Cyprus seeks answers after state gift to Thatcher sold at auction
Art historian Maria Paphiti found that the 2,700-year-old vase had been sold at Christie’s auction house in May for about £6,000.
Cyprus is to seek an explanation from the British Government as to how an ancient vase given to the late prime minister Margaret Thatcher as a state gift ended up being sold at auction.
A government official said Cyprus’s embassy in London would raise the issue with UK authorities.
In a tweet, art historian Maria Paphiti found that the 2,700-year-old vase had been sold at Christie’s auction house in May for about £6,000.
Whilst researching #Cypriot pottery,I came across this bichrome vase that was given by President Vassiliou to Margaret Thatcher. Sold at #Christies in May’19,it fetched 6,000 GBP,a price significantly higher than its pre-sale estimates 700-1,000 GBP, due to its provenance #Cyprus pic.twitter.com/FzMZVoQY1B— Maria Paphiti (@MariaPaphiti) October 23, 2019
The vase was given to Mrs Thatcher by former Cyprus president George Vassiliou three decades ago.
The government official said diplomatic protocol bars selling off state gifts.
It is unclear how the vase ended up at the auction.