Stolen Powder Horn originally owned by James Caldwell 1776 and then his son JSC 1803 James Stamford Caldwell. Powderhorn stolen in 2000 and later sold by Lee Jacobs of Embassy Auctions International and assisted by Artfact Invaluable run by Rob Weisberg. Used to hold gun powder for a musket. Antique firearms.

 

James Caldwell's Stolen Powder Horn

This is an antique powderhorn that was used to hold gun powder for a musket.  Originally owned by James Caldwell in 1776 and then passed down in the family and treasured for over 200 years until stolen in 2000.  Turned up at Embassy Auctions International in 2013 run by Lee Jacobs www.thegapauction.org .  This auction was hosted by the Invaluable Artfact auction platform which is run by Rob Weisberg who is the Chief Executive Officer at Auction Holdings www.invaluable.com www.artfact.com .  Lee Jacobs of Embassy Auctions and Adrien Smith of Artfact were made well aware that the item was stolen and that a reward was offered for its return.  They both ignored a request from Dorset Police for the item to be returned to its rightful owners.  It would appear that these people have no qualms about selling stolen property.

 

The above is the short story.  Below is the full story inclusive of all the emails to and from the various parties.

 

Antique American Folksy English powder horn missing

Missing antique American Folksy English Powderhorn made in 1776 and stolen in 2000

American Folksy Antique English Powder Horn made in 1776 and stolen in 2000 owned by James Caldwell of Linley Wood Staffordshire

JSC
1803

1776

J Caldwell

 

James Caldwell's Stolen Powder Horn: The Full Story

This old powder horn originally belonged to James Caldwell of Linley Wood in Staffordshire (1759-1838).  It was passed down in the family over the generations until a burglary in 2000 when a substantial amount of family items were stolen in a night time robbery.  The powder horn was part of an archive of items from the Caldwell family.  The major part of this archive still exists in the family and includes much of James Caldwell's personal possessions (diaries, letters, books, portraits, china dinner service, family silver, etc).

The powder horn itself has the inscription J Caldwell 1776 and JSC 1803.  The initials JSC are for James Caldwell's son, James Stamford Caldwell.  In 1776 James Caldwell would have been 17 years old and was working for the famous potter Josiah Wedgwood.  The horn was probably given to James by his father who also shared the same name (James Caldwell, of Nantwich, died 1791).  We had assumed that James Caldwell was the person who carved the design but in actual fact it would appear that the horn was originally carved by an unknown carver who is assumed to be American as many examples of his horns are found in America.  This unknown person is today referred to as the Folksy Artist powderhorn maker.

James Caldwell of Linley Wood Staffordshire 1759-1838 James Stamford Caldwell of Linley Wood Staffordshire 1787-1858
James Caldwell
1759-1838
James Stamford Caldwell
1787-1858

In 1803 James Caldwell's son James Stamford Caldwell (1787-1858) would have been 16 years old and it was presumably at this time that the father passed the powderhorn onto his son.  James Stamford Caldwell then added his initials and date onto a small area of the horn where there was still room to carve (JSC 1803).

During this period the powder horn would have been used on shooting trips on the Linley Wood Estate and in the Newcastle and Stoke-on-Trent area.  It would have contained a supply of gun powder that would have been used to prime James Caldwell's musket when he was out shooting birds and rabbits and probably the occasional deer.

From there time marched on and the horn was passed down in the family together with the rest of the family archive going to Anne Marsh Caldwell, Elizabeth Louisa Marsh Caldwell, Gen Frederick Crofton Heath-Caldwell, Capt Cuthbert Helsham Heath-Caldwell and then my late aunt Patricia Heath-Caldwell.

My grandfather, Captain Cuthbert Helsham Heath-Caldwell, died in 1979 and left his house (The Pound House, Cattistock, Dorset) and all the contents, to his unmarried daughter Patricia Heath-Caldwell, known as Aunt Pat to me and my family.  Pat was never married and lived a very quiet reclusive life.  She was never very comfortable with people and so never let anyone into her house.  The interior of the house was an amazing place being a treasure trove of items that had been in the family for generations.  There were old family portraits and paintings on all the walls and my late grandfather's study still contained many of the old books from James Caldwell's library.  There were numerous cabinets and chests of draws, all full of old family stuff.  My aunt still used the old family dinner service and silver cutlery for her daily meals.

One of the items in the Pound House was James Caldwell's powder horn.  It was quite a distinctive item and was buried away in a draw.  It had some string wrapped around it and was a rather odd looking item in comparison to lots of the other items of silver and china which looked much more like treasure.  The special thing about this horn was that it had James Caldwell's name on it and this was why it had been kept and this was what made it very special to my family.  I have a very clear memory of it.

Over the years Aunt Pat grew older and keeping on top of life became more difficult for her.  By the late 1990s she had 12 cats living with her in the house and everywhere became rather untidy.  Old newspapers discarded on the floor started to bury everything in a time warp.  This all remained untouched until the night of 26 October 2000.

My Aunt called me on the following morning and asked me to pop down to see her as she said she had had some 'intruders' in the night.  I arrived a few hours later just as the police were leaving.  A large amount of family memorabilia in the form of valuable antiques had been taken.  Family portraits, paintings and numerous other items were now missing.  The burglar (or burglars) had even taken my Aunt's tea caddy minus the tea which they had dumped all over the dining table.  Draws were out everywhere and in the cabinets numerous little circular rings in the dust showed where treasured family items were no more.

The next step was to produce a report for the police of what had been taken.  Not an easy task, as my Aunt's response to the Police was that she did not want to think about it.  In addition there was by this time such a large quantity of rubbish and old newspapers in every room that it was very difficult to see what was missing and what was still there.

Luckily I had some years before taken photographs of the family portraits and paintings.  This meant that at least I still knew what my family ancestors looked like, even if their portraits were no longer present.  I prepared a very detailed list for the police including images but it was not possible to record in detail the great number of assorted items stolen from the various draws and cabinets.

The police were very helpful.  Due to the large quantity and high value of many of the items stolen they put a team of their experts onto the case and investigated as much as they could.  My aunt was very troubled by the events and tried to imagine that it would not happen again.  The police warned her that the burglars would probably return unless she took the precaution of installing a burglar alarm.  Unfortunately she did not initially follow their advice and a second burglary happened two weeks later and more items were stolen.  After the second burglary my aunt did finally agree to have a burglar alarm installed.

The whole burglary experience was very horrible and very upsetting.  From then on my aunt turned the burglar alarm on regularly every night before she went to bed and turned it off each morning when she got up.  She did comment a few months later that James Caldwell's powderhorn was one of the items taken but most of the time she just preferred not to talk about the burglary.

I registered the stolen portraits with Trace Magazine which was at the time run by Invaluable on the Isle of Wight.  Afterwards I realised that it was a bit hopeless.  Trace Magazine existed to take money from victims like myself and my aunt but it achieved little else.  Trace Magazine appears to no longer be in existence.

My aunt lived on for a further 5 years and died in 2005.  Clearing the house was a massive job and was more of an archaeological dig than a normal house clearence.  I slowly cleared away the rubbish and catalogued the substantial amount of family items still left in the house including the rest of the James Caldwell archive.

Miniature portrait of John Hesketh stolen in 2000 and recovered at Bonhams in 2010.

John Hesketh
1750-1815

Five years later (10 years after the burglary) a small miniature portrait turned up at Bonhams in London in an auction scheduled for 24 November 2010.  The lot was described as 'Lot No: 66Y, Circle of Richard Crosse (British, 1742-1810). A Gentleman, wearing pink coat and waistcoat, white stock and lace cravat, his powdered wig worn en queue. Gilt-metal frame. Oval, 32mm (1 1/4in) high'.

This was one of the stolen family miniatures.  It was of my great x4 grandfather John Hesketh.  It had been cleaned and reframed but it was still very easily recognisable.  I contacted Bonhams and they were very professional and very cooperative.  The item was returned.

The seller was interviewed by the police.  His story was that he had bought the miniature in an antique shop 5 years earlier and the antique shop had since gone out of business and the owners were not traceable.  The Police asked him if he could explain the coincidence that, of all the places in the world that he could have lived, he just happened to live only 10 miles away from my late Aunt's House.  I understand that his only comment was that he also felt that it was a remarkable coincidence.

In June 2013 James Caldwell's Powder Horn came up for sale advertised on the Invaluable website (www.invaluable.com).  The description was as follows:

June Multiestates Firearm, Military, Art, Primitives, 26 June 2013
Embassy Auctions International, Kinzers, PA, USA. www.thegapauction.org 
Lot 259: Vintage Powder Horn.
Description: 9 1/2" powder horn with a wood base, recessed throat with a strap ring, inscribed with J Caldwell J SC 1803, animals, birds, the sun and 1776. Great condition with no plug or strap.

I sent an email to Embassy Auctions International but initially got no reply.  I then phoned and managed to speak to a person called Lee Jacobs who said that he was the owner of the auction house.  I explained that the powder horn was stolen but he did not seem too interested to be told this.  I also told him that when it was in my aunt's draw it had some string wrapped around it.  He told me that it did not have any string.  I followed up with the following email.

From: jj@jjhc.co.uk
To: thegapauction@hotmail.com; embassyauctions@hotmail.com
Subject: Lot 259: Vintage Powder Horn. Stolen 26 October 2005.
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2013 21:12:19 +0100
Hi Lee
This powder horn was originally owned by my great x4 grandfather James Caldwell of Linley Wood in Staffordshire England  http://www.jjhc.info/caldwelljames1838.htm
He would have been 17 in 1776.
The inscription JSC is for his son James Stamford Caldwell. http://www.jjhc.info/caldwellstamford1858.htm
He would have been 16 in 1803.
My late aunt, Patricia Heath-Caldwell, had a burglary 26 October 2000, from her house in Cattistock, Dorset, United Kingdom.
A substantial amount of family mementos were stolen (Crime reference C00W41598).
Sadly my Aunt died in 2005 and so is no longer able to confirm anything however I do remember this powder horn.
It used to have a piece of string around it.  Has the present seller still got the string?
Naturally I would like my ancestor?s horn to be returned to the family and I would be more than happy to pay a reward to ensure that no one is out of pocket.
I would also like to know as much as possible about how the present owner came across it.
Only one other item has come to light over the last 13 years so any information about the provenance of this powder horn may be very useful to me.
I can confirm that I would also pay extra reward for any information that might help me make a conviction.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Regards
JJ
JJ Heath-Caldwell


 
I did not hear anything over the next two days so, as time was starting to run short, I sent the following email:

From: jj@jjhc.co.uk
To: embassyauctions@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: Lot 259: Vintage Powder Horn. Stolen 26 October 2005.
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 08:14:23 +0100
Thanks for your help Lee.
I note that the estimated value of the powder horn if it had gone to auction would have been $200-$300.
Assuming you are happy to pack it up and post it, insured, back to my address here in the UK, I would propose paying a reward of $450.
I would pay this in advance.  Hope this is enough to ensure that no one loses any money over this.
In addition I am very keen to find out where and from whom your seller got the horn from.
If you can provide me with information that will identify the thief and gain a conviction, I will pay a further $2,000.
At the moment I have the name of the person who attempted to sell an item recovered in 2010 (miniature portrait).
It is fairly likely that this person was the thief, or closely associated with the thief, as he only lived 10 miles away from my late Aunt?s cottage.
Of all the places in the world that he could have lived, 10 miles away from my aunt seemed very suspicious to me.
His story was very weak but of course there was not enough evidence to nail him.
If you can provide me with information that leads back to the same person then we can take it further and we should have a good chance of getting a conviction.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Regards
JJ

 

I then received the following email:

From: Lee Jacobs [mailto:embassyauctions@hotmail.com]
Sent: 20 June 2013 16:45
To: JJ Heath-Caldwell
Subject: RE: Lot 259: Vintage Powder Horn. Stolen 26 October 2005.
 
JJ,

    The horn came from an estate.  The gentleman who bought and owned it is long since passed on.  The family has little knowledge of where or when he purchased anything. 

    I don't want to bother his daughter and son-in-law with this.  Since the laws vary from England to the U.S.  all I can say is the statute of limitations expired after seven years here.
Since it was consigned to me what I will do is put your $450 as an absentee bid.  If you want you can be on the telephone as it sells. 

    Unfortunately without concrete evidence of ownership by your family there is little anyone can do.  Since the item was in this family's possession I must abide by the contract I have with them to sell the item.

                                                                Lee S Jacobs

 

From this it then became very apparent that Lee Jacobs was obviously not interested in doing anything about it.  I then sent the following email:

From: jj@jjhc.co.uk
To: embassyauctions@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: Lot 259: Vintage Powder Horn. Stolen 26 October 2005.
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 17:24:04 +0100
Hi Lee
It is a real pity that it is not known where the gentleman purchased the horn from.
This information would have been very useful to me.
When you say that the gentleman has long since passed away I assume that you still mean that he passed away in the last few years (not before 2000).
In this situation we do not have concrete evidence that it was stolen as I did not have a photograph of it.
The simple fact is that we can still be 99% certain that it was stolen.
Surely the daughter and son in law should be made aware of this.
And surely picking up a reasonable reward (for the full value of the item) and seeing that it is returned to the family is likely to be what they would want.
Or are you saying that you do not want to inform them and that the item is worth a lot more than your estimate and you want to maximise the sale price regardless of the circumstances?
If you could clarify this for me please I would be very grateful.
Regards
JJ


 
From: Lee Jacobs [mailto:embassyauctions@hotmail.com]
Sent: 20 June 2013 17:49
To: JJ Heath-Caldwell
Subject: RE: Lot 259: Vintage Powder Horn. Stolen 26 October 2005.
 
JJ,

  The father died a few years ago and the daughter has been at odds of whether to sell
the items.  She finally came to a decision that they were just going to collect dust and the money could be put to use training her mentally retarded son towards a trade or vocation.

  I don't see the sense in burdening them with this since I can not positively prove your assertion.  I am not trying to maximize the sale of this horn in any way by doing this.  I feel the estimate is a fair one and that you might even get it for less than the $450.  I am
trying to please everyone.  I don't like being in the middle of this.  To withdraw this one item
from the online auction would take a considerable effort on our part.  We have had a few phone calls on the horn and to withdraw it at this late a date would look improper.

  I am checking with our attorneys since this has never happened before.  Our responsibility is first to the consignor here.  Do you have a police report you could furnish us that could be confirmed? 

                                Lee


From: jj@jjhc.co.uk
To: embassyauctions@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: Lot 259: Vintage Powder Horn. Stolen 26 October 2005.
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 18:50:34 +0100
Hi Lee
 
I get the impression here that what is at question is whether I am telling you the truth or do I have an oversized imagination?  This was a large burglary and a lot of old family mementos were taken.  It was a horrible time.  If you have ever been burgled and had a lot of your ancestor?s portraits and mementos stolen then you would know how awful it was.
 
When the miniature portrait of my ancestor Robert Hesketh tuned up in 2010 the police took it very seriously, even though this was 10 years on.  Bonhams in London immediately withdrew the item as they did not want to risk anything happening to their reputation.
 
Lot 66, Fine Portrait Miniatures, 24 Nov 2010.
 
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/17965/lot/66/?search_query=1&division=&passages=True&earliest_first=True&value_data_currency=GBP&value_data_order_spec=[%27-value_low%27]&back_to_year=2003&date_range=past&main_index=lot&department=&query=crosse%2Bpink&create_facets=False&value_data_range_display=
 
You will note that the item was withdrawn from sale.  If you want to check this out, you need to contact Jennifer Tonkin at Bonhams.  I am certain that she will confirm who I am as she has subsequently visited me.
 
Now back in the family archive:  http://www.jjhc.info/heskethjohn1815.htm
 
If you would like to speak to the Police in Dorset I would also be happy to contact them again and find out who you need to speak to.
 
I did not pay any reward on this occasion as my case was 100% water tight and it was obvious that the seller was the burglar or was at least closely associated with him.
 
In the case of the powder horn I did not have a photograph of it and so I cannot prove 100% that it was stolen.  However I do remember it, unless of course my mind is playing tricks on me but I think this is unlikely.  I have been very up front with you about this and I have offered to pay a reward to ensure that no one is out of pocket.
 
Would you please just do the decent thing, contact the seller, explain the situation, withdraw the item from the auction and accept the reward.
 
I am sure that this will work out better for everyone.
 
Regards
 
JJ


From: Lee Jacobs [mailto:embassyauctions@hotmail.com]
Sent: 21 June 2013 00:11
To: JJ Heath-Caldwell
Subject: RE: Lot 259: Vintage Powder Horn. Stolen 26 October 2005.
 
JJ,

     I have spoken to the consignor and he says that that horn was draped across the back of his Father-in-laws chair for the passed 20 years and it couldn't have been stolen 8 years ago!  We talked about this extensively and since you have no absolute proof or photos to substantiate your claim he has decided to keep the item in the auction.

    Like I said earlier if you want to be a phone bidder I will gladly call you.  There is a chance you can purchase it for the $450 or less at auction.  Since I am contracted with
the consignor I have to abide by his wishes unless you can provide concrete proof that this is the horn from the theft.

    I had a feeling that this was the way it was going to go.   I'm sorry but how can a horn be on a man's chair for twenty years in Pennsylvania and also get stolen in the U.K. 8 years ago?  Things don't add up.

                                                                              Lee

 


As I knew that the powder horn had always been in my family up until 2000, I therefore knew that the above was at the very least no more than very wishful thinking on the part of Lee Jacobs and his client.  It was also interesting to be told that the horn had been hanging on the Father-in-law's chair.  Surely this would indicate that it had some string attached to it but when I had previously asked if it still had the string Lee Jacobs had assured me that it did not.  It was now becoming obvious that even offering to pay a reward for its return was not of the slightest interest to Lee Jacobs.  This was even though he had confirmed that the value of the reward offered was not unreasonable.  My next step was to contact Dorset Police and ask for their assistance.  As the auction was in America it was obvious that they could not do very much however they contacted Lee Jacob directly as follows:

From: cmu@Dorset.PNN.Police.uk
To: embassyauctions@hotmail.com
CC: jj@localsurveyorsdirect.co.uk
Subject: Powder horn stolen from a burglary in Dorset England NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2013 13:21:29 +0000
For the attention of Lee Jacobs.

Dear Sir,

My name is Andrew Woodford  and I am a Crime Assessor in the Crime Management Unit working for Dorset Police in England.

I have been in correspondence for Mr JJ Heath-Caldwell regarding a powder horn that is currently up for auction by you on Wednesday 26th June 2013.

It appears that  this is one of the many items stolen from a burglary at Pound House, Cattistock, Dorchester, England DT2 0JH that occurred 26th/27th October 2000.

Dorset Police crime number is C:00:W:41598 and many of these items are still unaccounted for as are the offenders.

I ask that you assist Mr Heath-Caldwell by withdrawing the above item from the auction and help him in recovering the powder horn back to its rightful owners in England.

Any assistance you can give Dorset Police in identifying any the offenders would be greatly appreciated and I can be contacted by this email address.

Thanking you in anticipation

Andrew Woodford 5885
CMU Bournemouth
Tele 01202 222551

 

From: Lee Jacobs [mailto:embassyauctions@hotmail.com]
Sent: 24 June 2013 19:01
To: .CMU
Subject: RE: Powder horn stolen from a burglary in Dorset England NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED
Mr Woodford,

    Mr Caldwell says he recalls this item but has no definitive proof.  My consignor
has said that his Father-in-law had this on the back of his chair for the last 20 years.
How can there be a 7 year discrepancy here?  My consignor is positively sure of this.

   What can you offer other than here say to prove this was from that burglary?  I have a contract with the consignor that I must fufill. I want to be just.  I've offered for Mr Caldwell to bid on the phone for the item.  Its very possible he could buy it for less than the $450 he has offered.  I'm stuck in the middle here.  If there was proof positive I would remove it from the auction.  I don't need a lawsuit from either end. 

                           Lee S Jacobs

 

By this time a general picture was starting to emerge.  Lee Jacobs had no concerns about selling an item that was stolen.   I found it very distasteful to have to deal with a person who obviously had no personal integrity.  Everything indicated to me that he was completely dishonest.  
As I now had very few other options, I booked to take a telephone bid in his auction. 

From: jj@jjhc.co.uk
To: embassyauctions@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: Lot 259: Vintage Powder Horn. Stolen 26 October 2000.
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2013 10:28:40 +0100
Thank you Lee
Could you book me in for a telephone bid please.
My number is 44 1962 761 565. The backup phone would be my mobile 44 7831 391 532.
What time is the item likely to come up.
Can you also give me an indication of the likely cost to post the item back here to my UK address please.
Many thanks.
Regards
JJ

 


From: Lee Jacobs [mailto:embassyauctions@hotmail.com]
Sent: 25 June 2013 16:27
To: JJ Heath-Caldwell
Subject: RE: Lot 259: Vintage Powder Horn. Stolen 26 October 2000.

JJ,

  The item is lot 259.  It should go off at around 3-3:15 pm eastern time. 
Shipping and insurance should be under US$40.
If you win the item we usually do wire transfers as we cannot accept overseas
credit cards, checks or money orders.

                                          Lee

 

At the same time I contacted the auction platform provider (Invaluable, Artfact) to find out if they had any concerns about a stolen item being sold via their internet system.


From: JJ Heath-Caldwell [mailto:jj@localsurveyorsdirect.co.uk]
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2013 1:44 PM
To: ArtfactLive
Subject: Urgent: Stolen item being sold on Invaluable. Powder Horn. Lee Jacobs of Embassy Auctions.

Hi there

I am in contact with one of your auctioneers in America, Lee Jacobs of Embassy Auctions.
He is selling an item, a powder horn, that was stolen from my family in 2000.
I have asked for the item to be returned.
I have confirmed that I am happy to pay a generous reward to ensure that no one loses any money over this.
So far the auctioneer has refused to co-operate and insists that the item goes to auction.
Dorset Police have now contacted Lee Jacobs directly by email to confirm that they believe the item to have been stolen in the burglary in 2000.
Dorset Police have requested that he cooperate with me and help me to get the item returned to my family.
I have again emailed the auctioneer but he is now not replying to my emails.
Unless someone applies some common sense to this situation, the item is being sold on Wednesday 26 June.

Can you tell me your policy regarding stolen items being sold via your website?
Given the above information, are you happy for this auction to go ahead?

I have all the emails to and from the auctioneer and I have a copy of the email from the Police.
Given that we only have two days left, can you advise me as to what I should do next?

If you could give this matter urgent attention please I would be very grateful.
Your immediate response would be much appreciated.

Regards

JJ
JJ Heath-Caldwell

 


From: Invaluable Customer Services [mailto:customer.services@invaluable.com]
Sent: 25 June 2013 10:21
To: JJ Heath-Caldwell
Subject: RE: Urgent: Stolen item being sold on Invaluable. Powder Horn. Lee Jacobs of Embassy Auctions. [Client ID 1165774]

Dear Mr Heath-Caldwell,
                                       Thank you for your email, we are sorry to hear of the situation, I have passed your email to our Head Office (Artfact) as they deal with the auction house mentioned.

I hope this helps.

Kind Regards,

--
Alison Edwards

 


Just to make certain that there could be no misunderstanding of the seriousness of the situation, I also copied to Invaluable/Artfact a copy of the email from the police.

From: JJ Heath-Caldwell [mailto:jj@localsurveyorsdirect.co.uk]
Sent: 25 June 2013 10:32
To: 'Invaluable Customer Services'
Subject: FW: Powder horn stolen from a burglary in Dorset England NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Hi Alison
Please see below a copy of the email from Dorset Police to Lee Jacobs.
Regards
JJ


From: .CMU [mailto:cmu@Dorset.PNN.Police.uk]
Sent: 24 June 2013 14:21
To: embassyauctions@hotmail.com
Cc: jj@localsurveyorsdirect.co.uk
Subject: Powder horn stolen from a burglary in Dorset England NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

For the attention of Lee Jacobs.

Dear Sir,

My name is Andrew Woodford  and I am a Crime Assessor in the Crime Management Unit working for Dorset Police in England.

I have been in correspondence for Mr JJ Heath-Caldwell regarding a powder horn that is currently up for auction by you on Wednesday 26th June 2013.

It appears that  this is one of the many items stolen from a burglary at Pound House, Cattistock, Dorchester, England DT2 0JH that occurred 26th/27th October 2000.

Dorset Police crime number is C:00:W:41598 and many of these items are still unaccounted for as are the offenders.

I ask that you assist Mr Heath-Caldwell by withdrawing the above item from the auction and help him in recovering the powder horn back to its rightful owners in England.

Any assistance you can give Dorset Police in identifying any the offenders would be greatly appreciated and I can be contacted by this email address.

Thanking you in anticipation

Andrew Woodford 5885
CMU Bournemouth
Tele 01202 222551

 


I then received an email from Adrien Smith of Artfact in America confirming that the item would be withdrawn from their auction platform.  Adrien did not however confirm their policy on their auctioneers selling stolen items.  Also she did not ask me for any further information.

From: Support [mailto:support@artfact.com]
Sent: 25 June 2013 14:05
To: 'JJ Heath-Caldwell'
Cc: Support; Invaluable Customer Services
Subject: RE: Urgent: Stolen item being sold on Invaluable. Powder Horn. Lee Jacobs of Embassy Auctions.

Dear Mr. Caldwell,

Thank you for contacting us and for bringing this to our attention. We can certainly appreciate the urgency of your situation. While we are, unfortunately, unable to assist in the actual reconciliation of the item to you by the auction house, we will be removing the lot listing from the Embassy Auctions catalogue on our site to prevent it from being part of the online sale tomorrow.

Please note that Artfact is a venue, and is not directly involved in the appraisal or sale of items on our site. All items listed on our site are catalogued and posted on our site by the auction house. However, we do our best to monitor the sale of fraudulent or stolen items on our site and do not wish to have the complications of your case move any further. Additionally, we plan to reach out to the auction house today to discuss this matter with them and inform them of the lot removal from our site.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please don?t hesitate to contact our support team directly by emailing support@artfact.com .

Most Sincerely,
Adrien Smith

--
Adrien Smith
Director of Customer Care

Artfact | Invaluable | AuctionZip

 


From: JJ Heath-Caldwell [mailto:jj@localsurveyorsdirect.co.uk]
Sent: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 9:13 AM
To: Support
Subject: RE: Urgent: Stolen item being sold on Invaluable. Powder Horn. Lee Jacobs of Embassy Auctions.

Thanks Adrien
Your actions are much appreciated.
Regards
JJ

 

I was then very surprised to receive the following email from Adrien Smith of Artfact just before the auction was about to take place.


From: Support [mailto:support@artfact.com]
Sent: 25 June 2013 21:59
To: 'JJ Heath-Caldwell'
Cc: Support
Subject: Lot 259- Embassy Auctions International

Dear Mr. Caldwell,

Thank you for being in touch with us. Since our initial communications to you, the auction house has been in contact with us and has alerted us that this item is to still be offered at auction, and that they will be contacting you for phone bidding on the item. Because of they will still be offering the item on their auction floor, the auction house has expressed that they would also like the item to remain on the internet.

It is at the auction house?s discretion to keep the lot in the sale. As they have made an arrangement with you, we will leave the lot listed on our site as well. My apologies that this is different from my initial communication with you, but I think it is fitting regarding the communications I became aware of after the fact. Should you have any questions or concerns about this please don?t hesitate to let me know.

Most Sincerely,
Adrien Smith

--
Adrien Smith
Director of Customer Care

 


From: JJ Heath-Caldwell [mailto:jj@localsurveyorsdirect.co.uk]
Sent: 26 June 2013 09:24
To: 'Support'
Subject: RE: Lot 259- Embassy Auctions International

Hi Adrien

Thanks for your note.
Just to clarify the situation here.
I have confirmed to the auctioneer that I will bid on the item.
The only reason that I will bid on the item is that it would appear that there is no other way to recover the it.

So in summary this situation is as follows:
1. This Powder Horn was certainly owned by my ancestor James Caldwell and his son James Stamford Caldwell.  It has both their names on it.
2. I can remember seeing it at my late Aunts House.  It had some string wrapped around it.  This was some years ago and maybe my brain is misleading me but I don?t think so.
3. My late Aunt was robbed in 2000 (13 years ago).  This was a major burglary and a lot of family items were stolen.  The Police are still actively working on solving this crime.  One other item was recovered in 2010 when it appeared at Bonhams in London.  Bonhams were very helpful.  The item was returned to me.
4. I contacted the auctioneer Lee Jacobs and requested the Powder Horn to be returned.  I also confirmed that I was happy to pay a generous reward so that no one loses any money.  My offer still stands.
5. The auctioneer has estimated the item to sell between $200-$300.  I have suggested paying a reward of $450.  The auctioneer has said that the item may even sell for less than this.  However, despite this, the auctioneer is not prepared to do the decent thing, remove the item from his auction, accept the full payment, return the item to my family and give the money to the seller.
6. I asked the auctioneer if the item still had the string with it and he confirmed that it did not.
7. The Police in Dorset have confirmed that this item is believed to have been stolen.  They have contacted the auctioneer and requested that he assist me in getting the item returned to me.  You now also have a copy of their email confirming this.
8. The auctioneer was initially not prepared to contact the seller and ask any questions.  However, he did eventually go back to the seller.  He says that the seller says that she inherited it from her late father and that her memory was that her late father had owned it for 20 years and that it hang on his chair (if it was hanging on his chair then why has it not got any string on it?). 
9. I have now contacted you and asked you what your policy is on stolen items being sold on your website.  I have also requested that you remove this from your website.
10. You have initially replied to me to confirm that the item would be removed. 
11. You have now contacted me to confirm that you are not going to remove it.

I have emails confirming all of the above.  If I have missed anything here or if you have anything to add please do contact me. 

I must say that I find this situation quite remarkable.  Personally, (I am not requesting this) if I was you I would have pulled the plug completely and I would have removed the whole auction from the website. 

What value do you put on your own reputation?

Regards

JJ

 


The auction took place and Embassy Auctions phoned me to take my telephone bid.  I said nothing but sat and listened.  The bidding went wild and the man on the phone said that there were four people in the room bidding for it.  Just as it got to the unbelievable price of $2000 I confirmed that I would like to place a bid.  The phone went dead.  The man had obviously put the phone down on me.  They had got a price far in excess of their estimate and they obviously had no intention of letting me buy back my family's property.

 


From: JJ Heath-Caldwell [mailto:jj@localsurveyorsdirect.co.uk]
Sent: 26 June 2013 22:54
To: 'Support'
Subject: RE: Lot 259- Embassy Auctions International

Hi Adrien
I do not seem to have received a reply from you.
Your auctioneer has now sold stolen property that he has advertised via your website and it would appear that you have done nothing to rectify the situation.
Do you have you any particular thoughts as to how you might wish to help me recover my property?
If you could reply to my email please I would be very grateful.
Regards
JJ

 

 

From: JJ Heath-Caldwell [mailto:jj@jjhc.co.uk]
Sent: 28 June 2013 09:59
To: 'Lee Jacobs'
Subject: RE: Lot 259: Vintage Powder Horn. Stolen 26 October 2000.

Hi Lee
Your colleague phoned me and I listened to the bidding.
He told me that there were four active bidders in the room bidding.
When the bidding got to $1800 I confirmed that I wanted to bid.
The phone then went dead?
Are you aware of any reason why I was cut off at this rather critical moment?
My phone was completely serviceable so I am quite certain that the problem was not at my end.
I would be very interested to hear any reply that you may wish to make.
Can you also tell me what the item sold for please.
The Invaluable site says that it sold for $1900.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Regards
JJ

 

Lee Jacobs has not replied to my email above.  He has intentionally and it would appear quite happily sold an item that is definitely stolen.
Adrien Smith did not initially reply to my last email so I progressed this with her UK office.


1 July 2013
I phoned Invaluable to speak to Alison Edwards (01983 556 220).  Karen Crews answered the phone.  Alison Edwards is now on maternity leave.  Karen confirmed that the UK office is a small sales office with about 7 employees.  The parent company is Artfact in America.  I understand from Karen that Artfact was originally started by Adan Kirsch but the CEO in America is now Rob Weisberg.

I told Karen that I had asked Adrien Smith (Artfact USA) for a copy of the company's policy regarding stolen items being sold on their platform.  To date Adrien Smith has not provided any information in response to my request.  Karen pointed me to the terms and conditions on the Artfact website and in particular to item 3.2.  This is the terms and conditions between Artfact and their auctioneers. 
This reads as follows:
3.2 Covenant Regarding Your Information. You agree that Your Information: (i) will not be false, inaccurate, frivolous, or misleading, (ii) will not infringe any third party's copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, or other proprietary rights or rights of publicity or privacy, (iii) shall not violate any law, statute, ordinance, or regulation (including without limitation those governing export control, consumer protection, unfair competition, anti-discrimination, or false advertising), (iv) will not be defamatory, trade libelous, unlawfully threatening , unlawfully harassing, or obscene, (v) will not contain any computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, time bombs, or other computer programs, scripts, or instructions that are intended to damage or detrimentally interfere with the operation or use of the Services, or to intercept or expropriate any proprietary computer system information or other confidential data or personal information relating to or arising out of the access or use of the Services, (vi) will not create any liability for Artfact or cause Artfact to lose (in whole or in part) the services of its internet service providers or other suppliers and business affiliates, (vii) will not contain any links to or from other information or websites for which you do not have the right to make or reproduce such links, and (vii) will not solicit or involve the purchase or sale of counterfeit, stolen or illegal items, or solicit or commit any fraudulent transaction or other form of criminal activity.

Other than the above it would appear that Artfact do not seem to have a policy of what to actually do when it is brought to their attention that a stolen item is in fact being sold by one of their autioneers.  I am very surprised that they do not have a policy or procedures for this.

 

2 July 2013
Karen phoned me from Invaluable (UK) to 'update me on some information which she had now got back from the parent company in Boston'.  She said they do not seem to have an actual procedure of what to do when a stolen item is reported.  She also said that the reason that Invaluable did not remove the item from the auction was because the police had not contacted Invaluable directly.  I confirmed to Karen that I had sent a copy of the police email to her colleague Adrien and that I had also asked if she needed any further information.  I have now also copied my emails to Karen and pointed out that I am still awaiting a reply from Adrien.

 

8 July 2013
I had not heard anything from Karen Crews at Invaluable so I phoned her.  She said that she had received my emails with copies of the email from the police.  She said that everyone has been on holiday in America as it was American independence weekend.  She hopes that someone will come back shortly.

 

11 July 2013
I still had not heard from Karen Crews at Invaluable so I phoned her again.  She said that she has spoken to Adrien Smith in America and Adrien Smith says there is nothing they can do about it but she will send me a reply.  The following reply arrived later that day.

 

From: Support [mailto:support@artfact.com]
Sent: 11 July 2013 17:14
To: 'JJ Heath-Caldwell'
Cc: Support
Subject: RE: Lot 259- Embassy Auctions International

Dear Mr. Caldwell,

Thank you for contacting us further regarding your inquiries on item 259 from the Embassy Auctions International sale. My colleague Karen has mentioned that you were wishing for further follow-up on the subject of the sale of this item and your experience with the auction house. Again, my apologies that this circumstance has caused you distress.

Artfact/Invaluable/Auctionzip is a software platform that provides Auction Houses with an online bidding platform.  We have no control over which items an Auction House chooses to sell, nor are we licensed appraisers who can evaluate provenance or condition of any items sold. We do not edit or remove any catalogue information provided to us by an auction house, so that we can maintain proper catalogue records in our database.  It is our policy to evaluate and remove an item from these listings, if we receive official documentation addressed to us by law enforcement or legal entities stating that an item is stolen.  Please once again accept my apologies for my initial miscommunication that we would be able to take this item down without this documentation.

Regardless of our removal of an item from being listed on our platform, it does not restrict the Auction House from selling said item.  Ultimately the discussion of the sale or return of the item is between the Auction House and the authorities.  We are happy to assist in providing any information to the authorities that is requested and to assist with communication between Auction House and Bidder/Site User.  However, we do not have the legal right to intervene in the actual sale, or with any relationship with the consigners of the item.

Should you have any further questions regarding our database, our live bidding software, or otherwise, please don?t hesitate to let us know.

Most Respectfully,

Adrien Smith

--
Adrien Smith
Director of Customer Care

 


From: JJ Heath-Caldwell [mailto:jj@localsurveyorsdirect.co.uk]
Sent: 11 July 2013 21:11
To: 'support@artfact.com'
Subject: RE: Powder horn stolen from a burglary in Dorset England NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Hi Adrien

For you info.
Please see below a copy of the email from the Dorset Police.
I am not aware at any time of a request from you to see this email but you can see from below that it was definitely sent to your company anyway.
Also in my earlier email I stated:

I have all the emails to and from the auctioneer and I have a copy of the email from the Police.
Given that we only have two days left, can you advise me as to what I should do next?

I am not aware of any request from you for further information or that you needed the police to send you a second copy of the email directly.
Are you now saying that if I had asked the police to send a second copy of their email directly to you that you would then have acted on it?

Your reply to the above would be much appreciated.

Regards

JJ

 


Of course I have not received any further correspondence from Lee Jacobs of Embassy Auctioneers.  Also no further correspondence from Artfact.  These people have no interest in whether property that they are selling is stolen.  This is probably one reason why thieves are keen to steal antiques.  It really is very easy for criminals to sell their loot on via people like those mentioned above.

If anyone out on the internet can contribute more to this story I would be very pleased to hear from you.  jj@jjhc.info

 

There was another James Caldwell (1734-1781) who was a participant in the American War of Independence.  This James Caldwell was born in Cub Creek in Charlotte County, Virginia, the 7th son of John and Margaret Caldwell.  His family no doubt originated from Caldwell in the Beith area of Scotland and so he was probably very distantly related to James Caldwell of Linley Wood but the exact connection is not known.  He graduated from the College of New Jersey (which later became Princeton University) in 1759 and, though he inherited 500 acres (2.0 km2) in Cub Creek, became pastor of the Presbyterian church in Elizabethtown, New Jersey.  He was an active partisan on the side of the Patriots, and was known as the "soldier parson".  His church and his house were burned by Loyalists in 1780.  His wife Hannh was killed during the Battle of Connecticut Farms and he was killed in Elizabethtown, New Jersey.  There were 9 orphaned children of Hannah and James Caldwell, all of whom were raised by friends of the family.

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