This interactive timeline presents the cases that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has handled over the past 5 years. Scroll down for more information about the data presented and to learn more about their continued efforts.
As the world’s largest market for art, the United States is an attractive destination for the illicit antiquities trade. One densely populated east coast city in particular has made headlines for recent high-profile raids and seizures of such artifacts: New York City. With its bustling cultural scene of world renowned museums and art fairs, countless illicit antiquities pass through New York City each year.
Even before the establishment of a dedicated counter Antiquities Trafficking Unit, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office was at the forefront of the fight against cultural racketeering. Led by District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., the team has successfully seized and repatriated millions of dollars worth of artifacts to their countries of origin. This interactive timeline sheds light on the ongoing operations of the Manhattan DA’s office, and their continued successes in ending demand for illicit antiquities. It begins with the 2012 seizure of five ancient Greek coins, and ends with the capture of trafficked antiquities from hedge fund billionaire Michael Steinhardt’s personal collection just earlier this year.
This timeline is a collection of information gathered from media reports, press releases and court documents. It shows the seizures of dozens of antiquities, with descriptions of their value and history. The timeline notes from whom or where the antiquities were seized, and where they have been repatriated, providing key sources for further reading. This timeline will be expanded as the new Antiquities Trafficking Unit continues in the path of Manhattan DA’s success.