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ArchNet Policy on Requests for Appraisal and/or Sale of Artifacts/Antiquities
We receive several questions per month from ArchNet readers regarding the appraisal and/or sale of artifacts. These requests originate internationally as well as in the US. Most relate a story of having either inherited or having found an artifact. Some say they found an artifact while traveling in another country and brought it home with them. Others explicitly state that the artifact is from a foreign country and the person would like to sell it and would like to know how much to charge.
Our answer to these questions serves two purposes: 1) to state ArchNet policy, and 2) to provide educational material to those making these inquiries. We encourage readers to inform themselves about antiquity laws, as these statutes are enforced in many countries for the express purpose of protecting and preserving cultural properties for the present and future enjoyment and education of all.
- ArchNet recognizes US and International antiquities laws and ethics and we actively discourage the collection and sale of antiquities for private gain.
- ArchNet staff do not and will not conduct appraisals or authenticate artifacts.
- Archaeological collections should only be undertaken as part of legally permitted scientific investigations as approved by appropriate governmental agencies in the countries of origin.
- If a person has acquired an artifact through inheritance or other means and wishes to donate this object to a legitimate museum or institution so that it can be of educational and scientific use, they should contact museums in their area and inquire about making a donation of the artifact. Legitimate archaeological museums do not purchase artifacts.
The museums/institutions are under no obligation to accept donations, but may consider this option if the object fits their mission, or they may suggest another institution that has similar collections.
- For US inquiries, further information about archaeology and artifacts can be obtained by contacting your state Historic Preservation Office or Historical Society or Archaeological Society.