eBay teams up with the British Museum to prevent illegal sale of antiquities

It seems that eBay is growing more circumspect about what is traded on its website after recent litigation against the company by large fashion firms.

EBay.co.uk has teamed up with The British Museum and its Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) to ensure that antiquities being sold on eBay.co.uk are legal and have been reported to relevant authorities. A team from PAS will monitor and ensure that sellers have the right to trade them.

In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, archaeological finds constituting “treasure” have to be reported under the Treasure Act.

The authorities have recognised that many sellers may be totally unaware that they’re not allowed to sell antiquities they’ve found without reporting them first, so eBay has now posted a guide on its website http://pages.ebay.co.uk/buy/guides/antiquities

"We welcome eBay's assistance in helping stop the illegal sale of antiquities on the internet with this partnership”, said Dr Roger Bland, head of Portable Antiquities and Treasure at the British Museum.

“Our experience is that most people who buy and sell UK archaeological finds do so without being aware that they may be breaking the law if items have not been reported. We have therefore worked with eBay to ensure that its users are aware of its obligations through our guide. We will also be contacting sellers to ensure that they have reported items and have appropriate documentation."