Economics/Class Relations

‘The Wall Street Billionaire and the Crime of the Centuries,’

— Justin Miller, deputy editor, Intelligencer

Every couple of months there’s a new headline about the world’s top museums returning antiquities to their homelands. The Met, the Getty, and others have sent dozens of objects back to Italy, Greece, and the Middle East in recent years, but no one has likely lost more than the billionaire Michael Steinhardt. Inside his Fifth Avenue penthouse, there were so many ancient artifacts — frescoes, vases, amulets, stone masks — that they spilled into the bathroom and out onto the terrace. He cared little about their provenance, collecting pieces with the same hunger he used to revolutionize Wall Street as the founder of one of the first hedge funds. Vast networks of Mafia-connected tomb raiders and crooked art dealers were more than happy to supply him, Greg Donahue reports, until a knock on the door changed the antiquities trade forever.
Crime of the Centuries Tomb raiders, crooked art dealers, and museum curators fed Michael Steinhardt’s addiction to antiquities. Many were also stolen.
Photo: Manhattan DA; Evan Agostini/Getty Images
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