More antiquities withdrawn after identification in Christie’s and Sotheby’s auctions in New York

19 Dec 2014

Christos Tsirogiannis

Following the identification and withdrawal of the rare Sardinian idol in Christie’s, Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis, Research Assistant in Trafficking Culture, identified from convicted dealers’ photographic archives three more antiquities in Christie’s and one in Sotheby’s due to be auctioned in New York.

In Christie’s, an Egyptian alabaster figural jug (lot 51), estimated at $150,000 -$250,000 and a Roman marble column capital (lot 139), estimated at $80,000-$120,000, were identified from the Symes-Michaelides archive, confiscated by the Greek authorities in 2006. Additionally, an Attic red-figured column krater (lot 95), estimated at $60,000-$90,000, was identified from the images that were confiscated in the early 1990’s by the American authorities from the dealer David Holland Swingler. All the antiquities were due to be auctioned by Christie’s in New York on 11 December. Furthermore, Dr. Tsirogiannis identified from the Symes-Michaelides archive an Egyptian diorite figure of a priest of the temple of Mut, late 25th/early 26th Dynasty, circa 670-610 B.C., estimated at $400,000-$600,000, due to be auctioned in Sotheby’s (lot 6) in New York on 12 December. The American, Italian and Egyptian authorities were immediately notified. The cases were presented in details on the websites of the Association for Research into Crimes against Art (ARCA), and ‘Looting Matters‘. All the antiquities identified in Christie’s were withdrawn before the auction, while the antiquity identified in Sotheby’s remained unsold. The investigation by the American authorities is ongoing.