‘The Oath of a Freeman’ forgery – $42,000 (£30,000) at Heritage.

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Notorious forgery takes $42,000

The ‘Oath of a Freeman’, one of the most infamous forgeries in US history, took a double estimate $42,000 (£30,000) at Heritage earlier this month.

Estimated at $20,000 in the June 9 auction, the anonymous buyer will pay $52,500 including premium (25/20/12% buyer’s premium).

It was sold by Justin Schiller, the antiquarian bookseller who in 1985 attempted to broker its sale for $1.5m.

The ‘Oath’ is considered to be the oldest printed document in English North America, produced in Cambridge, Massachusetts, c.1638.

No copy was thought to have survived – until 1985 when the Utah documents dealer (and master forger and convicted murderer) Mark Hofmann claimed to have discovered a copy in a New York bookstore.

Hofmann – the subject of a number of books and documentaries including the current Netf lix hit Murder Among the Mormons – pleaded guilty to two counts of second degree murder and is serving a life sentence in the Utah State Prison.

He later confessed to prosecutors that The Oath of a Freeman was an elaborate fabrication involving 17th century paper, printing ink created using a 400-year-old recipe and a manufactured printing plate.

Godetzky joins up with Chiswick

Dr Albert Godetzky

Dr Albert Godetzky of Chiswick Auctions.

Dr Albert Godetzky has joined Chiswick Auctions as head of Old Master paintings and works on paper. A specialist in 16th-18th century northern European art, he is currently associate lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where he will continue to teach when he starts at Chiswick.

Before joining the Courtauld, Dr Godetzky was the Harry M Weinrebe curatorial fellow at the National Gallery. He has also worked with several private collectors of Old Masters.

Duval appointed at Dublin saleroom

Thibault Duval

Thibault Duval has joined Adam’s.

Dublin auction house Adam’s has appointed Thibault Duval as head of its newly formed Asian art department.

He trained at museums including the Louvre and worked at auction houses such as Artcurial. He is a member of the Société des Amis du Musée Guimet, Paris, and the London Oriental Ceramic Society.

Duval’s first sale at Adam’s, a two-day event, will be held in late June.

It had been put together while Duval was in lockdown in France and finalised while he quarantined in a hotel in Dublin, once he had arrived in Ireland.

The Asian art auction comprises more than 500 lots consigned from a range of international collections.

CADA autumn fair dates confirmed

The Cotswold Art & Antiques Dealers’ Association Art and Antiques Fair at Compton Verney has been confirmed for the autumn. The event will take place on October 14-17, postponed from 2020.

Keglevich now at Ketterer Kunst

Nicola Keglevich

Countess Nicola Keglevich has joined Ketterer Kunst.

German auction house Ketterer Kunst has appointed a former director and head of Sotheby’s in Munich.

Countess Nicola Keglevich will join the executive team from August as senior director for strategy and internationalisation.

Keglevich was with Sotheby‘s for almost 15 years. Prior to this she worked for international art advisory firm Gurr Johns.

BADA organises special events week

The British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA) plans a week-long set of events in the autumn for members.

BADA Week 2021 will be a gallery-based celebration with talks and exhibitions across the UK in members’ galleries, at fairs and in pop-up spaces.

It will run from October 11-17 and is designed to “highlight the diverse and outstanding membership”.

Kathryn Singer, BADA director of strategy and operations, said: “This year has naturally led to an ongoing focus on web presence, but as restrictions ease we want to highlight the benefit of visiting our members’ exciting diversity of galleries, exhibition spaces, collections and specialities in person.”

More details of events, collaborations and partnerships will be announced in due course.

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In Numbers


The estimate of Lucien Freud’s picture of David Hockney which will be offered in the British art evening sale: Modern/Contemporary at Sotheby’s in London on June 29.

David Hockney by Lucian Freud

Lucien Freud’s picture of David Hockney will be offered at Sotheby's.

It was completed in 2002 when Freud was almost 80 and Hockney 65. The pair had met in 1962 and were friends. The portrait was created in the months leading up to Freud’s critically acclaimed retrospective at Tate Britain. Unseen in public since Freud’s 2012 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, it will appear at auction for the first time.