City of Gotha v. Sotheby's
In 1946, a small 17th Century oil-on-copper painting by Dutch Mannerist Joachim Wtewael disappeared from a museum in central Germany. In 1992, the painting appeared in an auction catalogue at Sotheby’s, London, setting off an ownership battle in English courts. German authorities claimed that a Panamanian company, Cobert Finance, had converted German state property by consigning the work to auction, and demanded its return. In 1998, the English court . . . .