$19M. in Looted Antiquities Returned by Manhattan DA’s Office to Italy – ARTnews.com

The Manhattan district attorney’s office returned nineteen looted antiquities worth almost $19 million to Italian authorities in a repatriation ceremony at the Italian consulate in New York on October 10.

Some of the returned artifacts include a 6th-century CE Corinthian bronze helmet, a 1st-century CE gilded bronze plaque depicting a Dionysan religious ceremony, and an Apulian plate showing the god Eros from around 350 BCE.

The seized objects are at the center of multiple ongoing investigations of looted antiquities dealers, according to a statement from the District Attorney’s office. Among them are art dealer Robin Symes who is currently under investigation in the UK for the trafficking of goods, as well as late dealer Jerome Eisenberg and by extension the Royal-Athena Galleries he directed.

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A number of looted antiquities have been seized from Symes, including most recently 266 objects also returned to Italy. Since 2017, the Manhattan district attorney has recovered 125 looted items from the Royal-Athena Galleries.

This is the latest in a number of notable returns of antiquities since Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg took his post two years ago. Since then, the office has returned more than 275 items to Italy and more than 1,000 objects to 27 countries. This effort has been accomplished with the help of US Homeland Security investigations.

“Italy has been an epicenter of organized antiquities looting for decades, but we continue to undo the damage thanks to our incredible team of investigators, analysts, and prosecutors,” Bragg said in a statement.

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