Sunday, 18 November 2012

"Nobody Wants to Deal with the Accused". Really?

A quote in Rick St Hilaire's blog post about the upcoming Khouli sentencing caught my eye. Khouli's lawyer, Gerald Shargel, seeks a sentence of probation and is arguing he should not go to prison for the culture crimes to which he has admitted. He points out that others convicted in the USA in recent years of similar offences did not go to jail. In addition:
"Khouli's professional life has suffered tremendously," argues Khouli's attorney, adding that others do not want to engage in business with a felon who is seen as "a pariah in the industry."  That is why "the government's deterrence arguments [in favor of incarceration] are meritless," he writes.
You have to laugh. The charitable assumption would be that Gerald Shargel is a decent sort of bloke who has otherwise had very little contact with dugup antiquity collectors. It would be interesting to know whether the sentencing judge has more experience.  For many collectors the fact that a dealer has had items seized by the Gubn'mint is a sure-fire way of telling he deals in authentic artefacts - all that matters to them.

So the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ought to take a look at Mr Khouli's online shop, selling dugup antiquities. It is here: 'palmyraheritagemorriskhouligallery', so no pretence there to hide who is behind it. In fact it rather looks like he's trying to capitalise on the name. The gallery was opened up soon after Windsor Antiquities was closed.
Palmyraheritage Specializing in Ancient coins Ancient Egyptian Greek Roman Byzantine & Islamic Artifacts. 3rd genaration family business. Gallery Since 1995 in NYC. Life member of the ANA 5533. Known for reasonable Prices and great Authentic Items.
Mousa "Morris" Khouli  was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2011 and pleaded guilty on April 18, 2012 to smuggling Egyptian cultural property into the United States and making a false statement to law enforcement authorities. Let's have a look at the feedback he's been getting since then. There are seventeen whole pages of them since his confession 18th April. Including such gems as this:



Rare Ancient Marble Eye Idol Tell Brak c.3200 BC (#290670925358)
US $225.00

wonderful. thank you for this beautiful item.

Rare Ancient Roman Bronze bowl phiale C.1st Cent AD. Ex Sackler Collection (#290648453448)
US $195.00

Decent for the price

Ancient Roman bronze Arrow head C.1st Cent AD (#290581209668)
US $9.00

Decent Specimen. I ordered the remaining lot.

Ancient Roman bronze Arrow head C.1st Cent AD (#290581209668)
US $9.00

This is a beautifully crafted Drachm of Eubonia, crisp, well centered strike,GR8

EUBOIA, Euboian league. Circa 304-290. AR Drachm (16mm, 3.9 gm) (#290678081842)
US $180.00

great seller, thank you!

Rare type Large Ancient Roman red Clay Jug c.1st Cent AD (#290684891769)
["Lawhelper"? And where did that jug come from and how did it reach the US "Lawhelper"?]
US $79.00

great ebayer [...]

Ancient Roman bronze Arrow head C.1st Cent AD (#290581209668)
US $9.00

great ebayer [...]

Ancient Roman red Clay oil lamp with a wreath c.1st Cent AD (#290636044659)
US $67.50

... and so on, right through April, May, June, July, August, September, October and into November.

Despite his lawyer's claim that "others do not want to engage in business with a felon who is seen as a pariah in the industry" he's managed to sell 416 authentyc antiquities (including many items from Egypt and the Middle East) from 'palmyraheritagemorriskhouligallery' and get entirely positive feedback on them all. Do we see any evidence here that buyers consider the antiquities dealer any kind of a "pariah"? Mr Khouli currently has nearly 600 items on sale in his online shop, very few of them have any up-front details of collecting history or export permits in the sales offer.

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