Art Market Scandal ; Most Antiquities for Sale Are Faked or Looted, Says Expert
Jury, Louise, The Independent (London, England)
The vast majority of antiquities on sale in Britain are either stolen or fakes, a leading museum scientist has told a national conference on art crime.
Paul Craddock, a scientist at the British Museum whose work involves checking the authenticity of artefacts, said international legislation had so far 'proved toothless' at fighting the burgeoning problem.
'The amount of legitimate material on the market is very, very small,' Dr Craddock said. 'Most of the antiquities on the market nowadays are either stolen or forgeries.'
The claim - at a conference in London organised by the Fraud Advisory Panel - could prove highly damaging to the lucrative London market.
The British art market is believed to be worth more than pounds 500m a year and in 2000 the Metropolitan Police alone seized pounds 22m worth of stolen or faked antiquities.
Looting - a problem dating back centuries - is also a modern phenomenon, as demonstrated by the widespread theft of artefacts after the invasion of Iraq two years ago.
Dr Craddock's comments prompted protests from some of the dozens of delegates. Ros Wright, chairman
of the Fraud Advisory Panel, established by the Institute of Chartered Accountants, said: 'I'm sure that nobody does take away the impression that all art on the market is suspect.'
Art and auction houses in London …
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Publication information: Article title: Art Market Scandal ; Most Antiquities for Sale Are Faked or Looted, Says Expert. Contributors: Jury, Louise - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: May 24, 2005. Page number: 1,. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.