Achaemenid bas-relief fetches over $1 million at Christie’s

October 27, 2007

TEHRAN -- The queried Iranian Achaemenid bas-relief has finally been acquired by an anonymous buyer at Christies auction house in London for 580,000 pounds (about $1.2 million) on October 25.

The valuable relic, depicting the head of an Achaemenid soldier, was smuggled from Iran about 70 years ago.
The limestone bas-relief had been severed from the eastern staircase of the Apadana Palace, which was built by Xerxes I at Persepolis, located in southern Iran’s Fars Province, near modern-day Shiraz.
French former owner of the artifact Denyse Berend had purchased it from the Hagop Kevorkian Fund in 1974.
The bas-relief had previously been withdrawn from Christie’s April 2005 sale after Iran filed a lawsuit against the auction house in a London court claiming ownership of the valuable relic.
The court rejected Iran’s claim last February, arguing that the item had previously been sold twice during sales in New York without any objection on the part of Iranian officials.
The current purchaser plans to donate the artifact to a European institution promoting Iranian history, art and culture, Christie’s said in a statement