These masterpieces should be worth in the region of a half a billion pounds. Except they are fakes produced by David Henty, a convicted forger who produced them in the living room of his house by the seaside Brighton. Mr. Henty was exposed by The Telegraph a little over a year ago for selling his copies on eBay, duping hundreds, if not thousands, of the internet auction site’s customers in the process. But proving there’s no such thing as bad publicity, Mr. Henty has turned the notoriety to his advantage.
On Tuesday, 15 March, agents from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations and officers from Customs and Border Protection seized a second-century Gandharan Bodhisattva schist head en route to an unidentified “East Coast auction house” that was due to sell the artefact in New York.
According to a statement released by investigators: “With Asia Week in New York beginning Tuesday, [customs officials] have been on the lookout for shipments coming in from shippers and sources that might be trying to exploit our border controls. This shipment contained some of the red flags authorities look for. It had multiple false statements and it is anticipated that the parties involved will be further investigated.”