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Britain Blocks Manuscript Sale To Getty Museum

Apr 9, 2013
Originally published on April 9, 2013 7:14 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And our last word in business today is, money may not buy you everything.

The Getty Museum, in Los Angeles, reportedly paid more than $6 million recently, at an auction in London, for a 15th century, illuminated manuscript. The prized item, with gold script that makes it shiny, is considered one of the finest examples of Flemish manuscript illumination. It tells the story of a nobleman who travels to Egypt on a pilgrimage, and dies a hero.

It is a landmark acquisition for the Getty, which is looking forward to showing it off to visitors. The problem? The Brits don't want to give it up now. The L.A. Times reports that Britain's culture minister has blocked the work from leaving the country, putting it under an export embargo. The minister wants to raise money to keep the work in the U.K.

The Getty's director is dismissing this situation as normal procedure, and is looking forward to quote, "a positive outcome." Then again, last year, a British museum successfully raised $12.5 million to keep a Manet painting in its halls.

That's the business news on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.