Ohio museum continues with public sales of ancient artifacts


TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio art museum says it will try again to sell some of its ancient artifacts to the public but other museums will get the first crack at the items.

The Toledo Museum of Art sold more than 60 ancient artifacts from Egypt, Greece, Cyprus and Italy in October 2016, but 145 other pieces were never sold.

Those items now will be offered again.

The collection includes statues, vases, pitchers and other ancient pieces. Museum officials say they have partnered with the Chicago antiquities firm Harlan J. Berk for the auction, The Blade reported (http://bit.ly/2oCq74p ).

A timeline for the sale has not been set. The museum is expected to open the auction up to the American Alliance of Museums.

The practice of selling off artifacts is known as deaccessioning. Museums use deaccession to make room for new pieces.

Critics say the artifacts should remain on display for the public and add that sales like these are irresponsible.

But the Toledo museum said that deaccessioning is a normal practice and follows guidelines. Officials said the items were all either duplicates, unsatisfactory in quality or had not appeared in museum literature.

The 2016 sale brought in $1.2 million for the Toledo museum, which said many of the pieces hadn’t been displayed in decades and money from the sale would go to buy new items and improve its collections.

Egyptian officials had tried to stop the auction and wanted the items from Egypt returned there while the Cyprian government also spoke out against the sale.

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Information from: The Blade, http://www.toledoblade.com/

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