Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mystery of the missing Gods

The eerie quiet of a tumbled ruin: Brihadeeswara temple.
A man-sized stone warrior guards the doorway, half-sunk in sand. Hundreds of bats whirl overhead, shrieking at the intrusion. Exposed beams, textured by time and mould, add to the musty smell in the air. Cobwebs on prayer lamps enhance the sense of abandonment. The altar is stripped bare, like a frame without a picture: It's a temple without a god. The 1,000-year-old guardian of the temple, Shiva Nataraja, is missing from his abode.
The Lord of Cosmic Dance has travelled 9,000 km to the National Gallery of Art in Canberra, Australia. How did he get there? Ask Subhash Kapoor, 65, a New Delhi-born and New York-based antiquity dealer, considered an art connoisseur as well as one of the biggest idol smugglers in the world.

He sold the Nataraja to NGA for Rs.31 crore in 2008.
Kapoor is suspected of stealing over 150 idols worth $100 million from India. The missing god is at the centre of a curious trial that has just started in a district court in Tamil Nadu.

"Art and antiquity theft is one of the most lucrative crimes," says IPS officer Prateep V. Philip, director general, EOW, in Chennai. "It outbids drug trafficking, arms dealing, and money laundering." The odds of recovering stolen treasures are abysmal, one in ten. But in this case, authorities managed to trace the idols stolen from Sripuranthan and the nearby village of Suthamalli to various museums and galleries across the world.

The statue of a Dancing Shiva was bought by the National Gallery of Australia from Subhash Kapoor in 2008 for $5.1 million.
Six of the 28 gods have already been identified in museums and private collections across the world: Canberra, New South Wales, Chicago, Ohio to Singapore. The Australian government has ordered NGA to remove the Nataraja from display.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Prospero Collection

In early 2010 a rare collection of ancient coins, called the Prospero Collection, fetched a record price of $25 million at an auction in New York. The Prospero Collection was a spectacular assemblage of 642 historical coins by a private British collector over three decades from 1960 to 1991.

Included in the collection is a coin which has been regarded as an artistic masterpiece by experts. The catalogue cover coin features the head of a satyr - a character widely used in Greek mythology - and sold for $3.25 million, breaking all previous world records for an ancient Greek coin.

A Calabria, Tarentum Gold Stater coin circa 344-338 BC, featuring Head of Hera. Reverse Taras.

Silver Tetradrachm from Kyrenaika, Kyrene (circa 400 BC) bears the likeness of Head of Zeus Ammon, Reverse Silphium. It is described as a coin "of immense power and majesty."

KINGDOM OF MACEDON. Alexander III, The Great (336-323 B.C.), Gold Stater

Kyzikos (c.450-400 B.C.), Electrum Stater, Silenos, with a horse's ear and tail, kneeling to right, pouring wine from an amphora into a kantharos he holds in his right hand, a tunny below. Rev. Quadripartite incuse square.

MYSIA. Lampsakos (c.350 B.C.), Gold Stater, Head of a female satyr facing to left, with a long pointed ear, wearing a wreath of ivy. Reverse Pegasos

KYRENAIKA. Kyrene (c.331-322 B.C.), Gold Stater, Magistrate Jason. Nike, with her wings spread, in a facing quadriga. Rev. Zeus Ammon

ITALY. Calabria, Tarentum (c.280 B.C.), Gold Stater . Head of Zeus facing to right. Rev. TAPANTINΩN, eagle standing to left on a thunderbolt.

SICILY. Akragas (c.409 B.C.), Silver Tetradrachm. Nike driving a galloping quadriga to left, holding a kentron in her left hand and the reins in both, a vine with a bunch of grapes above. Rev. ΖTPATΩN, two eagles standing to left on top of a dead hare.

SICILY. Naxos (c.461-430 B.C.), Silver Tetradrachm. c.460 B.C. Bearded head of Dionysos facing to right, wearing an ivy-wreath, his hair tied in a krobylos at the back. Rev. N-AXI-ON, naked, bearded Silenos

The French Crown Jewels

The French Crown Jewels comprise the crowns, orb, sceptres, diadems and jewels that symbolized royalty within French aristocracy between 752 and 1825. The set was broken up and most of it sold in 1885 by the Third French Republic.

The surviving French Crown Jewels are mainly on display in the Galerie d'Apollon of the Louvre.
Among the most famous diamonds preserved in the collection are the Sancy Diamond, the Hortensia pink diamond cut in 1678 for Louis XIV, and the Regent Diamond. The Royal French Blue was transformed into the Hope Diamond which now resides in the Smithsonian.
One of the mysteries of the French Revolution was the fate of Dauphin, the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and heir to the crown.

In 2004 it was confirmed through DNA evidence that the young prince had died of tuberculosis in prison. The heart of the young man claimed by the royalists to be the young Louis XVII had been secretly removed by a doctor just after his death. By comparing the DNA from the heart with DNA taken from strands of hair of Marie Antoinette that had been kept as a memento by royalists, it was possible to establish that the boy who died in prison was indeed the last heir to the French Crown Jewels.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Famous Diamonds IV

The Chopard Chameleon Diamond is a 31.32 carat oval-cut chameleon diamond and the largest known.

The chameleon diamond has the ability to temporarily change colour after heating or long storage in the dark.
The Nur-ul-ain, “light of the eye” is a brilliant-cut oval diamond of around 60 carats. Together with the even larger Darya-i-noor diamond, it is considered one of the two most-celebrated gems among the Iranian crown jewels.
The Darya-i-noor, ‘sea of light’ is the world’s largest pink diamond, weighing 186 carats. It is table cut with exceptional clarity. The diamond came from India's famous Golconda mine and is part of the crown jewels of Iran.
The Portuguese Diamond weighs 127.01 carats and is graded M in color and VS-1 in clarity, with very strong blue fluorescence. Its unusual octagonal emerald cut makes it one of the world's most magnificent gems.
The Moon Of Baroda is a 24.04 carat canary yellow diamond once worn by both Empress Therese of Austria and Marilyn Monroe.
The Golden Eye. This 43.51 carat internally flawless fancy yellow diamond was seized in a drug sting and auctioned off by the U.S. Government in 2011 for $2,480,000.

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Lumenpulse Inc. - LMP.t

Lumenpulse Inc. - LMP.t is an innovator and manufacturer of high performance, sustainable architectural LED lighting solutions for commercial, institutional and urban settings.

Lumenpulse currently has 50 patents pending for innovations resulting from intensive investment in R&D.

On April 17, 2014 the company released News

Lumenpulse Inc. (the "Company") announced that it has issued today an additional 937,500 common shares at a price of $16.00 per share, for total gross proceeds of $15 million, pursuant to the exercise in full of the underwriters’ over-allotment option granted by the Company in connection with the initial public offering of its common shares completed on April 15th, 2014. The gross proceeds from the initial public offering, including the over-allotment option, total $115 million.

Led by joint lead bookrunners Canaccord Genuity Corp. and National Bank Financial Inc., the syndicate of underwriters included BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., Scotia Capital Inc. and Raymond James Ltd.




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