17 Nov 2010

Auctioneers Association questions Hillary liability

4:22 am on 17 November 2010

The Auctioneers Association is questioning how much June, Lady Hillary, is liable to pay after cancellation of an auction of six of Sir Edmund Hillary's watches.

The watches were withdrawn from sale by the Swiss auction house Antiquorum because of an ownership dispute between Lady Hillary and Sir Edmund's children.

It says Lady Hillary may have to pay up to $200,000 if it cannot complete the sale.

But the president of New Zealand's Auctioneers Association, Bryan Andrews, says the amount she is liable for will depend on how much the watches are worth and how the sale contract is worded.

He says $200,000 seems exorbitant for watches that might not be worth more than $150,000.

Antiquorum estimates, however, that the watches could have fetched up to $650,000.