Could smuggled antiquities be on sale on eBay?


12 October 2007 (The Inquirer) – Could Philippine antiquities by sold off illegally on eBay? Very recently, the Greco Shipwreck Artifact Auction was a 2,500 lot auction consisting of various Asian antiquities supposedly found in the waters of Southeast Asia. The name behind the seller rings very familiar to one Philip Greco, who, if you search this site was mired in some controversy in 2005 when he got into some trouble with the Malaysian government over antiquities shipping. The article never establishes if the Greco in the eBay auction is the same Greco who got into trouble with Malaysia. SEAArch does not condone the selling of antiquities by treasure hunters.

Is Greco still selling off our heritage?
By Joeber Bersales

Today, the on-line auction firm eBay will wrap up the auction of an intriguing collection of what are labeled as Philippine jars placed during the past seven days by California-based Auctions by the Bay, an antiquities shop in the United States. (Go to the eBay website,, type “Philippines” on the left-most blank window and scroll down the menu marked “All Categories” immediately next to it. Stop at “Antiquities” and click the “Search” button. If you read this in time, you might still view some of the items that have not been bid out yet.)

These items are part of a large collection called the “Greco Shipwreck Artifact Auction” that include priceless funerary urns and white wares from the Sung and Yuan dynasties (11th to 14th century), blue and white wares from the Ming (15th to 17th century) and Qing (late 17th to early 20th century) dynasties, as well as numerous ceramics from Thai and Vietnamese kilns contemporaneous with the Ming and Qing dynasties. Not only are ceramic wares being auctioned off, bronze items, labeled “Han-like” figures of animals, are also included, probably 12th century copies of early Neolithic bronze decorative arts in China. There is even a wooden “lusong” (mortar, no pestle) erroneously labeled “Philippine Tribal Wooden Drum Stand”!

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Some Parties Are Claiming Artefacts- Rais


12 Sep 2006 (Bernama) – A follow up to the seizure of artefacts in September 2005, parties like the Museum of the Philippines are seeking the return of artefacts in the haul which the museum claims it owns.

Some Parties Are Claiming Artefacts- Rais

Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Datuk Seri Dr [tag]Rais Yatim[/tag] said several parties claimed that the more than 400 artefacts and historical items found in various containers seized at the Port Klang in September 2005 were theirs and should be returned to them.

“Their excuses are they have proof of contract between Philip Greco, an American who has permanent resident status in the country through the ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ programme with parties which provided the financing.

“We will go through these claims from the legal aspects and if their claims are genuine, we can give some estimates and allow several artefacts worth RM2.2 million to be claimed,” he told reporters when commenting on the latest development on the artefacts and historical items.

Rais described the situation as a “mystery” when Greco succeeded in bringing in the artefacts by declaring them as household items worth RM7,600 although the real value of these treasures ran into millions of ringgit.

Foreigner sues Government to recover artefacts


14 June 2006 (The Star Online) – Treasure hunters are suing the Malaysian customs department for seized artefacts. Reportedly Chinese and Filipino artefacts originated from US, were in transit in Malaysia before being sent to Dubai and sold for export. (Huh?)

Foreigner sues Government to recover artefacts

The wife of an American treasure hunter has filed a suit against the Customs Department director-general and Government for the return of over RM154mil worth of artefacts seized at Port Klang in September.

It was reported that the 361 artefacts were about to be shipped to Dubai in containers when they were intercepted and seized at Northport by the authorities for investigation.

It was also reported that some of the items seized included ceramic bowls and plates, vases, chairs and tables, wooden shields, bells, gongs, spears, keris, swords, cannons and large drums believed to be from countries such as China and the Philippines.