Officials in New York have returned a collection of stolen antiques to Italy, with each item expected to go on display at the Museum of Rescued Art in Rome.
On Wednesday, July 20th, Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, Jr. turned over 142 artefacts, worth an estimated $14 million, to the Italian police’s Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, with 48 of the pieces being taken last year from the retired hedge-fund billionaire Michael Steinhardt.
Giving up $70 million of stolen items as part of a multinational investigation, Steinhardt also agreed to an “‘unprecedented’ lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities,” as reported by CNN. In addition to these pieces, 60 further relics were recovered from Royal-Athena Galleries, owned by the late artifacts dealer Jerome M. Eisenberg, and 34 items were “seized pursuant to other ongoing investigations,” as stated in an announcement from the District Attorney’s office.
Releasing a statement about the reprimanding of the pieces of art, Alvin Bragg Jr commented: “Though the pieces being repatriated today have a written price tag of millions of dollars, the historical, artistic, and cultural values attached to each of the relics are immeasurable and priceless…These artefacts deserve a place in their homeland, where the people of Italy can jointly appreciate the marvels of their country’s past”.
Di Michele of the Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Italy further stated, “The repatriation of these 142 masterpieces, previously stolen or looted in Italy, is very important for our country”.
Among the pieces, the most significant one to be returned is named the Ercolano Fresco, a work of art which depicts the mythological figure of Hercules fighting a snake, it is thought to be worth $1 million.