Monday, December 19, 2005

Bruce McNall's book, Fun While It Lasted, describes dealing with Robert Hecht.

After bidding vigorously at a Münzen und Medaillen auction in Bern, McNall is approached by a "thin, aristocratic American" and invited up to Hecht's hotel room.

All around the room were men — Turks, Italians, Greeks — talking and smoking and haggling... I recognized a few of the men from the crowd at the auction, where they had obviously been studying the buyers and the market prices. These were the fellows who pulled you aside during a break, reached into their pockets and brought out a few glittery prizes for you to buy at a special price. Some of them were tough guys...

McNall also says the antiquities sold by NFA "would be supplied mainly by Bob Hecht. In fact, I hardly ever acquired pieces from anyone else. Our arrangement allowed me to bring in pieces for display, sell them, and then split the proceeds with him...." McNall would loan pieces to the Getty Museum, then "bring potential customers in to view it. Think about how that affected someone new to the world of ancient art. I was showing them pieces on display in a world-renowned museum, which they could then by for themselves."

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