The power of the press: The effects of press releases and popular magazines on the antiquities trade
Kersel, M. (2012), ‘The power of the press: The effects of press releases and popular magazines on the antiquities trade’, in E. Meyers and C. Meyers (eds), Archaeology, Bible, Politics and the Media: Proceedings of the Duke University Conference, April 23-24, 2009, (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns), 73-83.
In December of 2007, Time magazine published an article by journalist Maria Baugh, entitled “Antiquities: The Hottest Investment.” This article appeared just days after the New York office of Sotheby’s auction house sold the Guennol Lioness for a record-shattering U.S. $57.2 million. Declaring that although “the sculpture is just three and a half inches tall and looks like a female body-builder with a lion’s head,” there was no question that “the 1948 purchase of the Guennol Lioness by Alistair Bradley Martin was a brilliant investment” (Baugh 2007). Antiquities and art appear to be the next hot investment, yielding up to a 10-percent return and esthetically more appealing in your curio cabinet than a stock certificate, which may or may not be worth the paper it’s printed on. When Baugh asked whether the “average Joe” could actually afford to participate in the market, experts in the dealer community hastened to assure that buying antiquities is not just sport for the very rich.