Skip To Content
We’ve Taken Down the Forward Paywall: An Open Letter to Our ReadersRead Now
Fast Forward

‘Stolen’ Ancient Art Seized From Home Of Philanthropist Michael Steinhardt

(JTA) — Several pieces of ancient art were seized from the office and home of billionaire philanthropist Michael Steinhardt.

The art, worth a total of more than $1 million, are believed to have been looted from Greece and Italy, the New York Times reported Friday. Steinhardt, co-founder of the Birthright program and a major donor to Jewish and Israel causes, is an avid and long-time collector of art from ancient Greece.

The raids are part of a push by New York district attorney Cyrus Vance to return stolen antiquities found in New York City to their countries of origin.

In recent months Vance has overseen the return of three ancient statues to Lebanon, a mosaic from one of Caligula’s ships to Italy, and a second-century Buddhist sculpture to Pakistan, according to the Times.

Among the pieces reported seized from Steinhardt’s home and office are: a Greek oil vessel from the fifth century B.C., depicting a funeral scene with the figures of a woman and a youth, worth at least $380,000;  Proto-Corinthian figures from the seventh century B.C., depicting an owl and a duck, together worth about $250,000; an Apulian terra-cotta flask in the shape of an African head from the fourth century B.C.; an Ionian sculpture of a ram’s head from the sixth century; and a vessel for oil or perfume, from the early fifth century. The ancient pieces were all bought in the last 12 years for a total cost of $1.1 million, according to the warrants, the New York Times reported.

Steinhardt could face charges of possession of stolen property, according to the newspaper.

In October, a piece discovered in Steinhardt’s apartment –  a sixth-century B.C. marble torso of a man carrying a calf, worth about $4.5 million, was returned to Lebanon where it had been stolen from the Temple of Eshmun in Sidon.

The pieces had been purchased from collectors in Colorado who had purchased them from an antiquities dealer in London.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.