'Eminently duplicable' collection is sold off to the highest bidder

December 24, 1999

The Turner books were "under-conserved" and "under-used" and "where they end up is irrelevant", said the collection's purchaser, international dealer Simon Finch, this week.

Mr Finch slammed concerns over the sale for Pounds 1 million, arguing that the Turner books were "eminently duplicable", and "there are far greater collections that have been sold and split".

He denied rumours that some of the rare books had been sold on to Paul Allen, Bill Gates's original partner in Microsoft.

Mr Finch said he still had most of the books. The best ones he has kept together to sell to a client - but he refused to say whom. The rest he will sell to "anyone who wants them - even academics at Keele".

He said he shared concerns over bequests being sold, but he felt this collection was not special enough to warrant the level of controversy its sale had brought.

Mr Finch said he had bought the books through an agent and he got them because he had offered hundreds of thousands of pounds more than anyone else.

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