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Ancient Mesopotamian Relics Acquired by Hobby Lobby Found to be Looted from Iraq

submitted on July 7, 2017 by HouTex in "Stores / Merchants"
In 2009, the Green family that owns Hobby Lobby began acquiring historically significant manuscripts and other rare items, according to this article on Consumerist, . Their understanding was that the items had been “legally acquired” in the 1960s by a father of one of the dealers, moved to U.S. in the 1970s, and then taken back to the UAE to show to the Hobby Lobby president. However, during a 7-year investigation the US Department of Justice found that the Mississippi-based, purported “custodian” of these items had never stored them.
Hobby Lobby — home to glitter glue, crepe paper, and distress paint — was also apparently in the business of acquiring ancient Mesopotamian relics. However, the crafty retailer says it didn’t quite understand all the ins and outs of the whole “importing artifacts from Iraq” process and has agreed to forfeit thousands of items, including clay cuneiform tablets, that the federal government says were smuggled into the country.

• The packages were shipped to Hobby Lobby with inaccurate shipping labels that misstated the contents, value, and country of manufacture. One package had a listed value of $300 but was actually worth $84,000.
• Hobby Lobby has agreed to forfeit thousands of items that had not already been seized by the government, and to pay $3 million.
NPR's interview at explains that the Green family had been collecting thousands of biblical artifacts for a new Museum of the Bible set to open in November - .
But it's unclear why the items were mislabeled as “ceramic tiles” or “tiles (SAMPLE),” undervalued, and not formally declared to customs.


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