Auctioneer fails in legal bid to recoup money over £15,000 ‘antique’

Court of Session, Edinburgh
Court of Session, Edinburgh
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A LEADING auction house has failed in a court action over the sale of an antique table which turned out to be a convincing fake.

• Auction house Lyon & Turnbull fails in legal bid to recoup £15,000 from sale of ‘antique’

• Lord Brodie rules no effort had been made by Barry Sabine to convince auction house of its authencity

Lyon & Turnbull claimed it had been persuaded to promote the table as a £15,000 “fine antique” by a dealer’s misrepresentation that it was genuine.

However, Lord Brodie ruled at the Court of Session in Edinburgh that Barry Sabine, 39, of Honiton, Devon, had done nothing to induce the auctioneer’s mistaken belief that the table was an early nineteenth century piece by a celebrated furniture manufacturer.

The judge said Lyon & Turnbull had carried out its own inspection of the table and its expert staff, like others, had been taken in by “a piece made to deceive.”

Lord Brodie stated: “It is my opinion that the undoubted error of Lyon & Turnbull as to the table being a genuine George IV scissor action table cannot be regarded as having been induced by anything which properly could be described as a misrepresentation by Mr Sabine.”

Lyon & Turnbull had sold the table on Mr Sabine’s behalf and forwarded £13,666.37 to him before the truth about it was discovered.

In the action, Lyon & Turnbull wanted the money returned but Lord Brodie refused. However, he did keep the door open to possible further litigation by which the money could be recouped.