Christie’s tries to sell stolen Nimrud earrings

Allegedly, at least. The former director of the Iraq Museum, Donny George, is absolutely convinced the 3,000 year old Neo-Assyrian gold earrings came from the excavation of Nimrud which he personally witnessed.

The treasures of Nimrud, considered one of the most spectacular finds of the 20th century and compared with the treasures of King Tut’s tomb, include eight pairs of seemingly identical earrings. Of the thousands of archaeological sites in Iraq, the ancient capital of the Assyrian Empire was one of the richest.

The highlight was the intricate gold jewelry, using techniques not seen again for thousands of years. […]

After the fall of Baghdad in 2003 and the subsequent looting of the Iraq Museum, US investigators and Iraqi officials tracked down the treasures of Nimrud to a vault within a vault in the basement of Iraq’s burned and flooded central bank.

Christie’s claims in the catalogue that they are “similar” to a pair found at Nimrud, but that the previous owner acquired them in 1969, a convenient date indeed given that the UNESCO convention on illegal antiquities — the standard cutoff for questionably-sourced artifacts — was enacted in 1970.

Donny George knows of no “similar” finds outside of the Nimrud pieces. That’s what made them so special: the quality was astonishing and entirely unique.

As of yesterday, the earrings were still listed on Christie’s site. Iraqi officials have petitioned to halt the sale, but the auction is next week so they don’t have much time.

Edit: Looks the CSM story got results. Christie’s withdrew the lot this morning. :boogie: