Billionaire surrenders $70 million in artifacts, banned from buying more
December 21, 2021

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. announced there was a shocking turn of events in the world of ancient artifacts. Michael Steinhardt, 81, is a billionaire former hedge fund manager, and one of the largest private art collectors in the world. Recently he was accused of stealing hundreds of relics that are collectively valued at over $70 million.


Pictured from left to right: The Larnax, a Death Mask, and Stag’s Head Rhyton. (Image credit: New York District Attorneys Office)

Proprietary of artifacts

The D.A.’s office stated that Steinhardt’s antiquities “were looted and illegally smuggled out of 11 countries, trafficked by 12 criminal smuggling networks.”

Adding, “For decades, Michael Steinhardt displayed a rapacious appetite for plundered artifacts without concern for the legality of his actions, the legitimacy of the pieces he bought and sold, or the grievous cultural damage he wrought across the globe.”

However, Steinhardt denies any wrongdoing in acquiring the 180 items in question. Nevertheless, he struck a deal to avoid prosecution by surrendering the collection and accepting a “first-ever” lifetime ban on collecting more relics.

Consequently, this brings an end to a multinational investigation surrounding the disappearance of several of the recovered artifacts.


The Ercolano Fresco, taken from a Roman villa in Herculaneum. (Image credit: New York District Attorneys Office)

Manhattan D.A.’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit

  • The Antiquities Trafficking Unit has recovered several thousand stolen relics.
  • Recovered items are collectively valued at over $200 million.
  • More than 1,500 priceless artifacts have been returned to their rightful owners and/or countries of origin.
  • A total of 717 objects have been returned to 14 nations since August 2020 alone.
  • There are also hundreds of more items scheduled to be repatriated.
  • Over a thousand items are being held as evidence in criminal proceedings against the traffickers.

Steinhardt’s past troubles

This was not the first time Steinhardt has been in the hot seat. The billionaire philanthropists has had numerous artifacts seized under similar allegations.

Multiple women have also accused Steinhardt of harassment. Although, Steinhardt has strongly denied all these allegations.

There is always interesting news surrounding rich collectors, in fact you should read: Man tries to trade Russian spaceplane for royal skull

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