Ohio museum sells pieces despite protests from Cyprus, Egypt

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — The sale of nearly two dozen antiquities from an Ohio art museum brought in $640,000 on Tuesday despite objections to the auction from the governments of Egypt and Cyprus.

The items sold were among nearly 70 pieces from Egypt, Greece and Italy that the Toledo Museum of Art plans to sell.

The museum said the items aren't often on display and not among its prized possessions, but a nationally known archaeologist criticized the decision, saying modern laws make it difficult to acquire such items.

The 23 pieces sold Tuesday at Christie's in New York included a Cypriot limestone head of a male votary from 6th century B.C. that the Cyprus Embassy had hoped would stay with the museum, The Blade ( ) reported.

The piece fetched $55,000 — about twice what it had been valued.

Cyprus' ambassador to the United States had asked on Monday that the sale be postponed.

"What we like about the pieces being at the museum is that they are accessible to so many people," Ambassador Leonidas Pantelides said. "We prefer these artifacts be in Cyprus, but if not, we would like them to be in museums when many people can see them and learn about our history."

He said his country was not insisting that the items be returned, only that the museum consider keeping the Cypriot artifacts in their collection.

Egyptian officials also sought to stop the auction and have the items from Egypt returned there.

Museum Director Brian Kennedy said the museum respects others' viewpoints but sometimes sells items to maintain a high-quality collection. He said the money from the sale would go toward acquisitions.


Information from: The Blade,