A great deal of time, thought, consideration of logistics, planning and experiences of others has gone into ensuring Mike Pyles extraordinariily generous gift is safeguarded and that the plates are safely delivered to where Mr Pyles believes they belong.
A poster on this thread is kind enough to raise doubts, probably in order to ensure Mr Pyles, the Directorate of Tsarskoe Selo Museums and Bob Atchison are aware of possible pitfalls.
All of us involved in this exercise appreciate the fact that cross-border taxes and bureaucracies are inevitable hurdles. Additionally, the Paris auction house anticiipated the autochromes would fetch between $3 and $5,000 dollars. At that point they indicated to the member of Tsarskoe Selo Museum staff who was dealing directly with the sale that, in view of the plates being restored to the rightful ownership, they would 'consider' waiving their fee. They had no way of anticipating the autochromes would exciite such interest and thereby achieve a much higher than expected price. Inevitably the price impacts on their commission. This is charged on a percentage basis. Thus it would have rendered it impossible for them to follow through their previous, altruistic, offer.
Those of us who care and are concerned about the future of the Alexander Palace should rejoice we have the great fortune to have in our midst a human being with such depth of generosity and awareness of history, and of architectural history, that he so selflessly gifts these - actually priceless - objects to ensure we, Tsarskoe Selo Museums, the people of Russia and everyone on earth for generations to come are able, should they wish, to be able to witness the resurrection of not just a building of outstanding architectural merit, but also to help capture a culture and lifestyles which heretofore appeared to have been lost forever.