The Wall Street Journal ran a piece by Georgi Kantchev yesterday about the illicit sale of antiquities via sites like eBay, Amazon, and Facebook. Wall Street Journal subscribers can read the article here. If you have access to the WSJ via ProQuest’s ABI/INFORM Collection, you can use this link. Artnet News, Jezebel, and others have been relaying the information in this story and adding commentary from other experts.
Among the more astonishing facts is that possibly 80% of the 100,000 objects for sale on-line everyday carry no evidence of provenance, which means that they are potentially looted or forgeries. It is up to the buyers of antiquities and other cultural heritage objects (including libraries, archives, and museums) to be vigilant and demand information about provenance.
For those interested in security in archives and libraries, this news is not surprising, although it makes it no less disheartening.