The material remains of the past have monetary value. All major auction houses and many smaller houses, host a number of dedicated antiquities sales, offered by region, material or art market classification.
In this paper I will discuss how the increase in monetary value associated with proof of artefact authenticity has been used to discourage the illicit trade in looted cultural property and prosecute offenders. 408-437 Brodie, Neil, Doole, Jenny and Watson, Peter.
This can be seen in two phenomena, which display the persuasive power of the concept of authenticity on the antiquities market. Stealing history: The illicit trade in cultural material. Looting and the world’s archaeological heritage: the inadequate response.
The first is the frequency in which antiquities traffickers and other intermediaries photograph looted artefacts in the ground or in transit. Cambridge: Mc Donald Institute of Archeology and the International Council of Museums.
Although creating a physical record of their crimes might seem counterintuitive, this photographic proof of the authenticity of a piece increases its value to collectors and thus the monetary gain for the traffickers.
The second phenomenon are attempts made by certain source countries to disrupt the market for illicit antiquities by publicly questioning the authenticity of objects for sale at auction.