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Man repatriates 19 antiquities after reading Guardian article


robinjojo
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2 hours ago, robinjojo said:

A man living in the US has repatriated £80,000 worth of Cypriot and other antiquities.

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2022/nov/11/man-repatriates-19-antiquities-after-reading-guardian-article

 

 

robinjojo, Thanks for sharing this article 🙂. I will go a step further than CPK, I think John Gomperts was foolish in returning these artifacts 🤨. Despite having no provenance other than he inherited the artifacts from is grandmother, doesn't mean they were illicitly acquired. The article gives no info how his grandmother acquired them. Gomperts states "These objects were her obsession, her entire existence." She was active in excavations & had written scholarly papers. In essence his actions indicate his grandmother probably looted the artifacts 🙄. I think Gomerts has unduly soiled her legacy by thinking he did "the right thing" 😖. I would have kept the artifacts & passed them on to other family members; maybe that's just the larceny in me 😏....

Edited by Al Kowsky
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I think this is a case where an individual made a decision to send some antiquities back to their source countries.  That was his decision, and I respect that.  Others would not do so, and that is their right, unless there are clear indications that the antiquity in question came from a dodgy source.  In the case of antiquities returned, I think the owner could have continued holding them, but he decided to take the repatriation route instead.  I guess my view reflects my effort to view these matters with a degree of equanimity.

The whole issue of repatriation of antiquities is a complex one, with plenty of international politics mixed in.  I own very few antiquities, and those all come from a source I trust, Harlan Berk. 

Now, I did have that matter of the detained owl from South Arabia last year, under an MOU between the US and Yemen.  Coins are another matter, due to their fluidity of circulation in the ancient world, with hoards popping up in many diverse locations, and I was glad when the coin was released.  When it comes to coins there is far less of a strong argument for repatriation.

Edited by robinjojo
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I agree with you @Al Kowsky. I suppose this gentleman thought he was being exceptionally noble and ethical, but in my view his action was the exact opposite. These artifacts seem to have been important and very fascinating pieces of family history; they should have been cared for and passed down to the next generation as such. Now, they'll most likely just sit in some government storage facility, ignored and without any special significance to anyone, or else sold to fund some inane and inconsequential government policy.

This is quite apart from the disrespect shown to his grandmother personally, by throwing away part of her legacy like that, and giving the impression that the artifacts were in fact looted when there is no evidence of it. 

Very cheap.

 

 

 

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I think the man's assumption that his grandmother necessarily looted those artifacts simply because she participated in excavations is dubious. One doesn't follow the other. There are all sorts of legitimate ways she could have acquired the artifacts with the knowledge and consent of local authorities. Furthermore, I don't even see any evidence specifically tying particular artifacts to the particular excavations in which his grandmother participated. I think he's been effectively brainwashed by all the anti-collector propaganda. And, as a result, is publicly labeling his late grandmother a thief. It's unfortunate.

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Even though I bought my only antiquity on eBay and I feel a little guilty for getting a real steal of a deal, NO WAY am I going to an embassy in Iran or Turkey just to repatriate an ancient jar I have.

In Turkey, I think they still chop off your hand for stealing. Who knows what they'll do in Iran?

That guy, making himself feel so good at grandmas expense, shheeeesh!

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It’s rather in contrast to the guy who is selling his unique Celtic gold ring for £30k.

He bought it for ‘a few hundred pounds from a metal detectorist’ in 1994, 2 years before the Treasure Act.

Still, the law of treasure trove applied, so presumably either he could prove it was lost rather than hidden, or the museums turned it down for the sake of a few hundred pounds.

The reason he’s selling it is so his children don’t have to work out what to do with it. Maybe he was worried they’d hand it in to the authorities…

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I don't disagree with the comments that his actions have cast aspersions on his grandmother, but his assumptions are not all without merit.

I noted this quote:

"A couple of the objects came with receipts, but Tsirogiannis realised their links to known Greek dealers of illicit antiquities in the 1950s and 1960s. “So this alerted me even more for him to repatriate them immediately,” he said"

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3 hours ago, robinjojo said:

I think this is a case where an individual made a decision to send some antiquities back to their source countries.  That was his decision, and I respect that.  Others would not do so, and that is their right, unless there are clear indications that the antiquity in question came from a dodgy source.  In the case of antiquities returned, I think the owner could have continued holding them, but he decided to take the repatriation route instead.  I guess my view reflects my effort to view these matters with a degree of equanimity.

The whole issue of repatriation of antiquities is a complex one, with plenty of international politics mixed in.  I own very few antiquities, and those all come from a source I trust, Harlan Berk. 

Now, I did have that matter of the detained owl from South Arabia last year, under an MOU between the US and Yemen.  Coins are another matter, due to their fluidity of circulation in the ancient world, with hoards popping up in many diverse locations, and I was glad when the coin was released.  When it comes to coins there is far less of a strong argument for repatriation.

I also trust Harlan J. Berk Ltd. in regards to the artifacts I bought from them ☺️. Never the less, trust only goes so far. The last artifact I bought from his company was a Roman bronze oil lamp from the 2nd century AD. This artifact was offered without a provenance. Does that mean I should repatriate the lamp back to Italy 🤔? I don't think so 😏.

697013841_IMG_0604(3).JPG.0d3c8ce36264f26d88f0ff4fd30aa513.JPG

Edited by Al Kowsky
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Of course not.   

I am simply saying that I view Harlan Berk as a trusted source.  Not all of the antiquities sold have provenances, and indeed there is always the chance that a recently looted artifact could slip by them; they are after all human and  fallible.  But I feel far more confident buying an antiquity from them as opposed to some questionable seller on eBay or elsewhere online.

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