Andrew Curry: The first of what archaeologist Barbara Deppert-Lippitz calls the “most sensational finds of the last century” surfaced not in a museum but at Christie’s in New York. Among more than a hundred pieces of ancient jewelry for sale on December 8, 1999, was Lot 26, a spiraling, snake-shaped gold bracelet that the auction house identified as a “massive Greek or Thracian gold armband.”
Christie’s estimated it would sell for as much as $100,000. When the bidding stalled at $65,000, the sale was called off—and the bracelet and its owner disappeared back into the shadowy underworld of ancient artifacts.
It took years for archaeologists and law enforcement officials in Romania to connect the armband to reports of looting in the country’s central mountains. Though it has never been recovered, Lot 26 set off an international search to recover the lost heirlooms of Dacia, an empire that was once a mighty rival to ancient Rome…Continue (National Geographic)