London antiquities dealer James Ede is handing back a rare bronze statuette – stolen from Samos Museum during the Second World War – to Greece.
It is an expensive gesture for Mr Ede, head of Charles Ede
Ltd, chairman of the International Association of Dealers in
Ancient Art and vice-chairman of the Antiquities Dealers
Association. Had he sold the statuette, he could have expected to
make £30,000, and despite being entitled to - and offered - a
reward for its return, he has turned down any payment from the
The story came to light after Mr Ede bought the early sixth
century BC solid cast-bronze statuette of a Greek youth, of a type
known as Kouros, from the widow of a Greek collector who had lived
in Switzerland for many years.
The collector acquired it on the European art market in the 1950s
or 60s and Mr Ede has no doubt that he had done so in good
Returning to London, Mr Ede showed the statuette and other pieces
from the collection to Dr John Prag of the Manchester Museum. The
following day Dr Prag alerted him to the fact that the piece was
published in 1942 by Gisela Richter in her definitive work Kouroi.
Further research revealed Richter used pictures first published in
1934 and the statuette's museum inventory number was Samos B.89. At
that time the Samos Museum catalogue was maintained by the German
Institute of Archaeology, who had first photographed the piece in
It seemed clear that the statuette had been removed from the
museum during the war and when Mr Ede contacted Dr Victoria
Solom-onides, the cultural counsellor at the Greek Embassy, she
confirmed the fact.
Back to top