NY billionaire returns stolen antiquities

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by rrdenarius, Dec 8, 2021.

  1. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    I am not sure how many here have followed this, but it is worth googling: US billionaire surrenders $70m of stolen art, and you will have several minutes of interesting reading. Quotes from one article:
    Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s largest collectors of ancient art, “displayed a rapacious appetite for plundered artefacts”, the district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr said on Monday.
    The seized pieces lacked verifiable provenance prior to appearing on the international art market... Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, and Turkey.
    Prof Christos Tsirogiannis, a leading archaeologist, has identified more than 1,550 looted artefacts within auction houses, commercial galleries, private collections and museums. ​
    some pics from the article -
    billionaire-stolen-antiquities.jpg billionaire-stolen-antiquities a.jpg billionaire-stolen-antiquities b.jpg money.jpg
    I liked the briefcase of cash in the article. Mr. Steinhardt looks too happy to be handing over his stuff. I bet none of the fund transfers were in US paper money.
    spoils from Jewish temple.jpg
    I wonder if Italy should return all of the stuff the Roman armies confiscated as victors.

    US billionaire surrenders $70m of stolen art (msn.com)

    New York billionaire surrenders stolen antiquities worth $70M - ABC News (go.com)

    The lines between heroes, villains and regular folks can be blurry. How many of us here have culturally important stuff with no acceptable & verifiable provenance?
     
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  3. Cherd

    Cherd Junior Member Supporter

    “For decades, Michael Steinhardt displayed a rapacious appetite for plundered artefacts without concern for the legality of his actions, the legitimacy of the pieces he bought and sold or the grievous cultural damage he wrought across the globe."

    The DA seems to have a rapacious appetite for overstatement and character assassination.
     
  4. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    From everything I've read about him -- including multiple credible allegations of persistent sexual harassment over a period of many years, disgracing his ostensible role in Jewish philanthropy -- Steinhardt doesn't really have a character capable of assassination. He's hardly an innocent victim here, and his conduct is not remotely analogous to that of ethical collectors, whether of antiquities or ancient coins.
     
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  5. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    I think all of us/ break the rules. But govts get away with it/ Napoleon looted artworks from Italy/ now in Louvre. Russian Red Army forces looted Germany/ Hungary/ Poland/ Czehoslovakia/ Romania/ Bulgaria now in Hermitage. The "Koson" AV Staters which most of us own/ where dug up in Romania/ illegally. To which I say, great. Otherwise they would have all ended up in some Bucharest museum.

    When I was collecting butterflies/ moths....part of the fun was being able to obtain CITES protected specimens, and get them thru customs into my museum drawers. Big govt. likes to have control over every aspect of your life. The Brazilian govt. put people in jail for collecting specimens/ yet they allow complete deforestation/ burning down large swaths of the Amazon rainforest. Nowadays, we have foreign govts. trying to prevent "cultural property" from exporation/ this includes coins. Greece recently did this laws to include Byzantine coinage.:(
    John
     
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  6. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

    I think this includes coins coming out of Cuba...

    cc 13 114~.jpeg
    cc 13 115.jpeg

    I used to get some Cuba coins off Ebay. They do not allow it anymore. There are plenty of Cuba coins sold in Las Vegas coin shows still.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2021
  7. kirispupis

    kirispupis Supporter! Supporter

    IMHO there's a huge difference here. The majority of my coins were bought for less than $200. While it's possible a few weren't obtained in the best way:
    • I have no means of validating how they were obtained
    • Governments are highly unlikely to bother me over such low value coins
    • In the highly unlikely scenario that one was flagged, it would upset me but not set me back severely
    However, anyone in the market for artifacts over $1M needs to ensure their provenance is tight. For that kind of money, I'd pay someone to validate what the auction house/seller is saying. These kind of artifacts should have been noticed when they were last sold.

    It doesn't sound like this guy cared about all that. Also, from what I read - several of these artifacts can be traced back to museums/sights from which they disappeared.

    The sad thing is the dollar amount probably is negligible to him. He was literally financing the looting of antiquities (the resulting laws of which cause us all pain), and the punishment was mild.
     
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  8. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Well-Known Member

    This type of stuff is awful and hurts our ability to “process” some underground history.

    But…

    The problem with all of this press and billionaire bashing is that it ends up creating laws that hurt us. The dude could not have done what he is accused of doing without loads of money. I doubt any law has ever stopped anyone with the money to circumvent that law. But, when you and I have to provide a chain of custody from the shovel to the hovel, we get the raw end of the deal.
     
  9. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    I think that law only lists coins minted by the Communist Regime/ older AV 1-20 Pesos are reg. on Heritage site. Still crazy, since the Cuban (Castro regime) are benevolent compared to USSR (60+ M murdered) China (100+M) Mao is still revered and appears on their $$$.:vomit:
     
  10. Cherd

    Cherd Junior Member Supporter

    I'm not saying that the guy is an innocent angel. But, I will say that illegally buying items that were pulled out of the dirt last week is not equivalent to, "grievous cultural damage wrought across the globe." It is an example of poetic licensing being used to overstate the case.

    We should all be warry of this kind of thing whether we agree with, disagree with, like, or hate the person being targeted. These types of angles are increasingly, recklessly utilized by news agencies, journalists, lawyers, and politicians these days. If we do not see it for what it is, and call it out for what it is, then we become just another of the mindless, irrational mob being directed by whomever happens to be writing the stories.
     
  11. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

    The NYC district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr, is a 'cultural property' crusader. He raided the 2012 NYINC which resulted in the arrest of Dr. Arnold Peter Weiss (Nomos, AG). More recently, he busted Sadigh who - curiously - was known but ignored for decades. Vance is set to retire in the next few weeks.

    All of this, including the much-discussed 'memoranda of understanding', stems from the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property

    The Convention has been adopted by nearly every country around the world and implementation is still only in the beginning stages. Every collector should familiarize himself/ herself with the details.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2021
  12. J.T. Parker

    J.T. Parker Well-Known Member

    And then there are the Elgin Marbles!
    J.T.
    Addendum: I am glad the Klimt 'Adele Bloch-Bauer portrait' was returned to the family.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2021
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  13. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I see them under “Caribbean island coin” or “hispanionla coin” or some other variant
     
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  14. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    The UN is well known
    What about the art works plundered by the French from Prussia/ Holy Roman Empire/ Spain? The "New World" was taken over by English/ French/ Spanish by force. Russia was once the Duchy of Moscow/ 99 percent of its gigantic landmass was added on by force/ conquest. Everyone is guilty/ esp. governments. And as for the UN, they are a joke. They appoint the worst human rights abusers/ Countries like Iran/ Saudi Arabia/ Russia/ China/ N. Korea to head commitees on Human Rights/ Women's Rightso_O
    When Hutus began the horrific genocide in Rwanda in 1995/ Canadian General Dallaire was told by UN bigwigs to do "nothing" to stop the mass slaughter of Tutsi's.
     
  15. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

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  16. iameatingjam

    iameatingjam Well-Known Member

    Agreed. Very loaded language.


    Then again I might be slightly biased...
     
  17. Nicholas Molinari

    Nicholas Molinari Well-Known Member

    I have no ethical qualms about coins and antiquities I buy from well-advertised public auctions.
     
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  18. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

    I have seen that too, but you can be banned if they find out you bid on it. So I don't take that chance with them. Great Collections always sells Cuba coins.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2021
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  19. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Heritage/ Stacks also have Cuban coins in most of their auctions....
     
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  20. KevinM

    KevinM Active Member

    Do we remember the ship "Mercedes" of Spanish origin?Someone else does all the work that no country is interested in till the silver/gold is found.I do not think Odyssey even got a 10% finders fee from Spain and men died looking for it.We are all slaves to the governments,bankers and corporations leave it at that.

    The coins, which were flown to Tampa, have been in the court's possession under the custody of the US Marshals Service from around the time the legal battle began in April 2007. As Judge Merryday did, the appeals court ordered that the treasure must be given to the Spanish government. But in what appears to be a contradictory statement, Judge Black wrote: "We do not hold the recovered [treasure] is ultimately Spanish property." Until Odyssey exhausts all its appeals, it may be some time before the coins are returned to Spain.

    https://english.elpais.com/elpais/2011/09/22/inenglish/1316668850_850210.html
     
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  21. Sidney Osborne

    Sidney Osborne Well-Known Member

    Coin talk was stolen from the internet by the dark web....
     
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