Christie's Goes Ahead with Ancient Bulgarian Dish Sale

Society | November 9, 2006, Thursday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0

The Byzantine dish uncovered on Bulgarian land will go ahead for auctioning by Christie's, despite earlier reports a British court has halted the sale.

The auction is scheduled for Thursday afternoon and the house has not announced any delay in the sale.

Bulgarian authorities have been struggling to stop the auction claiming the exquisite dish, dating from 12th century, was illegally exported from Bulgaria in 1999 and sold to foreign antique traders.

The Bulgarian prosecutor's office has launched investigation into the case in a motion necessary to reclaim the precious artefact.

According to unconfirmed reports, a British court has subsequently ordered halt of the auction, but scrapped its own order a day later after appeal from Christie's lawyers.

The silver dish was discovered at illegal digs near the town of Pazardzhik in 1999 and was smuggled out of Bulgaria. It is supposed the platter is part of a 14 pieces silver set and its owners had been crusaders, who passed through Bulgaria in 12th century or it was a possession of Byzantine aristocrats.

The 12th-century dish is engraved with a hunting scene and is estimated at GBP 300,000 to GBP 500,000.

Nayden Blangev, who claims he dug the treasure in 1999, said a trader of archaeological findings misled him. The swindler paid Blangev DM 30 000, which turned out to be false.

Blangev thought an expert from the National Historical Museum in Sofia is going to assess the finding and then start the restoration of the item. The man never believed the treasure will end into possession of private persons, and not remain in the museum.

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