London. Sotheby’s put on sale in their 3/7/2018 antiquities auction a Roman Marble Figure of an Athlete, circa 1st/2nd Century A.D. (lot 23). It is estimated at £30.000-50,000. According to Sotheby’s, the ‘provenance’ is:
- John Hewett (1919-1994), London, perhaps acquired from Robin Symes;
- James Freeman, Kyoto, probably acquired from the above in the early 1970s;
- acquired from the above by Willard and Elizabeth Clark on December 21st, 1980
As Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis notes, the figure did, indeed, pass through the hands of Robin Symes and Christos Michaelides but it also appears in the confiscated Symes-Michaelides images (picture on the right), uncleaned and unrestored, since soil encrustations are obvious on its surface, while the lower half of the figure’s surving right thigh appears broken; at the Sotheby’s images, however, many of the encrustations have been removed and the surviving right thigh restored.
Interpol was informed, as will be the authorities of the countries that used to be part of the Roman Empire, in order to check for further evidence in their archives, that could possibly justify a successful claim and repatriation.
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