The wealth of antiques and artefacts in India is all set to come under serious scrutiny. The Telegraph in Calcutta reported recently that the government will attempt to enforce documentation of its country’s antiquities to prevent valuable and irreplaceable items being sold abroad. The National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities is to work with universities and research institutions to create a national register of any artefact or antique in the public and private domain.
The documentation of antiques has come in the wake of iconic personal items owned by perhaps India’s most famous leader, Mahatma Gandhi, namely his spectacles, a pair of his sandals, a watch and his eating bowl and plate, being sold to a foreign collector for $1.8 million. Any items owned by Gandhi are now barred from auction or sale.
It will be interesting see how this clampdown will affect tourists who travel to India and purchase antiques as part of the Indian travelling experience. Once an article is judged to be 100 years old or more it will be declared as an antique and the owner will have to register it with the government and will not be allowed to sell it.
In this country Britain tries to retain items of national importance and export licences have to be sought before certain items can be sold abroad. Good antique furniture dealers in Preston and other places across the UK will be able to advise their customers on whether they need an export licence or not.
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