Charlie Davis forwarded this obituary of the controversial Qatari Sheikh who for a time dominated the ancient coin auction scene.
Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al-Thani of Qatar, at one time the biggest art collector in the world, died at his home in London on Sunday, aged 48. The
news was announced at a museums conference in Doha, earlier today, 10 November. The cause of his death has not been announced, although it is
believed to have been from natural causes. Sheikh Al-Thani, a distant cousin of the current Emir, served as Qatar’s minister of culture from 1997
until 2005 and oversaw an ambitious museum building programme for the oil and gas-rich Gulf state.
He also built a massive collections of antiquities, photography, Chinese and Islamic art (many of his purchases in this field are now on display
in the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha). He also collected furniture, vintage cars, natural history, jewellery, even bicycles, but it was sometimes
unclear if the collections he had assembled belonged to him or to Qatar. In 2005 he was dismissed and placed briefly under house arrest while some of
his purchases were investigated. He returned to the market a short time later, buying for his own collections in various fields including Chinese art
In 2012, a High Court judge in London froze $15m worth of his assets as part of a dispute over unpaid bills to auction houses. The numismatic
auctioneers Baldwin’s, Dmitry Markov and M&M Numismatics, accused him of defaulting on bids for items from the Prospero Collection, a cache of
To read the complete article, see:
One of the world’s top
collectors Sheikh Al-Thani dies suddenly, aged 48
Andy Singer forwarded this article from BBC News. -Editor
Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al-Thani, the former minister of culture and heritage in Qatar, who spent more than $1bn (£630m) of the oil rich
country's money on art, has died aged 48.
Details of his death have not been announced.
collection is spread across five existing and planned museums: the Museum of Islamic Art, the National Library, the Natural History Museum, a
Photography Museum, and a museum for traditional textiles and clothing.
Sheikh Al-Thani wasn't a big deal in art buying circles, he was massive. He alone was responsible for putting several degrees of heat into
what is today's scorching hot art market. When he was in town - so the rumour goes - art dealers and auction houses would dust down their best
stuff, add a nought or two, and await his visit.
What made Sheikh Al-Thani stand out wasn't just the vast sums of money he was willing to spend, but the fact that he bought across the
categories, from fast cars to fine art.
When he wanted a certain object, he would simply keep on bidding until it was his. There are stories of items valued at a few thousand pounds that
would suddenly be nudging seven figures because the Sheikh and an under-bidder were locked in an act of brinkmanship.
The upshot of his passionate, eclectic, 20-year campaign - undertaken with a keen eye and an aesthete's sensibilities - was the creation of a
world-class collection, some of which will help fill Qatar's new museums.
His life was not without controversy. He famously fell out with his cousins, the Qatari royal family, who had him put under house arrest for a
short while. And, in 2012, the High Court in London froze some of his assets due to a legal wrangle with auction houses over disputed invoices.
To read the complete article, see:
Qatari art collector Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al-Thani dies
Wayne Homren, Editor
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