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Fourteen pieces of American art purchased by Iran nearly four decades ago, but blocked for export from the United States because of the 1979 Iranian revolution and rupture in relations, have finally been delivered, both nations said Friday.

Delivery of the art, described by American officials as architectural drawings bought in 1978 by the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, came against the backdrop of a slightly improved atmosphere in the estranged ties between Iran and the United States since the agreement resolving Iran’s disputed nuclear work was reached in July.

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A private collection of musical automata that would have been created in Europe for export around the world will lead Sotheby’s New York sale of Important Watches on June 11.

The 21-piece collection, valued at $2.3 million, was assembled over 50 years, and includes pieces by renowned craftsman such as Jacquet-Droz and Piguet & Meylan.

“These works were the ultimate luxury toys of their day – a sign of wealth that epitomized Swiss technological and creative genius."

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Two paintings by Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn may leave France without as much as a whimper as the country says it’s too broke to buy them.

With the government’s coffers bare, France’s culture ministry is letting banking tycoon Eric de Rothschild export the masterpieces, paving the way for a sale that could fetch more than 150 million euros ($163 million), according to estimates. Under French law, major artworks can’t leave the country without the state’s permission. If the country denies permission, it must buy the art within 30 months.

Published in News
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 11:59

Fundraising Campaign Saves Napoleonic Cabinet

A Napoleonic medal cabinet has been saved from export from the UK after a successful fundraising campaign to buy it for the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London.

In January, on the recommendation of a reviewing committee administered by Arts Council England, the British government decided to defer granting an export license for the cabinet until July, allowing the V&A time to raise the required sum of £534,000.

Published in News
Thursday, 20 February 2014 11:01

Restrictions on Ivory Trade Tighten

In an effort to halt the global boom in wildlife trafficking, the Obama administration announced that it would ban the commercial trade of elephant ivory by prohibiting its import, export and resale within the U.S., with a few exceptions. A high demand for wildlife products has left certain species, such as the African elephant and the rhinoceros, on the brink of extinction.

In a letter accompanying the new National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking Obama said, "Record high demand for wildlife products, coupled with inadequate preventative measures and weak institutions, has resulted in an explosion of illicit trade in wildlife in recent years. The entire world has a stake in protecting the world's iconic animals, and the United States is strongly committed to meeting its obligation."

Current regulations only permit ivory to be imported if it is an antique and commercial objects made before 1976 and antiques can be exported. Domestic sales are more or less unregulated. The new system will not allow the import of antique African elephant ivory or the export of any ivory that is not an antique. To be considered an antique under the new system, an object must be more than 100 years old and meet the stringent requirements outlined in the Endangered Species Act. The administration will also ban the resale of elephant ivory across state lines, except for antiques. Sales within a state will only be allowed if the seller can prove that the object was lawfully imported before 1990 for African elephants and 1975 for Asian elephants.

 The Obama administration will begin implementing the new regulations in the following weeks.

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