Collectors Are Heroes

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Writes Anne Williamson:

I was sick to read of the confiscation of the 91-year old’s collection of Indian artifacts, which probably would have been lost forever or damaged beyond value or recognition without this gentleman’s 80 years of dedication to his passion. How wonderful that he collected those artifacts, preserved them, organized them and shared them with others!

When the Soviet Union collapsed, many beautiful antiques and collectibles came to market while the Russian owners suffered a 1992-93 Harvard-engineered inflation of 2500%, the first of a series of such calamities that ate the people’s savings repeatedly.

But who bought them? Well, people like me (who had very little disposable income at the time, but a big love of Russian art and culture), and more well-equipped collectors. No one bought to destroy or to hide away.

Years later, now that an increasing number of Russians have the wherewithal, many of those items are being repurchased at art house auctions. How wonderful it is that those items were preserved for those buyers, who can now claim and bring home so many beautiful artifacts from their country’s centuries of artistic achievement. Without those collectors, I shudder to think how much would have been lost in the chaos of the 1990s.

It’s true there was much theft, as well – entire provincial museums were simply emptied out – but that’s another issue – and even then, many were actually preserved by the end purchaser, but as the result of theft, those items cannot be displayed, recognized or brought to open markets.

The FBI would have exactly zero to purloin without this gentleman’s dedication and work, and there would be nothing for museums to salivate over or for scholars to ponder.

What an awful story!

9:56 am on April 4, 2014