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Cologne Asian sale moves to Brussels

A month after its Stuttgart competitor Nagel said it would be holding Asian art sales outside Germany, Cologne auction house Lempertz has followed suit. The decision to move auctions to Brussels has been made in light of Germany’s cultural heritage bill (Kulturschutzgesetz), which came into force last August. Among its most outspoken critics was Henrik Hanstein, owner of Lempertz.

While Nagel is holding its sales in Salzburg, the move is not such a logistical upheaval for Lempertz.

The company has been represented in Brussels since 1985 and has held yearly sales of African and Oceanic art there since 1992.

Three years ago it opened its new premises in the Rue du Grand Cerf in the heart of the city, where the first Asian auction will be held on June 15, four days after Cultures – The World Arts Fair closes its doors in the Belgian capital.

Frieze outdoors

The Frieze London art fair is planning the capital’s largest outdoor exhibition in Regent’s Park across the summer months. In advance of the October contemporary art fair, a sculpture park will feature 20th and 21st century works by more than 20 artists.

Clare Lilley, the director of programmes at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, has selected the works and provides the commentary for an audio tour app available for download from July 5.

Titanic bidding battle for fur coat

A fur coat worn by a member of the crew of Titanic sold for £150,000 at Wiltshire saleroom Henry Aldridge & Son on April 22. It belonged to first class stewardess Mabel Bennett, who wore it as she escaped the 1912 sinking on Lifeboat No 5.

Last sold in 1999, it came with a family provenance and a letter from Bennett’s great-niece saying: “On her rescue from the Titanic she was in her nightdress and this coat was the first garment she snatched for warmth.”

The buyer at the Devizes sale was a UK collector.

The lot was accompanied by a copy of a photograph of Bennett and other staff members on the deck of the SS Lapland for the return voyage to Plymouth in which she can be seen wearing this very coat.

Coin dealer makes four appointments

Coin dealership Coincraft has welcomed four new members of staff and launched a new website.

Philip Skingley, formerly head of the book department at Spink & Son for over 20 years, has been brought on board to oversee the development of the website.

Jennifer Mulholland, also formerly of Spink, and more recently auction manager at Baldwin’s, joins to oversee the administration of the mail order team while Isabelle Marion will be heading the accounts department.

Christina MacDonald, who has previous experience in retail numismatics at Baldwin’s joins the Bloomsbury shop to develop her interest in ancient coins and antiquities.

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Detectorist finds Jaenberht penny

An Anglo-Saxon penny found by a metal detectorist will carry an estimate of £10,000-12,000 at Dix Noonan Webb on June 14-16.

Unearthed in September last year at Sheldwich, near Canterbury, the Jaenberht Penny is only the second known coin minted solely in the name of an 8th century archbishop of Canterbury.

It dates from a four-year period from 775-9 when Kent chose to reassert its independence from King Offa of Mercia.

The only other known specimen, found in 1993, is in the Yorkshire Museum in York.

Flipping good return in NZ


Portrait of Te Hei sold at Mossgreen-Webb.

A portrait of a Maori chief by New Zealand artist Charles F Goldie (1870-1947) more than doubled its money in the space of five months after returning to its homeland from the UK.

The 1941 oil on canvas, Pai Te Kai Paipa, or Portrait of Te Hei, featuring a pipe-smoking chief, was consigned by UK-based descendants of New Zealand-born officer Major Charles Passmore.

A New Zealand dealer bought the picture at a Lyon & Turnbull sale in November 2016 for £165,000 (£203,000 including buyer’s premium) and promptly consigned the picture to Mossgreen-Webb’s April sale in Auckland.

The portrait went to a local bidder in the room for NZ$740,000 (£390,000) against an estimate of NZ$500,000-700,000.

In Numbers


The difference between the price fetched by a Govaert Flinck (1615-60) painting sold at Christie’s New York on April 27 ($10.3m including premium) and the sum it made when last sold at auction back in 2011 at Christie’s London ($2.34m including premium).