During a check carried out by the Directorate of Documentation and Protection of Cultural Property of the Ministry of Culture and Sport on the first day (September 10, 2014) that the electronic catalog of the Antiquities auction (Auction 21928 , Antiquities) was placed on the Bonhams site, and found that the items to be auctioned included a marble head of Hermes.
Since the head is displayed in seized photographs, which show a possible origin and illegal export from Greece, the Directorate of Documentation and Protection of Cultural Property immediately proceeded in contacting the auction house asking for more details on the origin of object.
After further investigation and documentation, the Directorate called for the immediate withdrawal of the object subject to any statutory right of the Greek government.
Finally, the auction house had to remove the head from the auction for the first time and referred the Greek government to get in direct contact with the alleged owner.
The Directorate of Documentation and Protection of Cultural Property monitors, as much as possible, auctions of cultural goods and, where there is a documented illegal export from Greece of an item up for auction, it takes all necessary actions.
However, the termination of an auction cannot take place unless there are compelling legal arguments that demonstrate illegal acts. Therefore, the Directorate of Documentation and Protection of Cultural Property and the Ministry of Culture is always faced with due consideration of such issues to avoid claims for damages against the Greek government.