Mapping the Supply: Usual Suspects and Identified Antiquities in 'Reputable' Auction Houses in 2013
Tsirogiannis, C. (2016), “Mapping the Supply: Usual Suspects and Identified Antiquities in ‘Reputable’ Auction Houses in 2013”, Cuadernos de Prehistoria y Arqueología 25 (2015): 107–144.
The confiscation of the Medici, Becchina and Symes-Michaelides archives by the Italian authorities (with the cooperation of the French and Swiss) and Greek police and judicial authorities, has led to more than 250 repatriations of antiquities so far. Apart from these successful claims, the main contribution of the on-going research on the archives lies in revealing the fundamental role played by the main members of the international antiquities market (auction houses and galleries) in circulating illicit material after the 1970 UNESCO convention (against the illicit traffic in cultural material). It is telling for the current antiquities market, that despite the exposure of the wrongdoings of Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Bonhams, ‘Phoenix Ancient Art’, ‘Royal Athena Galleries’, etc., the same auction houses and galleries continue to rule this market and to sell material depicted in the confiscated archives. This article not only indicates and analyses the cases identified in 2013 in the most ‘reputable’ auction houses, but also reconstructs and maps the paths by which these antiquities reached and circulated in the market.