Chapter

What Is Grey about the “Grey Market” in Antiquities?

Simon Mackenzie and Donna Yates

in The Architecture of Illegal Markets

Published in print August 2017 | ISBN: 9780198794974
Published online August 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191836442 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198794974.003.0004
What Is Grey about the “Grey Market” in Antiquities?

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The global market in antiquities has been described as a grey market. We provide a breakdown of the meanings and implications of this greyness. Usually the term refers to the mixing of recently looted antiquities with those that can be sold legally, thus the antiquities market is grey because illicit objects are sold via a public and purportedly legitimate network of dealers and auction houses. This is supported by a second form of greyness: the ethically grey status of individual looted objects after time and their passage through jurisdictions via multiple trades obscures or overwrites their illicit origins. It is also supported by a greying of ethical judgment, achieved through a discourse that permits the purchase of illicit objects in constructed circumstances of “saving” or “preserving” artifacts.

Keywords: antiquities; trafficking; cultural property; cultural objects; cultural heritage; illicit markets; grey markets; art crime

Chapter.  7784 words. 

Subjects: Financial Institutions and Services ; International Business

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