Sadigh Gallery discuss how to spot a fake and what to do about it
Sadigh Gallery do not want you to rob someone of their heritage for something to add to your collection and I am sure that it comes as no surprise that most artefacts sold online or either fake or illegal. If you want a nice roman coin to add to your collection then it is very difficult to source such an item and be sure of its authenticity, it has been proven that the majority of these types of sales are fake items or they are illegally stolen and taken from their place of origin where they should be held in museums.
While copies and plundered artefacts selling on the internet has been a problematic issue for a long time. Two new issues have combined to increase the problem. First, the abundance and popularity of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, eBay, Amazon, WhatsApp and many others has made it simple for the artefact burglars to directly ask potential buyers, often sending messages to members of antiquities groups on Facebook and other sites.
Secondly as a result of war in many cases archaeological sites have been ransacked over the last ten or so years. This has meant an almost infinite amount of plunder has been available to sells directly over social media. The combination has flooded the internet with questionable antiquities and some who just want that piece have not cared about its origin. It is believed that at any given time, there are at least 100,000 antiquities valued at $10 million or more for sale on the internet. Up to 80 percent of those items are estimated to be either looted or fake.
Lots of the fake sellers will use snapchat to sell their item as this means there is very little trail of what they have done and all the seller needs is to see it for a short while until they can claim it for their own. This also makes it very hard to prosecute.
In a policy paper for the Antiquities Coalition released in July, It states that “A boom in the online antiquities trade has been a disaster for the field. this means that minor archaeological sites or cultural institutions, which previously may not have been worth looting and thus left intact by criminals, can now be viewed in a more lucrative light and targeted accordingly,” he writes. “The resultant trade in small, movable, and easy to hide and smuggle antiquities is less likely to make headlines than that in major works of ancient art, but it is more difficult to police and arguably more destructive to the historical record.
While the online social media sites and police are attempting to close the unlawful auctions, they do need the public to also watch out for any signs of items that have been looted, this could include dirty coins or an artefact with an unexplained history of where it has actually come from. Even those who are working in this field have gone from chasing thieves and criminals to spending a lot of their day searching through online auction sites trying to locate possible missing parts of their ancestry.