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11 Cardozo J. Int'l & Comp. L. 409 (2003-2004)
Acquisition and Deacquisition of Museum Collections and the Fiduciary Obligations of Museums to the Public

handle is hein.journals/cjic11 and id is 419 raw text is: ACQUISITION AND DEACQUISITION OF
MUSEUM COLLECTIONS AND THE
FIDUCIARY OBLIGATIONS OF
MUSEUMS TO THE PUBLIC
Patty Gerstenblith*
In 1993, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) in New
York agreed to return to the Republic of Turkey the fabled Lydian
Hoard of late 6th century B.C. antiquities, a collection of over 360
objects, including fragments of wall paintings, marble sphinxes,
gold, silver and bronze vessels, and gold, silver and glass jewelry.'
The origin of the Hoard was in a series of tombs from the West-
Central part of Turkey, in the area of Gtire and U~ak, that were
looted in the mid-1960s. The objects were smuggled out of Turkey,
passed through the hands of New York antiquities dealers, and
purchased by the Met between 1966 and 1970. Because of the
Met's fears of discovery, the acquisition of this collection was not
announced and most of the objects remained in storage in the base-
ment, unavailable to scholars and the public. In 1984, several of
the vessels were put on display but were mislabeled as East
Greek in origin, to confuse any who would attempt to search out
the collection's true origin.2
Nonetheless, this display was sufficient to notify Turkish offi-
cials and archaeologists who knew of the tomb robberies and had
been searching for the objects that had been looted. After negotia-
* Professor, DePaul University College of Law. I want to thank Katherine Ivancevich
for her assistance in the research and preparation of this article. I also want to thank
Cardozo School of Law for inviting me to participate in the symposium at which this paper
was first presented.
1 Lawrence M. Kaye & Carla T. Main, The Saga of the Lydian Hoard Antiquities:
From Ulak to New York and Back and Some Related Observations on the Law of Cultural
Repatriation, in ANTiQUITIES TRADE OR BETRAYED: LEGAL, ETHICAL AND CONSERVA-
TION ISSUES 150 (Kathryn W. Tubb ed., 1995); ILKNUR OZGEN & JEAN OZTCRK, HERI-
TAGE RECOVERED: THE LYDIAN TREASURE (1996).
2 THOMAS HOVING, MAKING THE MUMMIES DANCE 217 (1994). Hoving also states
that the museum knew at the time it purchased the Hoard that the collection had been
illegally excavated and that a curator of the museum had documented the original loca-
tions of the objects in the field. Id. Nonetheless, the museum would wait for the Turkish
government to come up with the same proof independently before the museum would
return the objects. As it turned out, it took several years of litigation and negotiation for
the museum to agree to the restitution.

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