A CHARLES II BEADWORK AND FAUX TORTOISESHELL DRESSING MIRROR CIRCA 1670. Sold for $20,000. Photo via Sotheby's A CHARLES II BEADWORK AND FAUX TORTOISESHELL DRESSING MIRROR
CIRCA 1670. Sold for $20,000. Photo via Sotheby's

Sotheby's uses the Art Loss Register, a database of stolen and lost art, for routine searches on all lots with a value of $1,500 or more. In the end of 2013, they made a very important discovery thanks to the register. A mirror that was up for auction in New York raised a few flags and upon further investigation it was discovered that it had been stolen over 20 years ago from an antiques dealer in the town of Stow-on-the-Wold in Cotswold, England. The mirror dates back to 1670, and has intricate Charles II beadwork and a beautifully detailed faux tortoiseshell frame that includes portraits and pastoral scene.

Detailed view of the frame's beadwork. Photo via Sotheby's Detailed view of the frame's beadwork. Photo via Sotheby's

When the discovery was made at Sotheby's it was withdrawn from the auction it was to be featured in and an investigation into its proper owner was conducted. The consigner to the house prior to Sotheby's had different versions of how he acquired the mirror himself, changing his story from being the owner of a pawnshop to only acting as an expert on behalf of one. He was however very clear in claiming that the mirror should be treated as his property.

However, since the mirror was stolen so long ago, the police in both the United States and England could not bring charges against the man nor intervene regarding who should be named the owner. After arduous negotiations, the mirror was auctioned off by Sotheby's in June 2014 and the proceeds from the sale went to the victim of the original theft twenty years ago. The mirror ended up selling for $20,000, so even if the thieves were never apprehended the victim was not left empty handed.

 

Find more mirrors up for auction here!

Story via ArtLoss / Sotheby's

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