Stolen British Museum treasures auctioned on eBay

Stolen British Museum treasures auctioned on eBay

Expert claims British Museum warned about theft several years ago

By Burak Bir

LONDON (AA) - Treasures that went missing from the British Museum are being auctioned online for as low as $50, according to The Telegraph newspaper.

The British Museum said Wednesday that it sacked a staff member and alerted police after discovering that the treasures, including gold jewelry, gems of semiprecious stones and glass from the 15th century BC to 19th century AD, were missing, stolen or damaged.

The staff member, Peter Higgs, was a curator of Greek collections and sculptures at the museum. His family denied the allegations and said he has “not done anything.”

His son, Greg, said: “He’s not happy about it. He’s lost his job and reputation, and I don’t think it was fair. It couldn’t have been [him]. I don’t think anything is missing as far as I’m aware.”

He added that his father was sacked last month and has been under investigation for “a while.”

The report on Thursday also revealed that items worth up to £50,000 ($64,000) were sold on the eBay online auction platform, for as low as £40 (some $50).

A specialist in engraved gems, Martin Henig, claimed that the British Museum was warned about thefts several years ago, according to a report by Sky News.

“My colleague tried to report this to the museum, but it seemed it didn’t get through to the right people. There was clearly a serious breach of small objects appearing, and he rather suspected others were because he kept an eye on things like eBay,” said Henig from the University of Oxford.

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