The Spoliation Advisory Panel advises claimants and institutions on what might be an appropriate course of action to take following a claim.
The Spoliation Advisory Panel has published a report on a claim against the British Museum for the return of 14 antique clocks and watches. After careful consideration the Panel’s opinion was that the moral strength of the claim was insufficiently strong to warrant a return of the timepieces or that an ex-gratia payment be made to the claimants. The Panel did find, however, that the sale of the timepieces at auction at Christies in 1939 amounted to a forced sale, albeit at the lower end of any scale of gravity for such sales. Furthermore, expert advice provided to the Panel revealed that the prices obtained at the auction were fair.
The Panel recommended that, whenever one or more of the timepieces is on display at the British Museum, it should be accompanied by a description of history and provenance of the object(s) during and since the Nazi era, with special reference to the claimants’ interest therein.
The Spoliation Advisory Panel was designated by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport as the Advisory Panel for the purposes of considering the claim under Section 3(2) of the Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act 2009. The Panel was set up in 2000 to help resolve claims on cultural property lost during the Nazi era.