StampNews.com hurries to inform that Sir Ronald Brierley was accused to be the thief of US$200,000 of stolen rare stamps. He is a legendary New Zealand corporate raider and leading philatelist who will have to return the rare and valuable items.
The stamps include a King George V one-penny stamp, a 10 shilling Kangaroo stamp and a block of stamps from the "Sydney Harbour Bridge" series and were stolen from late Melbourne art dealer Justin Sterling in a bitter family dispute.
A Supreme Court judge ruled that art dealer Brian Kino, the brother-in-law of Mr Sterling's daughter, misappropriated the valuable stamps from Sterling's $3.5 million collection and sold them to Sir Ronald under false pretences.
Mr Sterling's daughter, Marilyn Kino, claimed the stamps went missing after her father died from renal failure, aged 88, in June 2012.
Judge Peter Vickery rejected claims by Mr Kino that he was given the 44 stamps, worth an estimated $270,000, by Mr Sterling between 2008 and 2010. "I am satisfied Mr Kino had the opportunity to take the stamps because, from about 2008 until about May 2010, he had been assisting Mr Sterling in creating, cataloguing and generally maintaining the Sterling Collection", Justice Vickery said.
Sir Ron, known in the rarefied world of stamp collecting as "Lionheart", had planned to sell the stamps at an auction on May 2. The auction catalogue entitled Australian Rarities from the Lionheart Collection described Sir Ron as "a collector of rare distinction".