Ten heritage items designed by architects Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret were auctioned in the UK and sold for € 2,21,260 (Rs 2.11 crore) against the reserved price of Rs 1.50 crore.
The online auction took place at UK-based auction house Bonhams on Wednesday. Results were made available on the site of the auction house Thursday morning. The auctioned items included armchairs, writing table, public bench, set of eight easy armchairs, folding screen etc, which were made for the use in the Punjab and Haryana high court, Secretariat, Panjab University (PU).
A wooden committee table designed for the Assembly and Administrative building, Chandigarh, was auctioned at the highest price, € 75,062 (Rs 71.57 lakh). A pair of low chairs were auctioned at € 35,062 (Rs 33.34 lakh). The low chairs were designed for the Punjab and Haryana High Court, and Panjab University (PU). A wooden folding screen fetched Rs 4.58 lakh.
Chandigarh-based advocate and member of UT heritage committee, Ajay Jagga, had objected to the auctioning of the items, taking up the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and High Commission of India, London. Jagga had cited an MHA order banning the export and auction of Chandigarh heritage items in foreign countries through email.
The office of the High Commission of India, London, has reportedly conveyed to the advocate that the auction house, Bonhams, in London, maintained that the 10 heritage furniture items designed by Le Corbusier and Pieere Jeanneret came before 2011, when a ban order on the export and auction of these articles was issued.
Jagga had cited an MHA order issued February 22, 2011, barring exports of furniture items designed by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret and ASI’s order banning export via sea and air. The reserved price for the 10 heritage furniture items was kept Rs 1.50 crore.
Jagga said, “I was told by the High Commission of India, London, telephonically that the auction house procured the heritage items prior to 2011. I was told that the High Commission has taken up the matter with London Metropolitan City Police, Scotland, as well.”
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