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By Sumit Sarkar

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15 Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino, Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World’s Richest Museum (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2011) 209 211; Watson and Todeschini (n 14) 206-7. 18 The krater bought by the Metropolitan, though fragmented, was complete, and was considered by Hoving to be too large, even in fragments, to have fit into a hatbox. 19 Hecht had simply taken the provenance and documentation from the Sarrafian/Bunker Hunt krater and attached it to the illegally-excavated and better-preserved Sarpedon krater bought by the Metropolitan.

If these collections are infiltrated by unidentified fakes, their reliability is compromised, and any knowledge obtained through studying or handling them is similarly rendered unreliable. A vicious circle sets in as the knowledge required to distinguish genuine artifacts from fake becomes less dependable, and it becomes easier for fakes to enter the market and collections. Conclusion This chapter has presented by means of four case studies an overview of the problems and issues surrounding the antiquities trade, which confound historical scholarship and offer opportunities for criminal involvement and profit.

It is likely too that from then on customs forms accompanying the krater would have listed Switzerland as its country of origin, and not, as would have been correct, Italy. Once safely out of Italy, and with new documents of provenance disguising its illicit trade, the krater became a legitimate acquisition for the Metropolitan Museum, in its destination country of the USA. 25 Where the Euphronios (Sarpedon) krater might have been exceptional was in the production of a false provenance that was able to withstand reasonably serious scrutiny by the Metropolitan Museum once the New York Times had embarrassed the museum with its allegations of looting and smuggling.

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