If Jaime Botín was thinking of using the Catawiki auction website to take another of the paintings from his collection out of Spain, we have bad news for him.
In the purest Christie’s or Sotheby’s style, Catawiki, specializing in exclusive collectibles – from jewelery to works of art to liquor bottles – had recently launched a special fossil auction and other paleontological remains. The jewel in the crown was a pterosaur fossil, a flying species that inhabited the Earth in the upper Jurassic, in perfect condition.
However, as EL ESPAÑOL has learned, the Teutonic authorities They have vetoed this object from leaving Germany considering it the country’s heritage.
Why is it German heritage?
Catawiki confirms this point: “They told us that could not leave the country, but since our auctions are international we decided to withdraw it, for us it does not make sense to restrict by countries ”, says to this newspaper Alejandro Sánchez, general director of the web in Spain and Portugal. “In some of the categories that we auction, there are restrictions for them to leave their countries, happens with works of art for example. We are absolutely respectful and we always try to comply with the legal framework of the different countries ”.
The pterosaur was forever etched into a Solnhofen limestone plate. 150 million years ago, this area near Munich was covered with lagoons near the Tethys Sea and therefore high salinity. Animals or plants that had the misfortune to perch on them were trapped in the mud, dying quickly and being impeccably registered for the remains.
Sánchez confirms that the pterosaur it is the only object that has been retired from the lot, which also includes the skull of a mammoth or a prehistoric spider trapped in amber.
Catawiki reaffirms its methods
From the auction company they deny that this event involves a conflict, and they reaffirm the methodology that they have been following against counterfeiting or international trafficking of objects of illicit origin. “If we have doubts or cannot reasonably verify that the batch is what it is, we do not put it up for sale“, Says Sánchez,” in many cases we require a certificate of certain institutes that we consider reliable, for example when dealing with precious stones we work with the Spanish Gemological Institute ”.
Another proof of guarantee, he adds, is that in sectors such as fossils the sellers are usually known and common. “They have a very extensive transaction history and therefore they are usually very reliable“, Explains Sánchez.
The process for auctioning a dinosaur fossil is as follows. An auction proposal is sent to the page and an expert is in charge of evaluating it. “We have 200 experts in all categories that are part of our staff, they are as important as the finance or marketing department”, says the director of Catawiki, “the fossil expert in this case reviews all the documentation, gets in touch with the seller and receive all the evidencethat you consider necessary to validate or certify the authenticity of the lots ”.