Mexico asks German auction house to stop sale of 74 historic objects

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One of the lots put up for auction. Its estimated price is 3,000 euros, or US $ 3,540.

Government says they are owned by Mexico

The Federal Ministry of Culture and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have filed a complaint against a German auction house that intends to sell 74 Mexican objects at an auction next week.

The two entities filed a complaint with the Federal Prosecutor’s Office against the company Gerhard Hirsch Nachfolger, an international dealer and auction house based in Munich.

The Culture Ministry said on Monday that it has also asked the Foreign Ministry’s legal division to provide diplomatic assistance with the intention of stopping the event.

In addition, Culture Minister Alejandra Frausto Guerrero wrote to the auction house to inform it that INAH has determined that 74 of the archaeological relics it intends to sell “are the property of the Mexican nation, in accordance with the Federal Law on Monuments and Archaeological Monuments, Artistic and Historic Areas, ”the ministry said in a statement.

The auction catalog includes many pre-Hispanic clay figurines as well as masks and other artifacts from the Olmec, Mayan, Mexican, and Mixtec cultures, among others.

Frausto told the auctioneer that the sale of such items constitutes a crime under Mexican law and encourages trafficking in archaeological artifacts by transnational organized crime groups.

The Minister of Culture asked the auction house to take the necessary steps to stop the sale “for [the purpose of] their possible recovery, ”said the Ministry of Culture.

The federal government has previously tried to stop the sale of Mexican artifacts at auction in Paris and New York, but failed. He claimed that the items placed on the block were looted from archaeological sites and / or illegally removed from the country.

Mexico Daily News

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