A quick note about the article by Souren Melikian that is in today's New York Times. It is dumb. And wrong.
Antiquities, With a Proven Record, Drive Auction Market
Paris — The market for antiquities from the ancient world is undergoing an upheaval that sends some works of art skyrocketing to unimaginable heights while scores of others are effectively becoming unsalable.
The reason for this discrepancy lies in the Unesco convention adopted in 1970 to safeguard the buried heritage of mankind and shield standing monuments from looting. While many countries, including the United States, did not sign up, the convention is effectively being implemented by international institutions and, increasingly, by prudent collectors and dealers, fearful that the legitimate ownership of their acquisitions may be challenged in the future.
As a result, important works of art that can be proved to have reached the market before 1970 shoot to vertiginous levels, while those that cannot fail to sell with increasing frequency.
Okay, yes, well obviously the United Stated DID sign the Unesco convention but besides that, the listing of a couple of random lots does not prove that buyers prefer pre-1970 pieces. You need stats for that. Real numbers. Trends. Etc. Not just a few random lots.
You know what? I just finished a paper this week containing JUST those sorts of numbers. And...well, 1970 is not a factor for what I was looking at. Data from this year. Seriously. This is bad.