It is a funerary lekythos depicting a farewell banquet for the deceased, in a classic farewell scene. It was presented at an international antiquities dealers exhibition in 2007 in Maastricht, where it was put up for auction by a Swiss antiquities dealer.The lekythos appears to have surfaced at TEFAF Maastrict in March 2007. The press release does not name the dealer. (The TEFAF website only lists those who are due to exhibit in 2009). It would be interesting to know if the lekythos had been recognised by the Art Loss Register (ALR) whose services are used for TEFAF.
After a series of negotiations, the Swiss dealer decided to hand over the lekythos to the Greek government in an out-of-court settlement, without reservations or conditions. It was delivered to a representative of the Greek embassy in Berne and then crated in the customs free zone in Basel before being transported to Greece.
Will more details be released? The return was "without reservations or conditions"—so why the secrecy?
Rompres has provided further images and the following statement:
A funerary lekythos made of Pentelic marble (400-350 B.C) is displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Athens, Greece, 21 April 2008. The lekythos was officialy [sic.] presented to the Press on 21st April by Greek Culture Minister Michalis Liapis after it was repatriated on 17 th April from Basel, Switzerland where it had been part of the collection of the antique dealer J.D.Cahn.Presumably this is Jean-David Cahn AG of Basel.
Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis on Monday inspects a 4th-century B.C. marble funerary lekythos returned to Greece from the collection of a private antiquities dealer in Switzerland that he presented to the press at the National Archaeological Museum the same day.
From Athens News Agency.