Greek hunter of stolen antiquities identified Roman marble statue
A new identification of an ancient object which is now for sale, was made by the forensic archaeologist and Research Assistant in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research at the University of Glasgow, Christos Tsirogiannis.
The auction will take place on the coming Friday, 8th of December, in Paris, at Hotel Drout. Tsirogiannis has notified the French police art squad.
“I have identified a Roman marble statue of a young athlete, in the forthcoming auction of Millon. The auction will take place on the coming Friday, 8th of December, in Paris, at Hotel Drout. The statue in the Millon catalogue has, as its only provenance, ‘Royal Athena Galleries, New York, Art of the Ancient World, IV, 1995, p. 75-76, lot no. 236’. Indeed, the statue appeared for sale in Royal-Athena Galleries, and is mentioned in that volume, but in 1985, not in 1995. It may be a printing mistake, it may be not”.
Also, the same statue is depicted in three professional images, in the confiscated archive of the biggest illicit antiquities dealers during the last quarter of the 20th century, Robin Symes and Christos Michaelides. This photographic archive has been confiscated by the Greek police art squad in 2006 in the Aegean island of Schinousa. However, Symes and Michaelides are not mentioned by Millon in the ‘provenance’ section.
“Additionally, in 2006 I discovered that the same statue was sold in Sotheby’s, in London, during the 5th of July 1982 auction, as lot 397. This information, also, has been excluded by Millon from the ‘provenance’ section” Tsirogiannis adds.
It is important to find who is the consignor (owner) of the statue in the Millon auction, but, most importantly, who was the consignor of the statue in the 1982 Sotheby’s auction in London, as we do know that Sotheby’s in London during the 1980’s and 1990’s was the place where Medici, Becchina and others used to consign and/or launder illicit antiquities. Medici and Becchina were among the main suppliers of Symes and Michaelides.
Although the statue is not depicted in any other archive apart from the Symes – Michaelides one and that -so far- it is not clear in which country was originally discovered.