British Museum items stolen were put on eBay for prices around £40


Artifacts and items that were stolen from the British Museum have been put up for sale on the online auction site eBay for prices as low as 40 pounds, according to a Thursday report from The Telegraph. The items in question are worth up to 50 thousand pounds.

Pieces stolen include jewelry dating back between the 15th and 19th centuries.

Furthermore, a separate Telegraph report stated that the museum was warned three years ago that a staff member was stealing items and offering them for sale going back to 2016. An antiquities expert warned the museum three years ago that they suspected a member of staff stealing some of the items, and traced the seller to the museum. The expert was in shock that no action had been taken against the staff member until recently.

The expert contacted the seller seven years ago, the report said, and he threatened the seller by claiming that his name and identity were known to him, but the eBay seller claimed that he was wrong.

Staff member after he was caught

Upon discovery, the staff member, Peter Higgs, was sacked after gems and artifacts were found to be missing or damaged. Higgs was a curator of Mediterranean cultures, The Telegraph reported, and his family has said that he’s innocent. Higgs was tracked by the expert through his PayPal and Twitter.

Part of a relief on display at the British Museum. (credit: MIKE PEEL/WWW.MIKEPEEL.NET/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

The museum, one of the most visited in the world, said it was taking legal action against the individual and had also launched a review of security. London’s Metropolitan Police is also investigating, the museum said.

Museum director Hartwig Fischer has tightened security as a result of the incident, Sky News quoted him as saying. George Osborne, the museum’s chairman, stated that he instigated an independent review that will try to recover the gems and prevent a similar incident from happening again.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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