Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collection

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Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collection

Post by kiranoukid »

An interesting but slightly sordid tale:

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/daughter-of-wellknown-art- ... zr3cf.html

From the article:

"Mrs Kino said that in early 2008 her father asked her husband, Michael, and his brother, Brian, to help him put together the collection and they had several meetings to discuss the matter.

In about May 2008, an important collection of Sydney Harbour Bridges came up for auction through Prestige Philately.

Michael Kino claimed his brother Brian bid at the auction for Mr Sterling and made substantial purchases.

Between June 2008 and April 2010, Mr Sterling spent about $3.5 million buying stamps. The stamp collection was not insured but kept in a safe at Mr Sterling’s Caulfield apartment.

Mrs Kino claimed Brian Kino ‘‘generally had unfettered access to the collection and he may have had the combination to the safe’’.

She said that in about June 2010 her father told her he had had a falling out with Brian Kino and Richard Juzwin, who had been helping Mr Sterling source rare and desirable stamps.

In November 2011, Mr Sterling hired Bernard Manning to accurately catalogue the collection who then reported that a number of valuable stamps were missing.

Mrs Kino later hired Charles Leski’s Mossgreen auctioneers at the end of last year to arrange for parts of her father’s stamp collection to be sold.

Mrs Kino claimed that Mr Leski contacted her last month to say that Prestige was planning an auction of Australian stamps and one of the stamps allegedly belonged to her father.

She contacted Mr Juzwin who specifically remembered selling the stamp to her father in July 2008.

Mrs Kino sent an email to Prestige’s managing director, Gary Watson, who replied that Brian Kino had confirmed that the stamp in question had been a gift to him from Mr Sterling.

Mr Leski then confirmed there were other items in the Prestige auction from Mr Sterling’s collection.

Mrs Kino instructed her lawyers to alert Mr Watson that eight stamp lots in the Prestige auction had been removed from her father’s collection without authority and demanded they be withdrawn from the auction.
"
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Re: Family battle over $3.5 million stamp collection

Post by jaywalker »

Fascinating - does anyone know what lots were withdrawn, or which stamps were alleged to be stolen?

I'm surprised that this story came to Stampboards from the Age - would have thought there might have been some mention of it on Stampboards first...
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Re: Family battle over $3.5 million stamp collection

Post by Allanswood »

The lots in question were withdrawn. They were all part of the "Lionheart Collection". The information and the withdrawal were all at the last moment based on hearsay. There has been no court case and no evidence supplied. It would appear that Prestige acted in good faith.

Each lot withdrawn has a note on the website explaining and apologizing to bidders.
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Re: Family battle over $3.5 million stamp collection

Post by aethelwulf »

kiranoukid wrote:Between June 2008 and April 2010, Mr Sterling spent about $3.5 million buying stamps. The stamp collection was not insured but kept in a safe at Mr Sterling’s Caulfield apartment.
A $3.5m collection and its not insured? :shock:
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Re: Family battle over $3.5 million stamp collection

Post by Tassie_Stamps »

Total false economy.

Hey! Lets spend 3.5 million on stamps and not worry about any insurance :lol: :lol:
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Re: Family battle over $3.5 million stamp collection

Post by Allanswood »

From the Prestige website.

"We regret to inform you that Lots 3, 6, 7, 17, 22, 27, 33 and 34 have been withdrawn from the “Lionheart” sale (Auction 189) due to a court injunction.

The late Julian Sterling’s daughter, Marilyn Kino, claims that her brother-in-law (Julian Sterling’s right-hand man) misappropriated these items that were subsequently acquired by our vendor from another auctioneer.

Our vendor has offered that the proceeds from the sale be held in trust until the outcome of the legal action. However, this was rejected by Mrs Kino, partly because Charles Leski claims that the stamps could be sold for a lot more through his company than through Prestige.

We had no knowledge of this matter until last week. There has never been a police report, an insurance claim, or a notification to APTA in respect of this matter and, until Wednesday, we were not even provided with a list of the items claimed to have been misappropriated.

We, our vendor and the auction house he bought these stamps from are completely innocent in this matter, which was acknowledged by the court.

We apologise to all our clients for any inconvenience."



Edit: it may be of interest that the news items have been removed. The link in the OP no longer connects.
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Re: Family battle over $3.5 million stamp collection

Post by jaywalker »

From the Prestige Website:https://www.stampboards.com/images/prestigephilately

Lot 3: 5/- grey & chrome-yellow with Double Perforations at the top & perforated Large 'OS' BW #42Ab, Cat $2000 used but unpriced mint. A "must have" for the collector of Official Stamps. (Estimate $4000)


Image




Lot 6: £1 brown & blue BW #51A upper-right corner block of 4, the third unit [R11] with UFO Over Cape York #51(D)k, the gum a little "suntanned" but unmounted!, Cat $60,000+ (as singles). An attractive and very rare block.

Our vendor states that only four blocks of four are recorded, of which this is the only corner block. Arthur Gray's mounted block of 4 - both right-hand units with repaired perfs - sold in February 2007 for $US35,000 (= $A48,500 at the time). (Estimate $50,000)


Image




Lot 7: £2 black & rose BW #55A block of 4, well centred, the third unit with a couple of slightly nibbled perfs at left, some mostly minor tonespots, lightly mounted, Cat $40,000+ (as singles). Another attractive and very rare block.
Our vendor states that only three blocks of four are recorded in private hands, of which this is the finest. Arthur Gray, Stuart Hardy and Hugh Morgan were all missing a block of four. (Estimate: $40,000)
Image




Lot 17: 5/- grey-black & chrome-yellow BW #44A block of 6 (2x3) from the upper-right corner of the right-hand pane, the first unit with Spencer Gulf Silted-Up #44(D)j and the fourth unit with Two Breaks in the NSW Coast #44(D)L, the first two units also with obvious but unlisted Clipped Ears, two units lightly mounted & four units unmounted, Cat $8800+ (for singles). A desirable positional block. (Estimate: $4,000)

Provenance: Earl Spencer (Princess Diana's father).


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Last edited by BigSaint on 08 Jan 2018 10:21, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Family battle over $3.5 million stamp collection

Post by jaywalker »

From the Prestige Website: https://www.stampboards.com/images/prestigephilately
The auction was conducted yesterday (ie 2 May 2014).

Lot 22: 10/- grey & pale pink BW #49 corner block of 4 from the lower-right of the right-hand pane, the second unit with Broken Coast of Arnhem Land BW #49(D)k, minor bend across the lower units, unmounted, Cat $12,000+ (for singles). A very fresh & attractive block.

Stuart Hardy's unmounted block of 4 sold in May 2013 for $4600. (Estimate: $4,000)




Image

Lot 27: Rough Paper 1d carmine-red single with 'CA' Monogram Substituted for 'JBC' BW #72P(2)ze, lightly mounted, Cat $4000 (2007). Sydney Philatelic Research Service (Michael Drury) Certificate (2014). (Estimate: $3,000)





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Lot 33: Cooke Printings 1d rose-red BW #73B block of 4 from the upper-left of the left-hand pane with Secret Mark and Fourth Pearl at Left Joins Curved Line in Crown BW #73B(4)d & e (also with very early state of the Break in the Top Frame to the Left of the Crown), very lightly mounted, Cat $30,000++. A very rare & desirable multiple. Sydney Philatelic Research Service (Michael Drury) Certificate (2005).

More attractive and better-centred than Stuart Hardy's non-marginal block of 4 - one unit with a hinge remainder - that sold in May 2013 for $16,000 and his pair with hinge remainders that sold for $9000. (Estimate: $20,000)



Image

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Lot 34: Cooke Printings 1d deep red BW #73C, lightly mounted, Cat $10,000 (2007). Sydney Philatelic Research Service (Michael Drury) Certificate (2004).

A very rare stamp that was absent from Stuart Hardy's and Hugh Morgan's collections. (Estimate: $6,000)

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Re: Family battle over $3.5 million stamp collection

Post by doc »

The "Lionheart" stamps involved here were owned by Sydney resident Sir Ron Brierley.

Well known industrialist, and once owner of Stanley Gibbons globally, and also Stanley Gibbons Australia.

The material withdrawn by court order at Prestige yesterday, ran into $100,000s.

A tangled mess indeed.
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Re: Family battle over $3.5 million stamp collection

Post by jaywalker »

The material withdrawn by court order at Prestige yesterday, ran into $100,000s.
Total Estimates of eight lots withdrawn was $95,000?
($4K+$50K+$4K+$4K+$4K+$3K+$20K+$6K)
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Re: Family battle over $3.5 million stamp collection

Post by bazza4338 »

http://newsstore.fairfax.com.au/apps/viewDocument.ac;jsessio ... M5AU7B22EI


Battle over $3.5m stamp collection
Author: Mark Russell
Date: 03/05/2014
Words: 278
Source: AGE

Publication: The Age

Section: News

Page: 9

The daughter of well-known art and antiques collector Justin Sterling is involved in a legal battle over her father's $3.5 million stamp collection.

Marilyn Kino has lodged a Supreme Court writ claiming a number of rare and valuable stamps went missing from her father's collection after he died from renal failure aged 88 in June 2012.

In her affidavit, obtained by Fairfax Media, Mrs Kino said she was the sole beneficiary of her father's estate.

Mr Sterling had been a prominent art and antique dealer in the 1960s. "In his later years, my dad sold many of his artworks and antiques but still retained an interest in collectables," Mrs Kino said in her affidavit.

"In about May 2007, my dad decided that he would like to put together a collection of major world stamps. He decided to limit his collection to Australian stamps specialising in King GeorgeV, kangaroos and Sydney Harbour Bridge."

Mrs Kino said that in early 2008 her father asked her husband, Michael, and his brother, Brian, to help him put together the collection. Between June 2008 and April 2010, Mr Sterling spent about $3.5 million buying stamps.

In November 2011, Mr Sterling had the collection catalogued and found a number of valuable stamps were missing.

Mrs Kino alleges that eight stamp lots had been removed from her father's collection without authority and put up for auction by Brian Keno with Prestige Philately. She said her father would have told her if he had given away any stamps from his collection.

The defendants named in Mrs Kino's writ, including Brian Kino and Prestige, have denied any wrongdoing. The case has been set down for trial before Justice Peter Vickery on a date to be fixed
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Re: Family battle over $3.5 million stamp collection

Post by doc »

jimdotwalker wrote:
The material withdrawn by court order at Prestige yesterday, ran into $100,000s.
Total Estimates of eight lots withdrawn was $95,000?
($4K+$50K+$4K+$4K+$4K+$3K+$20K+$6K)
By your figures yes.

However you have a $40,000 estimate block in there at just $4000. Bargain price for a £2 Mint Roo block :)
jimdotwalker wrote:
Lot 7: £2 black & rose BW #55A block of 4, well centred, the third unit with a couple of slightly nibbled perfs at left, some mostly minor tonespots, lightly mounted, Cat $40,000+ (as singles). Another attractive and very rare block.

Our vendor states that only three blocks of four are recorded in private hands, of which this is the finest. Arthur Gray, Stuart Hardy and Hugh Morgan were all missing a block of four. (Estimate: $4,000)
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Re: Family battle over $3.5 million stamp collection

Post by Global Administrator »

What an unfortunate mess, and seeing it is all being played out in the Supreme Court, and a trial is set down there, the costs will end up being more than what the stamps are worth most likely, as several defendants appear to be named, all who presumably will need to engage legal counsel.

That is usually the case in such matters. The lawyers are the only winners. :twisted: :roll:

A incredibly wealthy old chap in his very late eighties ... who would really know what he might have given to whom?

It appears from the Prestige lot comments, that no police report was ever made on the alleged theft, no insurance claim lodged, and no report to APTA/PTS/ASDA to advise of the alleged theft, hence alerting dealers and auctions globally is most curious, to me anyway.

I have not spent any time on it, but finding the auction that sold Sir Ron Brierley the only corner block existing of £1 the Bi-Colour etc in the past few years, will not be hard to do I'd guess!

Julian Sterling died in June 2012, and only started buying stamps in 2006 or 2007, so it was a brief buying spree.

If Bernie Manning ID'd items that were allegedly missing in 2011 from his collection, it seems logical a police report would have been initiated by Julian Sterling soon after?

Burglary was not an issue it seems, as the bulk of the stamps remained intact in the safe. And an alleged suspect, seems to have been fingered and easy to police interview if anything was in fact 'stolen'.
Prestige Sale Catalogue wrote:
Lot 6: £1 brown & blue BW #51A upper-right corner block of 4, the third unit [R11] with UFO Over Cape York #51(D)k, the gum a little "suntanned" but unmounted!, Cat $60,000+ (as singles). An attractive and very rare block.

Our vendor states that only four blocks of four are recorded, of which this is the only corner block. Arthur Gray's mounted block of 4 - both right-hand units with repaired perfs - sold in February 2007 for $US35,000 (= $A48,500 at the time). (Estimate $50,000)

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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by passport_collect »

Yes, the lawyers are going to love this.
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by David Benson »

Doc,

you stated
The "Lionheart" stamps involved here were owned by Sydney resident Sir Ron Brierley.
If so, why wasn't he named as one of the defendants,

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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by wolseley16/60 »

Wasn't Gary Watson a lawyer previously ? if so should make interesting 'entertainment'..........
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by Global Administrator »

wolseley16/60 wrote:
Wasn't Gary Watson a lawyer previously ? if so should make interesting 'entertainment'..........
As I recall both Charles Leski and Gary Watson are fully qualified lawyers, but both chose to go into the stamp selling business.

I can't see this has anything to do with Sir Ron Brierley, other than to annoy him mightily that the $150,000 or so funds these would have realised on Saturday, are tied up for goodness knows how long with the Court lawyers. :idea:

He bought them in good faith from John Mowbray it seems, some years ago, and paid for them in full and has receipts, and the present tacky family wrangle that seems to be taking place, would not involve him in any way.

Brierley is an intensely private person, and would hate being involved in this at all.
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by David Benson »

I don't think Gary has any problems, he offered to sell the items and place the funds into escrow until the courts decide where they should go.

I don't understand Leski's comment that he would have got higher prices, no way to prove it one way or the other.

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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by David Benson »

Glen,


re a previous comment,
Mrs Kino alleges that eight stamp lots had been removed from her father's collection without authority and put up for auction by Brian Keno with Prestige Philately
nothing in there to suggest they were previously auctioned,

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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by Global Administrator »

David Benson wrote:
I don't understand Leski's comment that he would have got higher prices, no way to prove it one way or the other.

David B.
Wrong. The only way to prove this is if Leski offered comparable pieces to auction and got good prices. Like a mint block 4 of £1 bi-colour Kangaroos.

He did - on Wednesday last week, and they did NOT get a bid. Nor did the £1 Bi-colour monograms get a bid on the day. Maybe their 24.2% Buyer Fee deterred bidders - who knows? If you have the country's highest buyer fee, there are often downsides to that. Like poor sales.
Image
Zero bids on these 3 key items, and the £1 Block is a very comparable piece of course to the Prestige £1 Block. Adding 24.1% fees to these kind of estimates is nose bleed territory!


Leski just auctioned off the first part of Julian Sterling's Kangaroos this week. Two more sales are scheduled.
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by Global Administrator »

David Benson wrote:Glen,


re a previous comment,
Mrs Kino alleges that eight stamp lots had been removed from her father's collection without authority and put up for auction by Brian Keno with Prestige Philately
nothing in there to suggest they were previously auctioned,

David B.
Wrong.

Prestige comments clearly indicates they were all obtained by Brierley = "Lionheart". It may have been via a Mowbray Auction, or Private Treaty but I understand there are receipts for them.
Prestige Website wrote:
We, our vendor and the auction house he bought these stamps from are completely innocent in this matter, which was acknowledged by the court.
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by Tassie_Stamps »

Charging almost 25% buyer fees is a great way to detract bidders. :roll:
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by Global Administrator »

Tassie_Stamps wrote:
Charging almost 25% buyer fees is a great way to detract bidders. :roll:
It is an obscene amount, and a huge risk to crank them up that high. They charge you 27.2% in total if you pay by Amex card.

On a "$1000" bid, that comes to $1,272 invoice plus shipping and insurance, or around $1,300.

Charles Leski Auctions morphed into mossgreen in recent times, and I think these massive fees will badly affect his stamp sales. Time will tell.
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by BigSaint »

Global Administrator wrote:Charles Leski Auctions morphed into mossgreen in recent times, and I think these massive fees will badly affect his stamp sales. Time will tell.
Is it right that now with Leski-Mossgreen that auction items are not at the auction site & you have to come back another time to collect them? I have heard some unhappy murmurs about this?

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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by GJ50 »

Global Administrator wrote:
Tassie_Stamps wrote:
Charging almost 25% buyer fees is a great way to detract bidders. :roll:
It is an obscene amount, and a huge risk to crank them up that high. They charge you 27.2% in total if you pay by Amex card.

On a "$1000" bid, that comes to $1,272 invoice plus shipping and insurance, or around $1,300.

Charles Leski Auctions morphed into mossgreen in recent times, and I think these massive fees will badly affect his stamp sales. Time will tell.
Buyer's fees at Prestige of the buyer shall pay a premium of 15% of that price, plus any fees for postage packing and insurance or credit card use that are charged by Prestige, plus GST as appropriate. take the cake as well with many buyers.
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by Global Administrator »

A massive 7% DIFFERENCE Gary.

Maybe 7% extra on top of our bill means very little to you, but it does to most. :mrgreen:

On that $1000 hypothetical stamp it is a $70 difference between mossgreen and near all other auctions here. :idea:

Obscene.
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by GJ50 »

Global Administrator wrote:A massive 7% DIFFERENCE Gary.

Maybe 7% extra on top of our bill means very little to you, but it does to most. :mrgreen:

On that $1000 stamp it is a $70 difference between mossgreen and near all other auctions. :idea:

Obscene.
Glen, I have bought from them both only once in the last 4 years, Leski, a lot for $300 and Prestige, two lots for about the same.

Both items I bid for I have not seen for over 20 years offered.

So I hope they both don't depend on my business to earn a living.

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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by Global Administrator »

Gary, but you are a cricket man -- you should have been in there bidding on this last week - got $2500+ :)

Be a long time until another comes up. :idea:
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by GJ50 »

Sorry Glen, I don't collect philatelic cricket covers but rather commercially used especially to the non standard countries like UK, France etc.

I picked up one on ebay to Bulgaria to $10.

The rego label is scarce but the postmark is one of the most common around.

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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by Global Administrator »

Well spotted. :)

Yes the LABEL is worth about $2500 of the $2563 paid! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Only 56 ever sold yet over 100,000 of the special cancels covers done.

Noel Almeida bought it, for a friend in the NETHERLANDS of all places. Cricket certainly has a global following.
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by GJ50 »

Yes and Noel has the biggest block of the 1st 12 from memory which I sold him all those many years back before I collected cricket when I needed some extra cash.

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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by Night Watchman »

GJ50 wrote:
Global Administrator wrote:...Yes and Noel has the biggest block of the 1st 12 from memory which I sold him all those many years back before I collected cricket when I needed some extra cash. GJ50
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by aethelwulf »

In a twisted way, this news could be a boost to philately--it shows there can be big money in stamps; family members might take a bit of interest in what Dad gets up to locked away in his study at night (although their interest might be limited to "how much can we get out of the old man?" :? )...

In the end, it comes down to a family feud over property, and who gave what to whom and when, or were pieces removed surreptitiously. There's no hanky-panky of stamp forgery or overpriced ripoffs. It could be stamps involved, it could be coins, it could be Chinese porcelain.
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by bathurst stamper »

Global Administrator wrote:Noel Almeida bought it, for a friend in the NETHERLANDS of all places. Cricket certainly has a global following.

Netherlands beat the touring Australian side in 1963 :shock:
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by jkrabbenbos »

bathurst stamper wrote:
Global Administrator wrote:Noel Almeida bought it, for a friend in the NETHERLANDS of all places. Cricket certainly has a global following.

Netherlands beat the touring Australian side in 1963 :shock:
And England already twice in the Twenty20. This years win was covered like this: http://www.espncricinfo.com/world-t20/content/story/732979.html.

But we are a very small cricket nation.
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by tapstamp »

I have observed from the Mossgreen website that two major things have occurred :

1. They have not disclosed the " Prices Realised for " The Julian Sterling Philatelic Auction Part 1 held on the 30th. April.

2. They have delisted the Part 2 of the sale from their listing of forthcoming auctions.

I can for see all sorts of speculation as to the reasons for these two actions. We will have to await further developments in this regrettable saga

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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by tapstamp »

Some further information on the Mossgreen web site is now showing that Part 2 and 3 of the Julian Sterling Collection will now be held on 12th. August 2014.
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by Global Administrator »

Yes even on their own website it is confusing .. an image saying next sale is next week, and then a note underneath that it is August!

https://www.mossgreen.com.au/content/auction-calendar/
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by Lakatoi 4 »

This from the published Vic. Court list for today:

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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by DJM »

Funny how some people suddenly become seriously interested in Dad's stamps when they find out how much they're worth.

D.

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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by wolseley16/60 »

Pure bloody greed.....
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by tapstamp »

Not so !

The family was on the journey with their Father in developing the collection over many of the years.

They were completely aware of the value of the material.

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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by Global Administrator »

tapstamp wrote:Not so!

The family was on the journey with their Father in developing the collection over many of the years.
Julian Sterling, the father who owned the stamps and bought the stamps did not want Marilyn Kino and her husband Michael to know he was selling. So that part of the "journey" he did not issue them tickets for, it seems!

Sterling had signed a formal Auction agreement with Prestige for the entire Kangaroo collection, with Richard Juzwin present, and expressly stated Marilyn and Michael Kino were NOT to be told this had been done.

Agree the entire thing is very strange. Seems on my reading to be a simple matter of an internal family squabble, between Marilyn Kino of Caulfield, and her husband Michael Kino "MK" .... and Michael's brother Brian Kino ("BK").

Marilyn Kino is the wife of "MK", and the daughter of collection owner/builder Julian Sterling "JS". It seems she inherited the stamp collection he spent some ~$A3.5 million on.

Gary Watson, according to his sworn Supreme Court affidavit quoted in part this week by Fairfax newspapers nationally, indicated that Michael Kino had said that the collection went to Mossgreen because he and Charles Leski have been best friends since they were at school together.

Julian Sterling "JS" bought and owned the stamps. Members of the trade who were had dealings with him have I understand commented that Julian Sterling’s relationship with Brian Kino "BK" seemed closer than it was with his own son-in-law "MK".

"BK" it seems claims that "JS" gave him some of the stamps, that he later sold. To my untrained legal eye, this appears to be the nub of the issue.

Mrs Kino claims in her affidavit she “was aware of my Dad’s daily activities” - implying she knew all about his business and personal dealings.

I very much doubt she did get told everything by her father when he was alive, as the following seems to prove beyond doubt.

On Wednesday, 26th August 2009, at 12 noon, I understand there was a meeting with BK, JS and Richard Juzwin ("RJ") at BK’s home in St Kilda Road. The purpose of the meeting was to examine JS’s collection and advise about its sale at public auction. Neither "MK" nor Mrs Kino attended that meeting, and Gary Watson stated in his sworn Supreme Court affidavit that -

"JS instructed me very firmly that I was not to mention anything to MK about our meeting or discussions. I have never done so. RJ attended as BK and JS’s philatelic advisor, and recommended to them that the collection be sold by Prestige. After our meeting, all four of us had lunch in the same building. While walking to the restaurant, JS said that he would not consider selling his collection through Charles Leski (“CL”), another Melbourne auctioneer, who he said was “no businessman”, and that CL was always “spinning plates”, which I understood to mean that JS believed CL lacked focus in running his business, which had diversified into numerous non-philatelic fields."

"On 1st September 1909, I wrote to JS and BK reflecting on our meeting and attaching a formal proposal for the sale of the collection. On or prior to 3rd February 2010, I received a phonecall from BK to advise me that JS had accepted my proposal in its entirety and requesting me to pick up the collection from JS’s home at 11am on Monday 8th February 2010. I confirmed those details to BK in a letter of 3rd February 2010, a copy of which I believe was sent to JS.

My diary entry for 8th February states that on arrival I was to push the “Sterling Button”. None of the above meetings, discussions, letters or agreement are mentioned by Mrs K in her affidavit, suggesting that she had no knowledge of any of them. Prior to 8th February 2010, I received a phone call from BK who said JS had been rushed to hospital and that pick-up of the collection would need to be postponed."


The Auction was later called off, Watson was advised.
==========
Tom, the 'value' of any stamp material is what it sells for. Agree?

Whether sold at Prestige or Leski the value of key items is much the same - indeed some might argue, higher at Prestige than at Leski given recent results.

Prestige had bids on all the material before they were withdrawn it appears, with many indicating they'd make room or phone or agent bids. The Leski sale of Kino material days earlier, had a number of similar major Kangaroo pieces passed in with zero bids, as the Prices Realised list shows us clearly.

Sir Ron Brierley (the seller) suggested the Prestige sale went ahead and the funds be escrowed by the lawyers, whilst the family spat sorted itself out.

Mrs Kino did not want the stamps, she clearly only wanted the money, and Prestige would have delivered on that as well or better than anyone else.

As today's Fairfax "Age" newspaper says, which has seen both Affidavits -

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/lionheart-stamp-collector- ... zshqr.html

"I informed the solicitor that (the Kinos) had provided no real evidence of theft, that no police report, no insurance claim, and no report to APTA (Australasian Philatelic Traders’ Association) had been made, and that this caused me to seriously question the credibility of the claim," Mr Watson said in his affidavit.

"In the same email I also stated that both our vendor, Sir Ron Brierley, and I were aware that if any stamps were proven to have been stolen from JS’s (Julian Sterling’s) collection that Mrs Kino would have good title to them."

Mr Watson said Sir Ron had then suggested the auction go ahead and the net sale proceeds be held in trust pending the outcome of the Supreme Court case, but Mrs Kino rejected this offer.


Indeed the Brierley lots were not the first time that allegedly missing "JS" stamp material had appeared at auction.

Watson's sworn affidavit also states -

"In February 2014, 'MK' phoned me to say that a block of stamps (“the block”) sold in Prestige’s most recent auction, on 7th February 2014, had been stolen from 'JS’s' collection. 'MK' told me that other unspecified items had also been stolen. I asked MK if a police report had been made, an insurance claim lodged, or a report made to APTA for circulation to all members in respect of the alleged theft. MK told me that none of those things had happened. I asked for a list of the items alleged to have been stolen but he indicated there was no list, as such, of the items."

"I phoned the vendor of the block, a private collector with no association with any of the other parties to this action, and was told by him that he had bought the block from New Zealand auctioneer John Mowbray (“JM”). I phoned Mowbray, who I have known in a professional capacity for at least 30 years, and he confirmed what our vendor had told me."

"I phoned MK with this information and he said he was going to phone JM about the matter. I subsequently learned that JM had told MK that JM’s vendor was BK.
My wife told me that MK had phoned her to say that he had decided not to pursue the matter through legal channels but was prepared to buy the block at the auction price. We made a commercial decision to overturn the auction sale and allow MK to buy the block.



So Michael and Marilyn Kino I can state with certainly bought the alleged stolen block back at the full auction price from Watson, and it also appears they made no police report or took any legal action on this allegedly "stolen" stamp piece.

Michael Kino was once a lawyer, and presumably would be well aware of the law that legal title vested with Marilyn if the stamps she was buying, were allegedly stolen from her? If so, why pay a large sum of money to buy back your own "stolen" stamps? And NOT report it to Police?

I'll let readers make their own judgement on all of this.

Sir Ron Brierley's common sense solution when all this blew up just before his "Lionheart" Auction, was for the sale to take place, and the proceeds of the 8 lots in dispute escrowed by an agreed third party, until it was decided who the actual owners were. The Kinos rejected this offer via their legal people just before the auction took place.

It seems Mrs Kino had no interest in keeping the stamps, as a bunch of 'JS' material had been ran to Public Auction that same week via Leski's mossgreen, to muted response, as the public figures attest.

Money seems to have been her objective, not retaining a collection of rare stamps her father left her.

It seems to me the real loser here was Prestige Auctions. Gary Watson told everyone in the auction room that he had bidders (and in some cases more than one bidder) for all of them. Their commission, had these pieces all sold a few days later after the legal action started, would have been around $50,000 in foregone buyer/seller fees, PLUS the expense of printing up these lots into a colour catalogue etc. Plus all their wasted time and legal fees etc.

So to my non legal mind, Prestige had acted in total good faith, and accepted nice material from a highly respected and well known vendor, who had all proper receipts. Stamps bought from another senior and respected member of the trade. It seems bizarre they will be the ones now $50,000+ out of pocket?

Seeing the vendor appears to have clear ownership of the material, and the earlier and allegedly "Stolen JS material" sold at Prestige auction was later bought back at full auction price by the Kinos, who made no police report, or took no legal action, it will be interesting to see where this ends up.

I am not taking any sides here on the Auction houses. Full disclosure - I have bought from both firms, and have known and traded with both Charles Leski and Gary Watson most successfully for 35 years, and regard both owners as charming, and professional, and very successful.

However I'd be pretty angry if I bought nice material off Sir Ron Brierley or anyone else with legal receipts, and some alleged owner popped up to torpedo the sale just as I was about to sell them - as would ANY dealer. :roll: :twisted:

Likewise any client of mine that bought stamps off ME in good faith, paid for them, and later had someone demanding them back would be equally miffed I am sure. :?:

Let's hope an outbreak of common sense occurs, and the matter gets sorted and no-one is financially impacted that have acted in good faith. The court and philately are not usual bedfellows. :idea:
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by tapstamp »

Thanks Glen for this well informed and very detailed reply.

Things are sometimes never as they first appear.

Thanks Tom
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by jaywalker »

Has it now been resolved, or is it still going? If it is still going, are there any locals attending proceedings as spectators?

Sounds like it might be a great premise for a new season of "Underbelly" :P
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by MargoZ »

Report from today's 'Herald Sun':

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/melbourne-woman-c ... 6965538323

RARE postage stamps depicting kangaroos are at the centre of an expensive Supreme Court spat.

One of the world’s major stamp traders, NZ investor Sir Ron Brierley, is locked in legal action over possession of part of the $3.5 million collection.

Melbourne woman Marilyn Kino has launched a bid against Sir Ron and others after alleging her brother-in-law, Brian Kino, stole some of the collection bought by the wealthy corporate raider.

The collection was owned by her late father, art dealer Julian Sterling, who died in June 2012, aged 88.

Mrs Kino is now fighting for the return of the 44 stamps valued at up to $270,000.

Mr Sterling was said to have one of the world’s leading stamp collections depicting kangaroos, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and King George V.

Mrs Kino sought an injunction on several stamps due to be sold by Melbourne auction house Prestige Philately after they were identified to be ones missing from her father’s collection.

The matter is undergoing trial before Justice Peter Vickery.

Suresh Senathirajah, acting for Mrs Kino, alleged Brian Kino, who helped Mr Sterling build his prized collection, took at least 33 of the missing stamps.

Mr Kino withdrew from the action before the trial began on Monday so is unable to defend the allegations in court.

Giving evidence yesterday, Mrs Kino agreed her “estranged” brother-in-law was an “unwelcome and malevolent” influence on her father.

Timothy McEvoy, acting for Sir Ron Brierley and Prestige Philately, argued since Mrs Kino had not alerted police or the Australasian Philatelic Traders’ Association to the missing stamps that there was an estoppel from her claiming the valuable stamps.

Mr McEvoy told Mrs Kino “it beggars belief” she didn’t suspect Brian Kino had taken the missing stamps given his access to the collection and the fact several were clearly missing by mid-2012.

But Mr Senathirajah said the “penny finally dropped” with her husband, Michael, when he noticed some of the missing stamps were advertised for sale earlier this year.
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by Global Administrator »

Wow ... the feathers keep on flying today -

https://www.theage.com.au/national/how-stamps-tore-a-family-apart-20140807-3dbbe.html

A small excerpt -

The evidence provided to the court details a bitter family dispute involving Sterling, his son-in-law Michael Kino, and Michael's brother Brian Kino, also a well known figure in Melbourne's art and stamp circles.

Both Kino brothers are passionate philatelists. The brothers have not spoken in four years, but Brian Kino spent several years assisting Sterling with his stamp purchases, until they also had a bitter falling out.

The court has heard that, with his health failing, Sterling then asked another Melbourne stamp expert, Bernard Manning, to catalogue his collection.

Manning found large unexplained gaps in the collection. Initially, $112,000 worth of stamps were found to be missing, including some of the most prized.

The court has been told that Sterling instructed Manning to seek out Brian Kino for information.

Manning recounted his discussion with Brian Kino regarding the missing stamps to the court.

''He said … he couldn't think of any explanation, but they had traded back some items,'' Manning told the court. ''[He said] um, Julian might have destroyed them. You know, he'd had an argument with [another stamp expert] Richard Juzwin, um, recently, and Richard had seen him throw some things into a waste-paper bin and he might have done that with the stamps.''

When Sterling passed away and his daughter and her husband Michael Kino inherited his multimillion-dollar fortune, the missing stamps remained a mystery.

The Kinos became aware of the whereabouts of the missing stamps when Gary Watson, the sole director of Melbourne stamp dealer Prestige Philately, last year tried to auction a limited number of rare Australian stamps. The auction, titled Australian Rarities from the Lionheart Collection, was quickly injuncted, and eight lots were withdrawn from the sale.

As part of that legal battle, the court has been told that Brian Kino directly approached New Zealand auctioneer John Mowbray several years ago to sell some stamps.

Mowbray told the court: ''Anybody with a modicum of thought on wanting to sell valuable stamps would realise that one way to sell them is to actually offer them through me to Sir Ron Brierley, and that's exactly how the transaction occurred. I am assuming Brian Kino had actually worked that out and that's why he approached me.''

When Mr Mowbray asked for some provenance for the stamps, Brian Kino wrote him a letter stating they had been gifted to him by his father and an unnamed ''deceased uncle''.

Mr Mowbray accepted that explanation, and the rare stamps were sold to Sir Ron.

In court, legal counsel for Sterling's daughter wanted to test Brian Kino about the identity of the anonymous uncle, and ask him if that was Julian Sterling.

Unfortunately, Brian Kino was a no-show at court. On the first morning of the hearing his lawyers, Holding Redlich, withdrew as his legal counsel and told the court they had no idea whether their client would appear.

According to Brian Kino's sworn affidavit, a long history of bitterness between him and his brother and sister-in-law was at the heart of the dispute, and he denied his relationship with Julian Sterling broke down.

''In about May 2010 Julian and I agreed that we would still be in contact and remain close friends, but that I would no longer advise and help him with our collection. This was a very sad moment for both of us, brought to a head by Marilyn and Michael who, I was told by Julian, were putting enormous pressure on Julian to stop seeing me at all. Julian had been telling me over the previous year or so that Michael and Marilyn hated me, and they told Julian that I was an evil influence on him,'' he stated in his affidavit.

''On another occasion in Julian's apartment when Julian, Michael and I were in a room together, Julian turned to Michael and said that he wished that I was his son-in-law and not Michael. This statement was a major factor in the total breakdown of my relationship with Michael and Marilyn.''

Brian Kino's explanation is not one that Sterling's family accepts. Legal counsel for Marilyn told the court Brian Kino ''stole these stamps or blocks of stamps from the Julian Sterling collection''.

A final decision is expected on the disputed stamps in coming months, but Marilyn Kino has pushed on with the sale of her father's final collection without them.

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Marilyn Kino claims her brother-in-law stole her Father's Stamps
Read more: https://www.theage.com.au/national/how-stamps-tore-a-family-a ... z39mM3Iv00
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by aethelwulf »

Received an email yesterday from Christoph Gaertner auction house saying that Mossgreen will be holding the sale of Part 2 & 3 of the Sterling collection soon.
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Re: Melbourne family legal battle over $3.5m stamp collectio

Post by Lakatoi 4 »

I must say that the single vendor Mossgreen catalogues are every bit as good looking as their art and antiques catalogues.

All are very upmarket, Julian Sterling auction cat.'s have a slightly canvas feel to the cover with gold embossing. Great looking reference books for collectors of Roo's or KGV issues :idea:

The reserves in the first sale were a bit high which resulted in quite a few not selling but I see they have been reduced to a more realistic starting level in the next auction.
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