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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Bill Reid Heist, Danger of Danegeld !! Updated !


No new tips on missing art
June 18, 2008

VANCOUVER -- The RCMP say no new tips have come in since they appealed last week for the safe return of two missing Bill Reid artworks, after the theft last month at Vancouver's Museum of Anthropology.

Constable Annie Linteau says investigators have received no new information from the public, despite an appeal by police for information on the two missing pieces - a gold eagle brooch and an argillite pipe panel.

Meanwhile, a media report suggests charges may never be laid in the case.

According to the CBC, a deal was worked out with the suspects, offering immunity or at least leniency if the artworks were recovered intact.

The report also says one of the Bill Reid items surfaced at a Vancouver pawn shop 24 hours after the May 23-24 theft, but was reclaimed by the person who brought it in after the intense media coverage surrounding the thefts.

Thirteen of the 15 items stolen from the museum were recovered in raids in Burnaby and New Westminster more than a week ago.

All of the Reid items were in good shape, according to police, but the three stolen pieces of Mexican jewellery had been dismantled.

Three suspects were taken in for questioning, but no charges were laid.

Art Hostage comments:

Information coming in, one last push guys, Danegeld first, then final return, otherwise

Norway will they return !!!

Rudyard Kipling Danegeld

IT IS always a temptation to an armed and agile nation,
To call upon a neighbour and to say:
"We invaded you last night - we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away."

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation to a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say:
"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray,
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say:

"We never pay any one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost,
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!"

Recent history of Danegeld

sound familiar Marsha ??

more to follow........................


Lynette Tien, are you being a good girl ??

Dale Fedoruk, are you being a good boy ??

Not to forget Lance and Angela !!
Hope it is not true the Bill Reid pipe has suffered damage ?

If the damage to the Pipe is preventing it being returned then don't worry it can be repaired, better back damaged, then not back at all !!

Lets put this whole episode to bed and see both the final Bill Reid icons returned, if the Eagle pin has not been already !!!

More to come.................. Careful, someone will get shot in the head !!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Bill Reid Theft Norway Connection !!!

Balume kashongwe your mom wants to know if you are alright ???

The guys in Norway are wondering about you !!!!

Aaron Syberg, feeling the heat yet ???

Gerald "Danny Boy" Blanchard, another fine mess to clear up !!!

RCMP, Have you advised the McMICHAEL CANADIAN COLLECTION. Kleinberg Toronto to conduct a fresh security assessment ??

********, have you been paid the reward yet, no, didn't think so !!!

To be continued..............................

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Bill Reid Mastermind Planning Next Heist, Even Bigger,The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Toronto !!!

Group of Seven in Danger !!

Art Hostage has some astonishing news coming from the Canadian Underworld.

Remember the early reports about the Bill Reid theft and the leading suspect was "Out of jail" on the night of the Bill Reid theft ?

Either Gerald "Danny Boy" Blanchard/ Aaron Syberg when they got back to jail were interrogated by a convicted Underworld Godfather, before telling the guys to hand the Bill Reid Icons back.

However, this information was relayed to the RCMP via a nominee so they could collect any reward and the RMCP attended the scene and recovered the Bill Reid Icons.

Now the Convicted Underworld Godfather will try and collect the reward via a proxy and the whole matter will then be swept under the carpet, not least because allowing either Gerald Danny Boy Blanchard or Aaron Syberg to be released, let alone released to commit Canada's biggest Cultural art heist, is embarrassing to say the least.

O'h boy, it gets allot worse, trust me.

Now the Bill Reid Icons have nearly all been recovered, Gerald "Danny Boy" Blanchard/Aaron Syberg are looking to the future.

What is the next target for the Blanchard Gang ?

Art Hostage has been given details, interested ?

Apparently, The McMichael Canadian Art Collection houses paintings by the so-called "Group of Seven" which would attract an even bigger outcry, and even bigger reward.

It is in a place called Kleinburg near Toronto and Blanchard/Syberg have been given details to work on a sophisticated heist.

Although Blanchard and Syberg may have fallen out over certain things, when it comes to the bottom line a Modus Vivendi will work.

It must be said however, that whilst in jail both Blanchard and Syberg have been offered many heists, some rejected out of hand, this one apparently The McMichael Canadian Art Collection Heist has legs.

Perhaps the RCMP Toronto should pay a visit to The McMichael Canadian Art Collection and conduct a new security review.

Whether any new security at The McMichael Canadian Art Collection will thwart Gerald Danny Boy Blanchard, Aaron Syberg and their new found Underworld Godfather paymasters remains to be seen.
To be continued.....................................
Well this, if true, is astonishing.
Apparently, the telephone call to hoodwink the Security guards at the University of British Columbia, fooling them about the CCTV going offline at the Museum of Anthropology, was made, wait for it, from Jail by either Gerald Danny Boy Blanchard, Aaron Syberg or another inmate involved.
The Bill Reid post-mortem is getting worse by the minute !!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Bill Reid Gold Box, Safe and Sound, Now the Post-Mortem !!

Today at 2:00pm, the RCMP in B.C. held a press conference in relation to the UBC Museum of Anthropology stolen artwork investigation at the Surrey Federal Operations Building.

Cst Linteau

Good afternoon. Thank you for coming. I would like to introduce C/Supt McGowan, Operations Officer and Assistant District Commander of the Lower Mainland District and Insp. FitzPatrick, Operations Officer E Division Major Crime Unit.

C/Supt McGowan

Good afternoon

On May 24 2008 - University Detachment of the RCMP was called to investigate a break and enter at the UBC Museum of Anthropology where several very valuable pieces of artwork were stolen. The RCMP were immediately advised of the cultural importance of these pieces. From the onset this matter was assigned the utmost priority and urgency. A very integrated multi-jurisdictional investigative team was formed to assist University Detachment. This team included a number of investigators and specialized support units from around the Lower Mainland District and E Division Headquarters. E Division Major Crimes Unit is leading this active and ongoing investigation that involves municipal, provincial and federal resources.

This team has worked tirelessly and around the clock investigating this crime that has attracted international attention. The investigation actively pursued a number of tips and investigative leads that resulted in the identification of suspects and in the execution of two search warrants in the Lower Mainland.

The primary objective for this investigative team has always been on the safe return of these national treasures. I am very pleased to announce this objective has been achieved and that most of these stolen articles have been recovered.

The investigation remains very active and ongoing and I will turn it over to Insp. Brendan Fitzpatrick, the officer in charge of the investigation for further comments.

Insp. Brendan Fitzpatrick

On Sunday June 8 after two weeks of exhaustive investigation, investigators from the E Division Serious Crime Unit involving up to 50 investigators from a variety of specialized units and detachments applied for and were granted search warrants to search two residences in the Lower Mainland. On executing those search warrants, three individuals were taken into custody. After searching both residences extensively, all but two stolen Bill Reid art exhibits were recovered intact. The substantive items including the most prized which is the gold box with an eagle was recovered.

This investigation included an in-depth examination of the circumstances of the break and entry and the alarm and video-monitoring system within the museum. In order to do that, specialized resources from our integrated technical crimes unit and special engineering sections were utilized. In addition, a number of investigative avenues were immediately initiated. One of those investigative avenues led investigators to persons of interest and their associates. Given the cultural significance of the stolen items, all available investigative avenues were pursued including 24 hour surveillance, search warrants and a cash reward.

While we are satisfied that we have recovered most of the stolen items, the RCMP would like to seek the public’s assistance in recovering the last two items which we have reason to believe are still in the Lower Mainland area. Our investigation to date indicates those items likely went to a local buyer or stolen property broker.

This investigation is far from over. Although we are very satisfied that we have been able to recover the majority of the items, we remain determined to recover the last two pieces.

If anyone has information as to the whereabouts of these pieces of the collection, please contact 778-886-2870 or Crime Stoppers.

Art Hostage Comments:

Bewdy, as they say in Australia !!!!

It really is a beautiful day, over to the boys from U2:

Post Mortem:

This is where the fun starts.

First of all the three people arrested in possession of the Bill Reid Icons have all been released without charge, strange don't you think ???

The biggest cultural heist in Canadian history and those caught in possession of the Bill Reid Icons walk as if it were a mere misdemeanor.

Second, the two outstanding items are an argillite panel and Eagle pin by Bill Reid.

These are sitting in Irv's pawn shop and will be recovered shortly.

The Mexican necklaces have been dismantled and were going to be sold for melt until Art Hostage stepped in last Wednesday.

The original thieves have been described as "Unsophisticated Lower Mainland career criminals" which seems absurd given the sophisticated manner in which the theft was carried out.

We all know "Danny Boy"Gerald Daniel Blanchard/Aaron Syberg and co were behind the Bill Reid theft so lets see this thing unfold and see if the mainstream media will sit on their hands in a subservient manner.

To be continued..........................

Monday, June 09, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Gotcha Gerald, well nearly !!

BURNABY (NEWS1130) - RCMP say they've executed search warrants on the Lower Mainland and have recovered some of the Bill Reid gold art stolen from the UBC Museum of Anthropology late last month.

Police are not releasing any details, but say more information will be released over the next few days as the investigation continues.

The subject of the RCMP investigation has been a South Burnaby home, in the Metrotown area. RCMP say that for officer safety, they don't want to release any more information. There are also fears that one person still wanted in the theft may melt down any remaining Reid pieces to avoid further criminal prosecution.

The theft occured in the overnight hours of May 23-24 at UBC's Museum of Anthropology. UBC has offered a $50,000 reward for information leading the safe return of the art works.

Art Hostage comments:

Please, please. be the gold box !!

How many times did you need telling Gerald ???

Do not destroy the **** please, hide it if you must, or better still post it to your lawyer , destroyed gives you less leverage in the future.

Loyal Art Hostage readers, if the truth comes out, then prepare yourself for a scenario similar to when a person Set's ablaze a building and then shouts "Fire" to receive the credit.

Lots more coming in................................

Art lovers across the world, especially RCMP, Alain, UK Mark and Pierrie unite and sing

Gives you a warm feeling inside knowing Bill Reid Icons are on their way home !!

Art Hostage you sentimental fool !!!!

Aaron Syberg, if you are the "Hardy Kruger, " "The one That Got Away," then make sure any residue Bill Reid Icons are handed back.

At some stage you will be "Googie Withers, Within These Walls" so please make sure you don't have to face up to being the one who destroyed any Bill Reid Icons.
Mothers always love their son, step-dad's just go along with it to keep the peace !!

Wake up Canada, a wonderful day awaits, Bill Reid Icons recovered !!

Pump up the volume and rejoice

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Gerald Daniel Blanchard Mastermind Bill Reid Theft !!

Fake phone call fooled UBC security in museum heist, police sources say

An experienced jewelry thief may have hoodwinked the University of British Columbia's campus security by telling them to ignore security alarms on the night of last month's multi-million dollar heist at the Museum of Anthropology, CBC News has learned.

The prime suspect and possible mastermind of one of the biggest art heists in Canadian history is a Vancouver thief who specializes in hitting high-end jewelry stores by neutralizing their sophisticated security systems, police sources have told the CBC.

The suspect was out of jail the night the museum break-in occurred on the UBC campus near Vancouver, and the techniques used in that heist fit his normal operating procedure, the sources said.

Four hours before the break-in on May 23, two or three key surveillance cameras at the Museum of Anthropology mysteriously went off-line.

Around the same time, a caller claiming to be from the alarm company phoned campus security, telling them there was a problem with the system and to ignore any alarms that might go off.

Campus security fell for the ruse and ignored an automated computer alert sent to them, police sources told CBC News.

Meanwhile surveillance cameras that were still operating captured poor pictures of what was going on inside the museum because of a policy to turn the lights off at night.

Then, as the lone guard working overnight in the museum that night left for a smoke break, the thief or thieves broke in, wearing gas masks and spraying bear spray to slow down anyone who might stumble across them.

Twelve gold artworks worth $2 million by the Haida artist Bill Reid, plus three gold-plated Mexican Zapotec necklaces, vanished that night and have not been seen since.

Publicly, RCMP investigators are saying little, other than confirming they believe it is likely the thief or thieves and stolen pieces are still in the Vancouver area.

Investigators say they believe the items are too hot to move or melt down, and sources told the CBC the investigation is focusing on some Vancouver goldsmiths known to have handled stolen jewelry in the past.

Meanwhile, the RCMP are also hoping an anonymous tipster who left some tantalizing information will call them back again.

In addition, police have said the museum's insurance company has boosted the current $50,000 reward substantially but will not say by how much.

The raw value of the gold in the jewelry is estimated to be only $15,000.

Art Hostage comments:

Gerald, listen, the heat is on and I am sure you did not think the Bill Reid theft would be as high profile, provoking such global outrage.

You may be thinking you will keep the Bill Reid icons as a bargaining counter for the time when you are facing serious criminal charges.

Well, that may not be the best idea.

You do however, have some leverage and could benefit from some kind of deal via your lawyer.

Art Hostage has recommended Michael Morse or Dennis Morris out of Toronto as they have experience in handing back stolen iconic artworks.

That is something you should discuss with your own lawyer.

O'h by the way, your friend in France is growing impatient and now may be a good time to consider a visit ??

The Canadian Underworld are not very happy as the RCMP will be applying pressure and disrupting the Canadian Underworld's everyday business as a result of the Bill Reid theft.

Gerald, before you upset too many Underworld figures, consider this, the Bill Reid thing may have backfired on you, not at this moment but in the future.

There will be a time when you look back Gerald, and wish you could have played the Bill Reid Heist better, post-theft.

Well, here is your chance, get the Bill Reid icons to your lawyer and then make a deal that may include favours for certain Canadian Underworld Godfathers who could be in jail and could benefit from better conditions. This will give you Kudos and also it will be a better bargaining counter for the future.

*********** would gladly give you $1 million if you could get him better conditions in jail, that way you get paid Gerald, the Bill Reid Icons are returned, and no-one gets arrested.

Trust me Gerald, these Bill Reid Icons are cursed and they will bring nothing but bad luck, bad Omens and trouble, not least by the pursuit of the RCMP, who will disrupt many Canadian Underworld operations, thereby angering the Canadian Underworld who will be less than happy with you.

At the moment Gerald you have pissed off the RCMP, Canadian people, and art lovers around the world, by keeping the Bill Reid Icons you will Piss off the Canadian Underworld big time.

Forget all the mainstream media stuff, this is for real, Gerald, get the Bill Reid Icons to your Lawyer and start the deal making process.

Finally, Gerald, if I am blogging a story in about a years time regarding you being indicted for the Bill Reid theft, then you will have no-one else to blame but yourself.

There is a window of opportunity take it before it closes.

Worth thinking about !!!!!!

Old Carl Bales, Lynette Tien, Lance Ulmer, Angela James, Dale Fedoruk, Aaron Syberg, and Balume Kashongwe............need I go on ??


Art Hostage has learnt that French Police have recovered the paintings stolen in the South of France last year, couple of Monet's a Sisley and a Brueghel.

They have arrested the ******* guys from around Nice and Marseille, strike now Gerald, make a deal, before it's too late !!!!!!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Bill Reid, Bill Reid, Get Them to the Lawyers, Quickly !!

Stolen gold likely in Lower Mainland still, say police

RCMP believe the 15 pieces of artwork stolen from UBC's Museum of Anthropology are still in the Lower Mainland, and hope to speak once more to a tipster who didn't leave a name.

"We want to appeal to a tipster who provided us with information in the past, as we believe this person may have more information that could further the police investigation. We're talking here about national treasures," said Const. Annie Linteau.

Twelve works of gold jewelry by Haida artist Bill Reid and three Mexican necklaces made up of gold coins were stolen from the museum overnight May 23.

Police now believe the thief or thieves may be trying to sell the artwork through a network of criminal associates in Greater Vancouver, but investigators also haven't ruled out the possibility international art thieves may be involved, said Linteau.

The investigators believe it's unlikely the pieces will be melted down, because of their value in the art world, Linteau said.

The museum's insurance company has substantially increased the $50,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the pieces according to Linteau, but she could not say by how much.

But police hope the growing reward will result in another break in the case, she said.

New tip about stolen Bill Reid art pieces

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - There is a significant update in the art heist from UBC on May 24th. Police now believe the person or people responsible for the theft are from the Lower Mainland, and may be trying to sell the pieces through a network of criminal associates in the Vancouver area.

The RCMP would also like to speak to an anonymous tipster who they've already talked to because they think this person may have more information.

A dozen gold pieces created by Bill Reid and worth millions of dollars were stolen from UBC's Museum of Anthropology on May 24th.

UBC has offered a $50,000 reward, and now the school's insurance company is also offering a "significant" reward, with conditions, for information leading to the recovery of the pieces.

Art Hostage comments:

As predicted, the reward now stands much higher than the original $50,000, word is it could be up to $500,000, a cool 1/2 million $.

Memo to the Bill Reid Thieves:

As you can see everybody wants a piece of this action, so, the safest thing is to now deposit the Bill Reid items with a Lawyer for safekeeping during the negotiations.

Art Hostage did request this earlier as I knew there would be a scramble to inform on the culprits.

Right, Art Hostage recommends the Lawyers Michael Morse or Dennis Morris, who are in Toronto, first they can offer secrecy, and also it is far away enough from British Columbia to manage safely. Dennis Morris took possession of the stolen Ken Thompson Ivories in 2004 and handed them back without anyone getting arrested, client attorney privilege !!

You know by now that this is radio-active stolen art and without the Lawyer there will only be arrests and no reward.

However, Art Hostage has been contacted by a senior member of the Canadian Underworld they say the original thieves may have already sold these Bill Reid icons and the buyer is ready to deal.

If that is the case, then, read this and learn !!

Memo to buyer of Bill Reid Icons:

Now you have the Bill Reid Icons trick is to get them back without being arrested.

No matter if you say you bought them to hand back, this needs to be done by your most trusted Lawyer, who can liaise with Michael Morse or Dennis Morris in Toronto, thereby detaching you even further.

The main thing that really needs to be done is get these Bill Reid icons off the street and in the safe hands of a trusted Lawyer, I mean it, the longer these Bill Reid Icons are on the street the less chance of anyone getting the reward money.

For further advice contact Art Hostage at

Monday, June 02, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Artworld Holds it's Breath as Deposit Boxes Reveal Their Secrets !!

LONDON (Reuters) - Police seized thousands of safe deposit boxes from three vaults in central and north London on Monday after receiving intelligence they were used by criminals to store cash, guns and drugs.

Scotland Yard said officers raided vaults in Park Lane, Swiss Cottage and Edgware run by a privately run firm, Safe Deposit Centres.

Two people were arrested in the raids, which also included two other business premises and three private addresses in London and Hertfordshire.

Police sources said up to 90 percent of the boxes could contain the proceeds of crime and other illegal items such as child pornography.

The vaults are estimated to contain around 7,000 boxes, although it is unclear how many have been in use.

"We believe this police operation has the potential to simultaneously impact upon a large number of criminal networks, in London, nationally and globally," said Assistant Commissioner John Yates.

"Intelligence gathered over a protracted period has indicated that there are potential links at these businesses to organised crime such as paedophilia, firearms, drug trafficking, fraud, human trafficking, prostitution and money laundering."

Police will take the boxes away to a secure location. Any not claimed by their owners will be forced open and the contents investigated.

"Each safe deposit box will be treated as a single, potential crime scene," said Yates.

Police said the scale of the raids, codenamed Operation Rize, was unprecedented and involved 300 officers.

Courts have given police warrants to search individual security boxes in the past, but never this many at one time.

The operation began after police went round safety deposit firms in London reminding them of their responsibilities under legislation covering money laundering and the proceeds of crime.

While other firms were found to be compliant, officers became suspicious about the company raided, which appeared to be turning a blind eye to the rules.

Tough regulations requiring banks and financial institutions to "know their customers" have made it difficult for criminals to deposit large amounts of cash.

A website for the raided business stresses that "discretion is always assured" and that "you need never disclose the contents of your box to anyone."

Police said customers wishing to collect their belongings should not go to the raided vaults but contact a special call centre on 0800 030 4613.

Art Hostage comments:

This investigation started out looking for stolen artworks held in deposit boxes, diamonds as well as high value stolen art.

It has mutated into this and it will be interesting to see how much stolen art is recovered ?

Calls across the pond to the FBI have already been made and agents from Ireland, America, Spain etc will be decending on London over the coming days.

Police were forced to act today as their undercover informant was exposed.

The whole operation shifted gear a few weeks ago and the results can been seen today.

More to follow.............................

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Gilbert White's House Website Invites Theft !!

Theft shock at museum

Thieves stole valuable furniture from a Selborne museum by carrying it 400 yards to their getaway vehicle parked in a pub car park.
Gilbert White’s House and The Oates Museum, one of Hampshire’s finest historic houses, was burgled during the night between Monday, May 12 and Tuesday, May 13.

Having previously visited the tourist attraction to prepare their attack, the thieves entered.

the property via the gardens and broke a window in order to enter the house, where they cleared the Great Parlour of its 18th century furniture.

Items taken included a grandfather clock, two semicircular tables, four dining chairs, a chest of drawers and two tallboys. All these items were lifted through a narrow window and carried through the grounds over a distance of about 400 yards to the waiting transport which was parked in the car park of the Selborne Arms public house.

Staff were shocked and upset the following morning when the break-in was discovered. Museum director Maria Newbery said: “It is very sad when part of our heritage is destroyed like this.

“Visitors have always enjoyed the special atmosphere in the Great Parlour, a room which was added to the house in 1777, when Gilbert White lived here.”

While the furniture did not belong to Gilbert White, as his own was dispersed following his death in 1793, the room had been set out and furnished as accurately as possible to recreate it, using entries in his many journals as a guide.

Museum staff doubt whether the furniture will be recovered.

The room has now re-opened to visitors and will be used to house a temporary display until replacement furniture can be purchased.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Hampshire police on 0845 045 4545.

Art Hostage comments:

Take another look at the photograph heading this story, everything in it was stolen during this audacious theft.

Perhaps the advertising of Historic Houses should not include such detailed, inviting photo's of the art and antiques contained therein !!

Here is the link to the Gilbert White House website:

Sometimes life is made too easy for the criminals, let alone investigating post theft !!

Coming soon, the possible journey of these stolen antiques.........

Stolen Art Watch, Sunday Round Up !!

From The Sunday Times

June 1, 2008

Fake furniture has top auction houses fooled

Alarm among celebrity buyers

Christopher Owen and Jon Ungoed-Thomas

Sotheby's has withdrawn a pair of “antique” commodes from auction in New York this week because evidence suggests they are fake.

The commodes, each fitted with three drawers, were described in the catalogue as “German neoclassical, circa 1800”. The fifth most valuable lot in the sale, they were expected to fetch up to £150,000.

But Dennis Buggins, the Kent-based furniture restorer turned whistleblower whose fake furniture from barn planks and cannibalised antiques has fooled experts around the world, claims they were constructed from old wardrobes.

Buggins, 47, has also identified a number of items sold as antiques by Christie’s that he says were fabricated or significantly altered in his workshop. He claims to have made from scratch a desk described by Christie’s as George IV.

The fakes scandal has caused widespread alarm in Manhattan and Hollywood because many of America’s most prominent decorators buy from dealers who used Buggins. Michael Smith, a Los Angeles interior designer whose client list includes the former supermodel Cindy Crawford and film director Steven Spielberg, is said to have purchased two items of Buggins’s fake furniture.

In April The Sunday Times revealed how Buggins’s £2m farmhouse had for two decades doubled as a production line for mock antique furniture, which had been offered for sale for up to £1.2m per item. “We turned out hundreds of pieces from carcasses or from scratch,” he said.

The catalogue for the Sotheby’s auction on Tuesday features Buggins’s pair of commodes prominently on one of the title pages. They were withdrawn from the sale after Buggins produced a detailed worksheet for this newspaper showing they were built in his workshop in 1993 and 1994.

Alistair Clarke, the worldwide head of English and continental furniture at Sotheby’s, said: “They are convincingly made and with an intention to deceive. They incorporate elements that appeared to be period. I am now sceptical about them and they have been withdrawn pending further investigation.”

Buggins said this weekend: “I’m flattered they were to be auctioned at Sotheby’s. They’re definitely mine. They were made from four or five old wardrobes and cedar from a local timber merchant. Carving the squiggles on the drawers was difficult to get right.”

Since the publication of The Sunday Times investigation, collectors around the world have called in experts to hunt for Buggins’s creations. The New York Times last month described the furniture restorer’s allegation as “deception and audacity on an extraordinary scale”.

John Hobbs, a London dealer who was one Buggins’s main clients, is said to have offered some of the furniture for sale as genuine. Much of Hobbs’s furniture was sold to American clients.

According to The New York Times, Smith, whose clients also include Dustin Hoffman and Michelle Pfeiffer, bought a pair of “antique” commodes that were made by Buggins in 2004 and 2006. While private buyers could hardly be expected to spot the anomalies in Buggins’s works, it now appears that some of the world’s leading furniture experts were also duped.

The commodes offered for sale at Sotheby’s were delivered to the auction house last February and experts concluded they were probably made in Germany by a craftsman who trained in “one of the great London workshops”. Despite having no provenance, they were described as “a fine pair of German neoclassical mahogany commodes, possibly for the Russian market”.

The auction house said it had been contacted by other parties who had questioned whether the commodes were genuine. In spite of this, it was not until The Sunday Times told the auction house of Buggins’s claim that it went back to the vendor and established that the commodes had originally been purchased from Hobbs. The commodes were then withdrawn from sale.

Other items from Buggins’s workshops now believed to have passed through the leading auction houses include “a pair of Spanish silvered clear and blue foil-backed mirrors, 18th century”, sold by Christie’s in New York for $192,000 in May 2005.

Buggins said he had based the mirrors — which featured hexagonal shapes around the frame — on a genuine item. He incorporated old mirror plates, olive wood from a local timber merchant and some old pine.

Two desks sold by Christie’s in London in September 2007 are also said to have been assembled or significantly altered by Buggins. One of the desks, described as “a George IV mahogany partner’s desk”, was made from an old wardrobe.

When the mirrors and two desks were sold, the provenance was merely described by Christie’s as “John Hobbs”. Christie’s said last week there was “no further provenance available to publish” on the items when they were sold.

It added: “Christie’s are reviewing any consignments that may give us cause for concern.”

Buggins is dismayed that his work has been misrepresented — but pleased that his craftsmanship has been passed by experts. “It’s almost as if the auction houses want these items to exist,” he said.

His work has caused significant alarm in New York because one of the city’s most prominent dealers is Carlton Hobbs, John Hobbs’s brother and former business partner. Legal documents from the New York Supreme Court show Carlton Hobbs also had a business relationship with Buggins going back more than two decades.

Carlton Hobbs is now offering clients an “authenticity” service on items he has sold. His firm says that to date it has found possible problems with “less than 1%” of items. It said it had not been involved in the sale or creation of fakes.

Christie’s is currently offering five items of furniture with a Carlton Hobbs provenance at a sale in London on Thursday. Although these items may have gone through Buggins’s workshop, the auction house said it had not attempted to verify them under Carlton Hobbs’s authenticity service. However, Carlton Hobbs insisted it had “every confidence” that the items were genuine.

John Hobbs has denied any wrongdoing or deliberately misrepresenting items manufactured by Buggins.

He resigned from the British Antique Dealers’ Association after it launched an investigation to follow up the allegations in The Sunday Times.

How the scandal unfolded

April 6, 2008 The Sunday Times reports how furniture mocked up by Dennis Buggins, a Kent restorer, has been misrepresented by John Hobbs, a London dealer.

April 7 British Antique Dealers’ Association investigates and suspends Hobbs, who later resigns.

Late April David Wilson, one of America’s most prominent furniture experts, flies to England to inspect private clients’ collections. He says a number of items “gave cause for concern”.

May 22 The New York Times describes the scandal as “deception and audacity on an extraordinary scale”.

May 22 The Sunday Times alerts Sotheby’s in New York that commodes due to be auctioned are alleged to have been made by Buggins. They are withdrawn from sale.

Art Hostage comments:

Comments to follow