IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Stealing History: How does Provenance Affect the Price of Antiquities?


  • Katherine Kiel

    () (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

  • Katherine Tedesco

    (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)


In 1982, the United States passed legislation that partially implemented the UNESCO Treaty, the Cultural Property Implementation Act. Despite the fact that the United States signed onto this treaty, it was common knowledge in the antiquities world that the enforcement of these laws has been lax, and the illegal sale of artifacts has continued. In December 2005, the Italian government took the Curator of Antiquities at the Getty Museum Marion True and Robert Hecht (a well-known antiquities dealer) to trial for conspiracy to buy and sell looted artifacts. This paper tests whether a good provenance increases the price of an antiquity and also whether the impact of appropriate provenance has changed since the trial began. To test these hypotheses, a hedonic regression on sales prices of provenanced and unprovenanced artifacts is estimated. We find that provenanced items are indeed selling for higher prices after 2005, ceteris paribus, which is evidence that the art market has responded to the law suits.

Suggested Citation

  • Katherine Kiel & Katherine Tedesco, 2011. "Stealing History: How does Provenance Affect the Price of Antiquities?," Working Papers 1105, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:1105

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Victor Ginsburgh & David Throsby, 2006. "Handbook of the economics of art and culture," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/1673, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Orley Ashenfelter & Kathryn Graddy, 2003. "Auctions and the Price of Art," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(3), pages 763-787, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Hedonics; market for antiquities; provenance; difference-in-difference;

    JEL classification:

    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature
    • C29 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Other

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:1105. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Victor Matheson). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.