingston University which I have just completed. This course is accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). I am now considering the possiblity of a PhD in the ancient art market. Having realised small antiquities are not a good investment, I reinvested my collections through a well known London auction house and am now on the look out for that one special ancient art treasure. having spent the last two years watching the antiquities market and studying the legal and ethical background and controversies, I hope to be able to offer practical advice to the novice collector and investor.