In 1988, a painting of Mary Emma Jones painted in 1874 by the artist Emma Sandys featured on the BBC television programme Antiques Roadshow and was valued at £20,000. A week after it appeared on the show, it was stolen and the owners believed that it was taken because the thief had seen it valued on television.
The painting has resurfaced and sold in July 2018 for £62,500. Christies, the auctioneers did not know it was stolen. After the sale, they were informed about the theft. The painting cannot be handed over to the buyer until legal ownership issues are resolved.
Christies has offered Jan Davey, the daughter of the original owner of the painting, £10,000 to relinquish her family’s claim of ownership, but this has been rejected as being too low.
Valuable antiques and art that are stolen are listed on registers and this makes it easy to find out if an item for sale has been stolen or not. In 1988, when the Mary Emma Jones painting was stolen registers of stolen art did not exist.
The Antiques Roadshow could be watched by thieves looking for valuable items to steal, but the programme is careful not to reveal the location of expensive antiques valued on the show.
When purchasing items such as antique desks, sofas or cabinets from reputable Lancashire antique dealers, buyers have the assurance in knowing that the providence and ownership of antiques are checked carefully to make sure that no stolen items are sold.
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