Friday, July 20, 2007

Antiquities from Cyprus

The new agreement restricting the import of Cypriot antiquities to the US is welcome news. It is encouraging to read that it is now recognised by the US authorities that 'coins constitute an integral part of the archaeological record of the island [of Cyprus]'.

Common sense has prevailed.

But I also note that Sotheby's in New York sold at least US $219,000 worth of Cypriot antiquities (in 39 lots) between June 1998 and June 2006. And what about the other auctioneers, dealers and galleries?

Cypriot is a minor component of the sale of antiquities at Sotheby's New York - less than 1% in value for this period. But Cypriot antiquities on offer without any recorded history or find-spot are almost certainly the 'fruits' of recent looting. How will the new legislation alter the future pattern of sales?

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