Saturday, 16 June 2018

Collectors' Corner: Alien Bronze Age Mongolian/Babylonian Jade on EBay

EBay seller ancart (location: 'ANCIENT and AUTHENTIC**GUARANTEED!, United States ) has a lot of 'antiquities' for sale, and has 5576 positive feedback points from satisfied collectors. That is a bit odd, looking at what they sell. As they say:
Artifacts and Treasures from around the World. We offer ancient artifacts from a number of cultures such as Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek, Judean, Persian, Phoenician,and Roman along with African and Tribal artifacts and weapons. We wholesale to the public. All pieces guaranteed authentic and come with a Certificate of Authenticity (unless otherwise stated) which is our guarantee of your satisfaction
There is the usual stock assurance of legitimacy (but note how here they probably intended to delete one version before publishing). Also the old 'archaeological institute' claim:
We have just had the great pleasure of acquiring a large collection of artifacts and we off[er] this unique treasure to you! We have bought from various auctions and collections from around the world and now we offer these rare items to you. NOTE TO EBAY: This item is NOT NATIVE AMERICAN and has been in a collection for over 75 years We are members of an Archaeological Institute We are members of an Archaeological Institute and studied in Israel and the US. So CHECK OUT OUR OTHER ITEMS. [...] Buy ancient artifacts from Egypt, Rome, Judea, Greece and other Tribal artifacts and weapons from around the world. All our items were collected prior to 1970 and come from private collections. All are acquired legally. Buyer pays shipping AND handling as noted in the ad unless otherwise stated, and international rates will vary and be determined at the close of the auction. We cannot insure outside of the US. Any insurance claim will be initiated and completed by the buyer. [...] COA: This fantastic artifact comes with a Certificate of Authenticity (unless otherwise stated) which is our guarantee GUARANTEE: Our items are guaranteed, and with us, you can buy with confidence. Collecting is a great hobby, and we want your experience to be a joyful one. Our buyers can count on a 100% money back guarantee. We pride ourselves in selling the best product available.
An example of their wares is this object sold together with a surfeit of exclamation marks: WOW! STONE AMULET! ALIEN? ANGEL? GOD? DEMON? 5000 YEARS OLD! (401547691752) sold for US $36.00 [ 11 bids ].
A GREAT ONE! [...]  WE OFFER THIS EXQUISITE TREASURE TO YOU! [...] Looks to be Asian.... I have also heard Babylonian. It appears to be made of jade or some other hard stone. I have seen similar on TV Ancient Aliens show! I have done some research and similar to those found in Inner Mongolia...mysterious ancient culture with a history connected to ancient alien theories DATING: Early Bronze Age, 3000-2000 BC! This one measures about 2 1/2" tall and 1" wide BEAUTIFUL WOW! This artifact would be a wonderful center piece to any collection. DON'T MISS IT!! 
The Mongolian Bronze Age in fact extends from  ca. 2500–1500 BCE.  All the 'Holy Land' objects (3) on sale at the moment are dated to the 'time of Moses' , the 'Indus valley' (3)  bowls from Pakistan are not ascribed to any culture, there are a few generic 'Egyptian beads' and a 'Coptic cross', a US side-notched spear point (not assigned any country or culture of origin), and this 'alien' thing. What kind of collectors are buying these objects and what do they do with them? Where will they end up and in what form? 


Benjamin Kurtz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Barford said...

What I am saying is that the object I show is misdescribed. And when you know what it is, you can decide yourself whether the sales spiel is deliberately misleading. The guy now has a "going out of business sale" that is instructive. Look at the iron knives and ask yourself what they are and where they are more likely to be from than where his supplier says they 'come from'. Their typology seems pretty unambiguous to me. So how much can you trust the descriptions as a whole? You decide. Caveat bloody emptor, I'd say.

Paul Barford said...

There are a lot of these "alien" figures on ebay, some for ridiculous prices. I have also seen "Ica stones" on offer, but wonder if they are from the same sources as the ones discussed by ancient aliens buffs, or whether they are imitations of them, made on the basis of the illustrations in "ancient aliens' books and websites. This is a very good case of the 'bazaar archaeology' discussed by Muscarella and it is clear that in the future, we will need a very thorough study of the antiquities market from 1995 onwards to disentangle the varying visions of the past that the antiquities market co-creates.

Benjamin Kurtz said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to hijack your post.. (the discussion was still very much in line with the blog's theme, however, with the looting issues, etc. :) (I just asked because this kind of tomb looting is a major ethical issue for me, and I would not want to purchase things coming from this by mistake.
About that seller in particular, it is "amusing" how many kitchen knives are labelled "iron spears" and "dagger knives".

Ok, I see what you mean.. This somewhat what I suspected, that some items were authentic, but others sounded off to me.. (with lots of different sellers)

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