Sunday, May 25, 2008

Major Theft from the Museum of Anthropology

This is not the style of post which usually appears on this blog, but I am shocked and heartbroken that the Museum of Anthropology has been broken into this past weekend and a dozen gold items by the famous Haida artist Bill Reid have been stolen, along with several Incan gold bracelets and necklaces.

Because they were so difficult to photograph in situ the only item I tried was this small gold box when I did my series of posts on this, my favourite local museum, here and here. The works are priceless for Bill was a master goldsmith. He trained first as a jeweler and later became a carver.

Obviously the security system in place at the museum was not adequate to stop this burglary and I'm sure many questions will be asked. Apparently it is not known how the thieves entered but perhaps the surveillance cameras will be of some help to the RCMP, UBC detachment, who are investigating the break-in. I'm sure the art community are as shocked as I am and one can only hope the pieces are not melted down for the gold content and will eventually be recovered, although I suppose that is fairly unlikely. More detail can be found here.


Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I am sorry to hear about this terrible loss of what I can only describe as "community treasure and legacy" to thieves. The item in your photo is really awe-inspiring. I hope the RCMP live up to their reputation and get their man or men in this case.

Janice Thomson said...

You would think it would be difficult to sell/hock such well-known pieces. How awful that such thievery has happened involving such a famous and excellent artist's work.

CherryPie said...

I always think it is so sad when museums and galleries have their exhibits stolen. It always strikes me of a very selfish thing to do, depriving many people from viewing the beautiful exhibits

sally in norfolk said...

it always amazes me when these kind of plces get broken into... you just expect there security to be so good as they have such valuble items inside.

Nunyaa said...

It is a terrible shame when items are stolen and lets hope that they are not melted down.

Crushed said...

The likelihood, is they will be melted down.
Impossible to sell in the form they are currently in.

Wolfie said...

Sadly this sort of thing is happening all over the world with appalling frequency, we live in an age of kleptomania and its our children’s futures which are being left all the more barren. Pity for a moment the rape of the Mesopotamian history record which followed the hollowing of the Iraqi state. Those treasures are unlikely to ever re-enter the public domain.

Carver said...

That's terrible JMB. I'm sorry to read this.

Grendel said...

Very sad indeed.

leslie said...

Everyone is so shocked that this could happen. Makes me think of those movies where guys break in from the roof/ceiling and hang in mid-air to avoid all the sensors. I wonder if they'll ever be recovered.

Ellee Seymour said...

I think they need to have some kind of invisible security code which would sound off when going through the doors.

Ian Lidster said...

I was so shocked when I read about this, and I have to indict the museum for inadequate security. Those most disturbing item I read was the fear that the thieves would melt the pices down for the sake of the gold.

jmb said...

LGS, I knew that you would be interested because you are so fond of this type of art.

Janice, how could they sell them? They are so distinctive.

Cherie, for the thieves these articles are just considered for their value, not their beauty or their importance.

Sally, I just can't believe it. It makes you wonder if it was an inside job.

Nunyaa, I fervently hope so for these are some of his finest pieces.

I would have thought so too Crushed but the value for the gold is so little as it turns out.

Wolfie, I hear you and what happened during the Iraqi war was terrible. Those things are lost forever and so much part of the history.

Carver I was devastated when I heard and so shocked that it could have happened.

Grendel it is so sad, I love this man's work, whatever medium he worked in but these gold items were incredible

Leslie, it sounds as if you didn't have to try all that hard to get in. I hope they will be recovered.

Ellee, I don't know what kind of security they had although they are supposed to have surveillance cameras.

Ian, can you believe it? I cannot. What kind of hokey security did they have, for heaven's sake?

Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting.

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