Sunday, March 12, 2006

Broken Qing Dynasty vases uninsured

"A British museum has no insurance for three 300-year-old Qing Dynasty Chinese vases, valued at $175,000, broken by a tourist.

The Sunday Telegraph obtained documents via the Freedom of Information Act that indicate the museum will receive nothing in compensation for the smashed vases because it failed to get them insured.

Forty-two-year-old Nick Flynn fell down a staircase at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England, after he tripped in his untied shoelace, smashing the vases.

The documents obtained by the Telegraph also found that a 15-year-old teenage boy from France damaged an Egyptian sarcophagus lid which had survived more than two millennia when he tried to lift the 440-pound lid worth tens of thousands dollars.

However, Robert Read, a fine arts underwriter for Hiscox plc, an insurer of international art collections, says most British museums do not insure their collections.

'They have got to prioritize and they tend to spend on things like fire alarms or security guards,' he said."

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