Thursday 12 July 2012

PACHI Quiz: US Antiquity Sales vs "Repatriations"

As announced ("ICE returns stolen and looted art and antiquities to Peru by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI):
Since 2007, HSI has repatriated more than 2,500 items to more than 23 countries.

Quiz question:
How many portable antiquities are sold by US based dealers every week (on eBay, V-coins, and individual dealers' sites) without any mention of documentation of legal export and legal origins being available to the buyer?   Is it:
(a) one tenth of that number?
(b) a half of that number?
(c) ten times that number? (d) Some other number?

In actual fact 2500 objects is a mere drop of water in the ocean of objects sold on the no-questions asked antiquity market in the US, and 2500 objects in five years is hardly anything to boast about, given the size of the problem.

But "number of objects" repatriated is not the figure that counts. How many antiquity smugglers and dodgy dealers have been sentenced as a basis of those 2500 cases since 2007? How many are behind bars in the US for attempts to circumvent the already lax and poorly-enforced laws?

More to the point, and I bet I am not the only one interested in the answer to this one, how many dealers and collectors are under active investigation in the US now in the latter half of 2012 for possible involvement in dodgy antiquities dealings?

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