Sunday, March 16, 2008

Artifacts up for auction to pay debt (David Giffels)

What was once a bright constellation in the universe of art and antiquities is disintegrating in an online auction, mouse-click by mouse-click, in a major step toward satisfying millions of dollars of an Akron collector's debt.

The continuing fall of Bruce Ferrini from international prominence is being documented in real time, as eBay-style bids creep upward on 153 items, many of them ancient religious artifacts.

A 2,800-year-old strip of linen mummy wrap, inscribed with text from the Book of the Dead. Current bid (as of Friday afternoon): $1.

A Babylonian pottery vessel, approximately 3,800 years old, valued at $3,000 to $5,000. Current bid: $150.

Ferrini owes some $5 million to a long international list of creditors. Mainly because of the eclectic nature of the collection and the controversy attached to its architect, this auction has been more than two years in the making.

The assets were seized in late summer of 2005. Despite the quality of the goods, the major, mainstream auction houses shied away. The sale is being conducted by the Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries, with the items on view at Arte Primitivo Gallery in New York City. Online bidding will continue until the close of business Wednesday.

See the above page for the full story.

1 comment:

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