Recently, an ancient Greek amphora from the 5th century B.C was due to be auctioned at Christie’s London on Wednesday, July 6, 2016 for an estimated sale bid of £15,000 to £25,000.
The black-figured amphora is attributed to the Bucci painter.
The amphora was withdrawn from auction thanks to Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis, who recognized the piece from a Greek police raid on January 31, 2007 at Karavomylos in Greece.
Dr. Tsirogiannis is a forensic archaeologist who researches antiquities smuggling networks and the market for looted cultural objects, and is Senior Archaeologist at the Cambridge Archaeological Unit as well as an affiliate researcher at the University of Glasgow’s Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research.
He recognized the amphora from two photos from the police raid that took place back in 2007 that apparently show this particular piece. Following the recognition the Prosecution of Illicit Trade in Antiquities and Hellenic Police acted immediately, successfully requesting that the amphora be taken off the auction list.
The Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports is claiming the amphora.
Prior to the auction, the history for the amphora was stated as being from the “Los Angeles art market, prior to 1996” and from a “private collection, UK.”
Now it is up to Christie’s to delve deeper into the truth of how this ancient Greek relic came so close to being lost at auction and how a fictionalized history almost went undetected.
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