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Central Park Gallery slapped with lawsuit after selling fake antiques

By Mason White 9:06 PM February 2, 2013
Antiques market

Not everything sold at a gallery is authentic even though the gallery is located in New York City, according to a new lawsuit filed in court.

An Ohio man said he was duped by an alleged Faberge fraudster in a luxury gallery in Central Park, a new $1.2 million lawsuit claims.

The man shelled out more than $165,000 for five fakes in a real old Russian bazaar at the Essex Gallery House in August 2002, the court documents state.

A New Jersey dealer named Ronald Safdieh, boasting experience in Russian antiques, allegedly marketed fantasy objects for a company called José de Bellas Artes, the documents state.

At the time, David Butt, 59, of Dayton, Ohio, was dazzled by the items laid out at the gallery.

Butt allegedly only discovered that he had been duped when he went to an auction of Antiques Roadshow in Cincinnati in the summer of 2012 and the New York City expert considered the pieces to be fakes.

The man was shocked. Safdieh, whose shop in the Essex House closed in 2009, denied the allegations.

“I sold both genuine antiques and new pieces, but never made false statements,” he said, adding: “People believe what they want to believe.”