While many have apparently not read and absorbed the information in the thread before having knee-jerk reactions, let me just make a few points. One
poster touched on the subject, Ivory. There is legally obtained, pre-ban ivory. It is legal to sell now, IF you can prove it was obtained pre-ban. He
may have many artifacts of this ilk, that were legally obtained, but hard, or near impossible to prove their origination of sale and ownership, that
would be illegal to sell without the aforementioned proof.
I, myself, have one piece of pre-ban ivory. I cannot sell it, as I can no longer prove how I obtained it. If pressed legally, I am sure I could spend
much money, time, and effort to obtain those records, but it sure would not be worth it for me to attempt to re-sale the piece. In the event of my
death, and were I to have no will, it would likely be seized.
Another point I would like to make. There are countries that we have laws against doing trades or sales of certain items, one was just removed in
fact, with Burma. I know this because I am especially fond of Burmese rubies. Rubies, however, were not the only items from Burma it was illegal to
sell or transport into the U.S. Again, if one were found to be in possession of these precious gems, and not able to prove they were legally obtained,
they would likely be seized. However, since Obama has lifted that trade embargo now, it should no longer be an issue.
My last point will go to pointing out missing artifacts. In particular, from two countries, which many of you should be familiar with.
Firstly, the missing artifacts from museums and other places in Iraq, that were held by Sadam, and many that went missing during the U.S. war there.
Many of these artifacts likely went to the black market, made it to overseas areas, where they could be obtained "legally", in a sale at a market or
from private sellers.
Secondly, the same thing happened with many artifacts from Egypt, with the civil war there. Again, many artifacts simply disappeared into the black
market, and to private collections resellers, etc. Obviously, the sellers.of these items knows they are illegal, but the buyer may be less able to
make this call, or, if they are knowledgeable enough, may know they have a precious artifact, but not know it was stolen.
I am certain these are not the only two times in history that events like this have happened, and in his travels, this is likely how he happened upon
some, or many of his artifacts.
The reason I point this out is also because there is also a long list of stolen, or plain "missing" artwork by the Masters, that has shown up at flea
markets and the like. People milling in basements and atics just come across a long lost Picaso, or similar, to find out it is worth millions. It
I think the owner simply, as has been pointed out, took responsibility for the collection, in realizing his advancing age, and wants to assure these
items are given their due respect.
The reason no charges have been filed? It may be difficult or near impossible to prove he obtained any item illegally, pre or post ban, or any other
such embargo limited items, especially if he was allowed to pass through customs.
Just a few thoughts I wanted to bring up. Some food for thought from the "other side" of the aisle, so to speak.
Rare items do belong to the people, for us to admire, inspect, and to appreciate, hence, why there are laws against private ownership.
Imagine had King Tut never been revealed, but instead, kept in a private collection, shuffled from one mysterious owner to another. Some things just
should be given back to the people.
Whether you like it, or not, he did the right thing, especially if he has greedy, irresponsible adult children, with which he didn't trust these
precious items to.
Please try to think in many directions. The government is not always out to get you, sometimes they do worthwhile things. I don't know about some of
you, but, I know I appreciate being allowed to view King Tut, or the Statue of David, or many of the hundreds of thousands of other wonderful items
that have been gifted to us by many governments of the world.
edit on 3-4-2014 by Libertygal because: (no reason given)