BUFALE ARCHEOLOGICHE dal Giornale dell’Arte February 2016 “Problematic crates”

2In July 2015, the Public Prosecutor’s office of the Republic of Geneva (Switzerland) ordered in Italy’s favour for the release of 45 crates containing “archaeological finds of inestimable value”, which had been locked in a vault of the free port of Geneva for over 15 years.
The prosecutor of Rome and the Carabinieri for Cultural Heritage Protection, upon request for assistance from the prosecutor of Geneva, Dr Claudio Mascotto, had obtained permission to receive this windfall back, but at the very moment of re-entry (last week) a massive snowfall blocked the means of transport carrying it, forcing it to turn back…Maybe the curse by the antiquarian who had hidden them…?
In 2000, the British art dealer, Robin Symes, had deposited 45 cases in storage in the name of a Panama-based company. Following dishonest vicissitudes, in 2005 the famous antique dealer ended up in jail for tax issues. Are we actually certain that this restitution is made up of priceless works..?
Why would such a clever and knowledgeable antiquarian, such as Symes, have left these masterpieces unsold for so many years..?
Amongst the reliefs, heads, busts, vases and frescoes (rather ugly) we know of two “sarcophagi in terracotta” (see photo) described as “masterpieces of Etruscan art”. But studying them well they seem to me to be rather curious and I would not swear to their authenticity. I wonder whether with this restitution (as has occurred with other restitutions) if we are actually receiving ‘dodgy goods’.


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