Monday, June 23, 2008

Italy to Renew Claims on Antiquities

At the end of last week Sando Boni, the Italian Minister of Culture, issued a statement that he would be seeking the return of further items of cultural property. (See also Lee Rosenbaum's comments.) His predecessor Francesco Rutelli had anticipated that hundreds more antiquities would be returned. (These include objects in three other museums [North America, Europe, Far East] and possibly the seized stock of a London dealer.) By my reckoning only some 1% of the pieces represented by the Polaroids seized in Geneva have been returned to Italy. So "hundreds" would only represent some 5% of the possible returns.

The Geneva polaroids also included material from countries other than Italy. It is probably too early to say that the era of returns is over - we will be seeing other countries stepping up their activity as objects are identified.

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