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Greece prevents antique auction

02 October 2014 / 12:10:12  GRReporter
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The marble head of the Olympic gods’ messenger Hermes was withdrawn from an auction organized today by Bonhams Auctioneers in London. The artefact will not be exposed for sale at the request of the Greek Ministry of Culture which refers to the opinion of the Directorate for Documentation and Protection of Cultural Values.

According to the report of the Directorate, the presence of the sculpture in the electronic list of items on the auction roused the authorities which requested that it be removed immediately, referring to the legal rights of the Greek state. In particular, the head of Hermes has been documented on photos confiscated by the Greek authorities. This shows its possible origin and the likelihood that it has been exported from Greece illegally.

Bonhams Auctioneers not only withdrew the sculpture from the auction, but have made direct contact between the owner and the Greek Ministry of Culture. According to sources from the Ministry, the head of Hermes is on the list of the Italian citizen Gianfranco Becchina, who had been involved in illicit trafficking in antiquities in the past.

It is worth noting that suspension of an auction is possible only when there are strong legal arguments that prove there has been a wrongful act.

Tags: History auction marble head of Hermes Greek Ministry of Culture
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