News-Antique.com - Oct 05,2009 - The old adage, "Penny wise and Pound foolish" may have to be added to one of the Canadian federal governments most prestigious houses... Rideau Hall.
After trying to dispose of some old desks and office paraphernalia, the federal government has quietly paid nearly $100,000 to buy back historic antiques from Rideau Hall that "accidentally" got added to the mix and were sold on an online government auction service.
Apparently the items, including Royal Family silver, were thrown into the lot to be sold when government bureaucrats refused to pay a certified appraiser $150 an hour to evaluate the items.
The antiques were sold for a total of $4,900 and included three sterling silver flower baskets which it sold for $532 to a unnamed buyer in Luskville, Que. The baskets, presented as wedding gifts to Queen Elizabeth II’s grandparents, had been on loan from Buckingham Palace.
All went according to plan until someone noticed the rare and historical items being auctioned off, were being sold at firesale prices. When the mistake was finally caught, government officials were forced to hunt down the original purchasers and buy back the pieces at steeply inflated prices, totaling almost $100.000.00 dollars.
"A gold-trimmed table mirror, used at Rideau Hall under flower arrangements to protect the furniture, was sold for $218.04 and repurchased from a Montreal buyer for $32,000," said an unnamed government official. "It was a serious lapse in judgment."
The government office for handling such affairs has since changed its procedures to make appraisals of “unique or attractive” items mandatory.
Lets hope so...
- Staff Writers at the Asheford Institute of Antiques.
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