LONDON — Fearful that pictures of couples in athletic love poses might offend squeamish bidders, a firm of London auctioneers has called in Scotland Yard's vice squad to screen the items in Britain's first public sale of erotic art.
The Bonhams auction house is worried that the works being auctioned Nov. 20 might fall afoul of the law.
About 170 antique "curiosities" from China, Japan, India, France and Victorian England are expected to bring prices ranging from $40 to $4,000.
"It is a sensitive subject, and the line between pornography and art is a tenuous one," said Bonhams' spokeswoman Isobel Glenny. "Scotland Yard has guided us and an Inspector White from the vice squad came along to see what we are offering."
Although erotica is a popular feature for many London art galleries, art experts say this is the first time an auction house has tackled the theme.