Titanic Artifacts sold


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Bill Willard

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Mar 24, 2001
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http://hamptonroads.com/2008/02/former-director-mariners-museum-charged-selling-items

here is a link to this story:

Former director at Mariners' Museum charged with selling items
NORFOLK A former director at The Mariners' Museum and his wife face federal mail and wire fraud charges accusing them of selling nearly $163,000 worth of historical items, including memorabilia from the Newport News museum's Titanic collection.

Bill Willard
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I caught this story yesterday albit from a different source and posted it in the Museum News thread I have going. The only question which comes to mind is:

"What were they thinking?"

Another question: What are the chances of any of these artifacts and documents being recovered?
 
Jan 7, 2002
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I'm not sure this has been addressed on ET, but there is news that the former chief archivist for The Mariners' Museum stole $160,000 worth of museum property and sold it on eBay, among them rare Titanic items.
The archivist and his wife worked as a thieving team, and he had his first appearance in federal court Tuesday....

(ps-To any moderators, i wasn't sure where I should post this, so feel free to relocate this thread if needed)


regards

Tarn Stephanos
 
Jan 7, 2002
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Apparently much of the Frank Aks collection was stolen, including the scarf that Mrs Astor gave Frank's mum to cover him on that cold night- a number of original Titanic photos were also stolen....
Ebay seemed to be the main way of reselling their stolen items..
I'm left to wonder if any ET regulars who frequent Ebay unwittingly purchased any stolen property..
 
Jan 7, 2002
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Hi Michael
I wasn't sure where to post, but luckily someone plugged my message here.
This duo will no doubt face multiple felony charges- plus they destroyed the reputation of a great museum overnight, and after this, people may think twice about ever donating to that museum again...
If proven guilty, I hope they do hard time, but suspect they'll be fined and serve less than 2 years in a country club prison....If violent repeat criminals can be set free after serving absurdly short jail sentences, I'm sure this duo won't see much time in jail.. What strikes me is not so much the boldness and callousness of the campaign of theft- but to sell documented museum objects on a public forum like Ebay? How stupid can these people be??
I read in the article the couple are lamenting they are bankrupt and have nothing.I'm sure they'll claim they had unhappy childhoods as a defense, and blame others for their crimes...My reaction to that is boo-hoo hoo...I hope the museum can file personal lawsuits against these two and own their butts....
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>but to sell documented museum objects on a public forum like Ebay? How stupid can these people be?? <<

Stupid enough to get caught. If I was going to try and fence stolen goods of well known and documented provanance, I sure as hell wouldn't have done it on eBay.

>>I read in the article the couple are lamenting they are bankrupt and have nothing<<

Well now, if they had been straight shooters...assuming they're guilty...they would still have their jobs and an income.
 
Jan 7, 2002
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I'm left to wonder what percentage of objects sold on Ebay are 'hot'...
I wonder if Ebay will be fined for allowing the sale of stolen property-Perhaps Ebay will file their own charges against this couple as well- At the very least, I'm sure their Ebay account will be closed..
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>I'm left to wonder what percentage of objects sold on Ebay are 'hot'... <<

No way of knowing, but that's what makes it important to check things out. If it's too good to be true, it probably is. As I always say, caveat emptor.
 

lewis orchard

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Feb 25, 2006
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I am pleased to see the profile of this problem being raised. I am sure no one would have thought that these two individuals might be responsible. That is why it is important to keep an open mind and check the provenance of items bought on Ebay or elsewhere. That is how theft is identified.

For example, the item below was checked against the photocopy record of a fragile and unique book of original press cuttings, that had belonged to Lady Duff Gordon and is owned by a Special Collections library in New York.

You will see various marks, creases, tears and particularly two diagonal pencil marks at the top right corner on both images. The museum then checked the original source to discover that the item had been torn out and had disappeared. It has since been returned. One edge had been cut down, and damaged by tape and the sellers handwriting on the back. You will also notice that there is a torn edge on the left hand side of the news cutting, that does not appear in the image on the left. The matching remainder of this edge was left behind in the original book providing a chilling perfect match.

ben_4.jpg
 

David Paris

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Mar 27, 2008
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Surely Ebay must take some responsibility for not moderating what is sold on their site. From the tone of the article and messages posted here this isn't the first time something like this has happened.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Surely Ebay must take some responsibility for not moderating what is sold on their site.<<

In fairness to EBay, they try. The problem is that it's an on line venue for literally tens of thousands of auctions at any given time. No matter how hard they try, they can't even begin to monitor them all. That's why it's always good counsel to be very careful about what you bid on.
 
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Jeff Kelley

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"Tens of thousands"? Seems a bit low. I seem to recall that at any given time there are millions - perhaps tens of millions - of auctions on ebay.
 
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sashka pozzetti

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Even more reason for us to all take the problem seriously when it occurs amongst people we thought we could trust, such as the examples mentioned above!

I don't mind admitting I was a bit slow on the uptake when it came to a con-artist. It's usually very obvious when you realise, and just a little bit embarrassing, because all the clues were there. It is the disadvantage of being trusting, but I would rather be that sort of person :)
 
Mar 19, 2008
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Is there any update on this story. The lady sold things on ebay under the name chilesplay and her feedback stops at the end of 2006. I wonder if there will be any attempt to retrieve items she sold from the buyers?
 

Marko LULIC

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Oct 28, 2006
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My motto is still Today on E-bay, tomorrow in
trash basket.Of course both participants are
responsible, seller and buyer IN CIVILIZE
Country.
In the God`s garden grow up different flowers.
 
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