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Croydon Council ceramics fetch £8m at Hong Kong auction

Riesco collection at auction
Image caption The Christie's auction was held in Hong Kong early on Wednesday

Antique Chinese ceramics owned by Croydon Council have been sold for just over £8m at auction in Hong Kong.

Seventeen items were sold out of 24 pieces available, including Ming bowls bought by Croydon from local businessman Raymond Riesco in 1959.

A blue and white Ming dynasty moon flask fetched the highest price, £2.2m.

The Museums Association had previously accused the council of "asset stripping" its collection and a "breach of the code of ethics".

The council said money from the sale will go towards redeveloping Fairfield Halls, a 50-year-old arts centre.

The remaining 206 pieces of the Riesco collection remain on show at a gallery in Croydon Clocktower.

Maurice Davies, head of policy at the Museums Association, said: "One thing that is sad is Croydon Council was almost taken to court for judicial review because of weaknesses in their decision-making process but campaigners could not raise enough money for the legal fees.

"We certainly hope other local authorities won't think it's easy to asset-strip their museum collection.

"We are calling on Arts Council England to strip Croydon Council of their status of an accredited museum authority."

A Croydon Council spokesman said: "The council is pleased that 17 of the items sold at auction, some of these for more than was expected.

"This will provide significant investment for culture in Croydon."

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