Archaeological Artifacts - a guide to buying & selling

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It has come to my attention the level of interest regarding the buying and selling of archaeological finds on Ebay. A good place to start is Ebay's  Artefacts, Antiques, Cultural Items and Grave-Related Items policy to provide an idea of what is allowed to be sold on ebay regarding archaeological finds. The version expands on this alot more and would aid many international sellers such as The Indian Arts and Crafts Act, The Federal Cave Protection Act and the  Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, sellers must follow the laws laid out by these acts, policies and laws.

 I believe that more information should be provided alongside these artefacts and suggest that the following information is provided by each seller:

  • Location where item was found, including map reference and its position marked upon a map, a point put on a map taken from google earth would be sufficient, 
  • If the item was not found upon the sellers property do they have permission to sell it (this is important when selling coins),
  • An approximate time period - Roman, Medieval, Vitorian etc.

Buyers should be careful when buying items like these as without the above information being provided alongside the item, it's worth is a great deal less and effects the archaeological record as information is lost an a more accurate picture of our past is harder to make. So I advise buyers of these items to ask the seller for this information. There are so many things wrong with the ancient coins and artifacts being sold on ebay. You just have to be careful, you have to accept that there are fakes openly being sold here, there are artifacts from endangered sites being sold here. Similarly there are many fakes pretending to come from endangered sites. Some are easy to find, for example anything from Turkey is either illegal or a fake. Turkish law does not allow the export of any coin or artifact, so to be legally exported it must be a fake.As for Artifacts you really need to know who you are buying from, and  I do not mean from the ebay ratings, which is very skewed to the sellers advantage. Some of the guys selling on ebay I would, and do trust. But others, you should never buy from, if the seller is not fully open and honest, If he hides the ID or the items descriptions I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole.If they say they haven't researched it, why not? Why haven't they bothered to look it up?You must also take into consideration that many of the major museums simply do not want to get involved when they hear of illegal trading in coins and antiquities. For a couple of years there has been a notorious seller importing coins and artifacts from Turkey  - were the museums interested ? Not a chance! Their stance is hypocritical., bastions of research and ancient artifacts? No! much more like a crowd of ostrichs hiding their heads in the sand. Unresearched on here 'often' means fake so buyers becareful.

I believe that more information should be provided by the seller when selling these items. So buyers becareful when buying archaeological finds on ebay ask lots of questions about their origins, there may be those genuine artifacts that will turn up that have been in the family for a very long time but still ask as many questions as possible. happy buying and selling.

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