Bankrupt French company’s precious manuscripts to go on sale


The world’s greatest private stock of manuscripts, which includes around 130,000 items and several cultural treasures, is coming to market. Acquired over a dozen years by the scandal-hit Aristophil company, the precious pieces are due to be auctioned at Drouot as early as next September, under the guidance of the auctioneer Claude Aguttes.

Gérard Lhéritier, the founder of Aristophil, was charged with organised fraud in 2015. He is accused of setting up a Ponzi scheme by greatly inflating prices for the works he collected and adding big returns for investors. Attracted by the hope of 8% annual interest,18,000 clients bought shares in the 54 collections he assembled with contracts totalling around €850m. The investigation is ongoing, but Lhéritier has denied all the charges against him, claiming that he was merely speculating on an undervalued niche market. More than €100m of his assets were seized, forcing his company into bankruptcy… Read more

Image: Sales of the of the manuscripts are due to start at Drouot auction house in September, under the guidance of the auctioneer Claude Aguttes