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Niiicola
05-30-2013, 10:38 PM
There's a statue that was stolen from a Syrian museum in 2011, and it's from the 8th century BC. It's an Aramaic god, made in bronze, gold-plated, about 12.5 cm tall. I'm trying to figure out (very roughly) what kind of price something like that would fetch on the black market. Any ideas on where I could find out this kind of information? Interpol has a poster listing brief information about it, but obviously not the street value.

Oh man, sometimes I feel so sketchy posting questions like this.

Weirdmage
05-30-2013, 11:24 PM
It's worth what someone is willing to pay for it. That's not very helpful I know. With unique items, they are often stolen "to order", and the prize is negotiated in advance. In other cases they are sold to a trader in illegal antiques who knows exactly who would be a good customer for that item. The price for the item will be hugely different when the trader buys it and when he sells it.

I think it would be very hard to get any specific prices on a specific item. Your best bet is to search out criminal cases against black market traders and see if you can find any information there about what was paid, if that is even known.

Everything I know about this I have learned from reading history and archaeology magazines. I'd suggest starting your search there, especially archeology magazines. Searching the following sites should turn up something about the illegal antiquities trade:

http://www.archaeology.org/
http://www.archaeology.co.uk/
http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/

King Neptune
05-31-2013, 12:34 AM
There is a very small market for stolen artefacts of that sort, because the collectors who would be interested in owning such a thing would mostly like to display it, but that statue will not be displayed agin until it will be recovered. Some things like that are stolen to order; a collector contracts for it. In either case the market is wide open; it's a matter f what someone can get for it. Even if it was theft to order, the theif could change the price until it is delivered.

shaldna
05-31-2013, 01:09 AM
There's a statue that was stolen from a Syrian museum in 2011, and it's from the 8th century BC. It's an Aramaic god, made in bronze, gold-plated, about 12.5 cm tall. I'm trying to figure out (very roughly) what kind of price something like that would fetch on the black market. Any ideas on where I could find out this kind of information? Interpol has a poster listing brief information about it, but obviously not the street value.

Oh man, sometimes I feel so sketchy posting questions like this.


Honestly, when artifacts like that are stolen, it's usually to order. Now, when the theif finds out what it's worth, they may try to sell it someone else if they have the connections, but generally, they are going to want to keep it pretty quiet because careless talk and all that.

What is it worth? Well, that depends on what someone is willing to pay. i'm not an expert so I wouldn't even begin to guess.

You could look for what similar items have sold for at auction, and then add a little for a private collector who is willing to spend.

You'll also need to understand the mentality of those collectors - they don't necessarily want to show it off, there's a secret thrill about knowing you have someone so wonderful and no one else gets to see it, or even know about it.

there's been a lot of speculation about how many pieces of art, stolen and otherwise, that are in the hands of private collectors that no one knows about.

Siri Kirpal
05-31-2013, 05:25 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

What everyone else said. The price is whatever the purchasing collector is willing to pay.

So, I've got some actual experience with this. My parents collected Oriental rugs and were robbed. All but 4 of them were found in a warehouse in Germany. (My parents lived in San Diego.) A small group hired the robbery. We don't know what happened to those 4 missing rugs. But the robbers were looking for specific ones, so those were probably the ones purchased on order. The rest were "fenced."

Hope that helps.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

wendymarlowe
06-04-2013, 08:53 AM
The good news is, you could make up any price you wanted to and nobody except readers who fence or buy stolen artifacts would know the difference :-)

Friendly Frog
06-04-2013, 03:39 PM
I can imagine museums and police aren't keen on making the value of stolen archaeological items known, just to give other would-be-robbers no incentive to go museum or site-robbing. At best you might find insurance values. You could in theory maybe look up auctions of legitimate archaeological artefacts to see how much similar items are worth on the open market, I expect the black market might use similar prices if the theft hasn't been commissioned. If the robbers know what they have of course, not all have a clue just an idea that someone might pay money for it.

The FBI has an art theft unit: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/arttheft
I believe they worked on the giant iraqi museum looting cases.

There's supposed to be an international database of stolen art and archaeological artefacts, but I lost the link.