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Greek Culture Ministry in contact with NY prosecutors to claim back stolen antiquities

Greece’s Ministry of Culture is in contact with the prosecutor’s office in Manhattan, after New York authorities seized several antiquities from the private collection of billionaire Michael Steinhardt on Friday.

General Secretary of the Greek Culture and Sports Ministry, Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki said on Sunday “the Ministry is in contact with the prosecutor’s office of Manhattan and we wait for the official briefing so that we can see which objects we will ask to be returned.”

She added that”procedures to return the lekythos already began last month.”

Among the several antiquities US authorities seized from Steinhardt’s home is a Greek white-ground attic lekythos — or oil vessel — from the fifth century B.C., depicting a funeral scene with the figures of a woman and a youth, according to the search warrant. It is worth at least $380,000.

Also seized were Proto-Corinthian figures from the seventh century B.C., depicting an owl and a duck, together worth about $250,000. The other pieces included an Apulian terra-cotta flask in the shape of an African head from the fourth century B.C.; an Ionian sculpture of a ram’s head from the sixth century; and an attic aryballos, a vessel for oil or perfume, from the early fifth century.

Prosecutors believe the antiquities were ‘looted from Greece and Italy.”

The objects were all bought in the last 12 years for a total cost of $1.1 million, according to the warrants, NYTimes that published the story wrote. 

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