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Budapest Court Rejects Foundation’s Claim on Esterházy Treasures

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.09.24.

The municipal court of Budapest, acting as a primary court, has rejected a claim by the Esterházy Foundation over the title to a collection of precious antiques deposited by the Esterházy family with Budapest’s Museum of Applied Arts in 1923 and collectivised in 1949.

In its ruling, released to MTI on Wednesday, the court said that the foundation could not prove that the 270 items of silver objects, coins, and textiles had been “an integral part” of the collections of Fraknó (Forchtenstein) Castle, now in Austria, a seat of the aristocratic family.

Balázs Czigány, the deputy head of the foundation, told a press conference that the foundation was aimed at displaying the collection in Budapest, making it available to both the general public and researchers. He said the foundation wanted to “restore the legal integrity of Hungary’s largest applied art collection”, adding that “taking the treasures out of Hungary has never been proposed”.

According to a statement by the foundation, they will appeal against the non-binding primary ruling.