Friday, December 20, 2013

Consignors to Remain Anonymous

The New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, has ruled that auction houses can maintain the anonymity of consignors to auctions in the state.

As the New York Times has observed:

Anonymity is often prized in such transactions as a matter of personal privacy. It also and allows institutions quietly to sell items from their collections that they no longer need. In some cases it can also cloak the embarrassment of debt or help sellers avoid setting off family conflicts over the disposition of inherited assets.

In contrast, commentators in the archaeological blogosphere had hoped the lower court's ruling, requiring the identities of consignors to be disclosed, would stand.    But why would they want this information other than to harass the sellers of "cultural property" they believe should be repatriated.  So, its probably  a good thing the Court of Appeals has ruled as it did. 

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