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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Rewards, A Mere Pipe Dream !!

Insurer offers reward for stolen masterpieces

A £15,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the return of seven irreplaceable ceramic works, stolen from the De Morgan Centre in West Hill.

Insurance company Tyler and Co, whose policy covers the works, took out an advert publicising the reward in the industry bible, Art and Antiques Trade Gazette, last Tuesday. The company has not yet received any information about the works, valued at £200,000.

Mark Dalrymple of Tyler and Co. said the reward was intended to catch the attention of dealers who might be offered the works.

He said: "We have done it because we want the pieces back. If you don't try you don't get."

But De Morgan curator Claire Longworth said it could be many years before the works were traced.

"There is always a buyer for everything and there are collectors who are not strictly kosher. We have got to sit back and wait. It can be a very long time just because thieves will keep things underground until things have cooled down," she said.

Anyone with information should call Wandsworth police on 020 8247 8748 or make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.

Art Hostage comments:

First of all lets get one thing clear.

Mark Dalrymple is not an insurer, he is an Art Loss Adjuster, and a very good one at that, one of the worlds finest.

Next, Art Hostage already knows the answer to this question, but a sceptical Public is still unsure.

"This reward, how does one actually collect?"

"What are the conditions required before Mark Dalrymple can pay out the £15,000?"

"How does an Antiques Dealer offered these stolen artworks help recover them without leaving themselves open to abuse, from both Police and Criminals?"

The Public are very sceptical about how to claim a reward and would like to have it spelt out clearly to them.

The clearest public statement from the art insurance industry outlining the conditions for rewards to be paid was an answer to a question posed when the Da Vinci was stolen from Scotland, see exchange below:

David Lee, the art critic and Editor of Jackdaw, said: “The Da Vinci Madonna stolen from Drumlanrig Castle in 2003 is so recognisable that thieves would have a better chance of selling the Crown Jewels.

“If they have a brain larger than a pickled onion they will park it in the back of a wardrobe and sit on it for a couple of years.

I suspect it will be offered eventually through a middleman at an amount tempting enough to an insurance company to pay a ‘reward’. ”

Reply From The Honourable Mr David Scully

Sir, You suggest that the Leonardo stolen from Drumlanrig Castle might “be offered eventually through a middleman at an amount tempting enough to an insurance company to pay a ‘reward’ ” (report, August 28).

It is illegal for an insurance company to pay a reward, without the express permission of the police.

Permission would not be given to pay anyone connected with the crime or any middleman.

As the largest insurer of art in the world, it is our unwavering company policy not to countenance ransoms, even if paid through middlemen.In any case, it would make absolutely no commercial sense for an insurer to pay such a “reward” as it would simply encourage the thieves to steal more art, thus diminishing our cultural heritage (and insurers’ profits) further.

Yours sincerely,

DAVID SCULLY(Underwriting Director),Axa Art Insurance,

106 Fenchurch Street,

London EC3M 5JE.

It would be nice, as a follow up, for Mark Dalrymple to give a clear and precise statement explaining what conditions are needed to claim a reward and then the public would know whether to involve themselves.

At least then there would be no ambiguity.

For those of you who cannot wait for the truth see below:

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