For almost 20 years the Keno brothers, Leigh and Leslie, have been stars of Americana and valuable cars. They came to these fields with fine pedigrees, Leigh a noted specialist at Christie’s, Leslie once a director of American furniture and decorative arts at Sotheby’s.
These names are familiar to you if you have watched Antiques Roadshow on PBS. They have been there forever and are highly regarded.
The New York Times recently reported on their fall from grace, under the headline “Behavior and Bidding Oddly Out of Sync,” and describes their behavior in recent months as “out of sync with their stature as antique world luminaries.”
Most of us know them as razor sharp detectives who can, from across the room, spot and identify exceptional material. So it seems incongruent that they, who are partners, were competing bidders at two auctions this spring, the first in April at New Orleans Auction Galleries and the second in May at Kamelot Auctions in Philadelphia. Between the two sales they spent about $600,000 and made it onto the front page of “The Arts” section of the New York Times on Monday July 18th because they have been taken to court by these auction houses for failing to pay their invoices.
The Times noted that in some cases they were both bidding, the one by phone and the other online on the same item. Ouch.-
A $70,000 portion of the New Orleans invoice for $400,000 was paid recently and it’s now expected they’ll pay off the balance soon. As for the Kamelot invoices this past week they settled the case.