An Overview of the Antiquities Trade

Saving Antiquities for Everyone is a non-profit organization aimed at promoting awareness of the illicit antiquities trade. They have an excellent collection of interviews which give an overview of the problem. I came across some of these podcasts a few months ago, and never got around to posting the links. There are interviews with journalists Roger Atwood, author of Stealing History and Peter Watson, co-author of The Medici Conspiracy and author of Sotheby’s The Inside Story. All three are outstanding and accessible works which do a good job of giving some excellent anecdotal accounts of the antiquities trade.

There are also interviews with law Professor Patty Gerstenblith, as well as the former Chairman of the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities Donny George Youkhanna.

The interviews are a bit dated. Roger Atwood in particular talks about the acquisition policies of museums. He says if museums refused to accept unprovenanced objects from collectors, this would really cut to the heart of the antiquities trade, as collectors would be unable to get the lucrative income tax deductions. That was exactly right just a few years ago, but the decisions by the Indianapolis Museum of art as well as the Getty seem to indicate the position of American art museums has shifted dramatically just in the last 12 months.

Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com

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