Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Art Loss Register had on Record Coins Stolen from Fed-Ex

A recent press release praises the Art Loss Register ('ALR') because it led to the recovery of "three high-value historic coins" stolen from a FedEx package en transit from New York to London ten years ago. They were stolen going from one coin seller (in this case Sotheby's) to another. The art loss register of course can never be used to keep track of illegally dugup coins or ancient artefacts since illegal excavation is by its nature a clandestine activity. It cannot be stressed enough that in the case of recently "surfaced" archaeological artefacts, their absence from the ALR is totally meaningless. It is not "proof" that they have not been stolen, merely that they do not figure in the ALR - two completely different things in the trade of archaeological artefacts such as coins. Sadly the nearest we have to an Antiquity Loss Register is the Heritage Action Erosion Counter, and a similar French initiative.

Vignette: Art Loss Register logo (clever, no?).

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