Once-contested sale of tribal artifacts to go ahead in Paris

April 4, 2017

PARIS (AP) — A once-contested sale is going ahead in Paris of precious artifacts that were acquired by a private collector from the indigenous Melanesian inhabitants of New Caledonia.

Nine wooden objects, including age-worn sculptures and large decorative arrows dating from the 16th century, are to go under the hammer on Tuesday.

A group linked to the Kanak people stopped a 2015 sale of the objects, suspecting they were stolen.

Collector Jean-Louis Roiseux said he later established the provenance of the rare artifacts.

Parisian auction house Aguttes estimates the items will sell for up to 775,000 euros ($825,000).

Auctioneer Claude Aguttes says the sculptures adorned huts and grew in size and intricacy according to a resident’s social importance.

He says very few Kanak artifacts remain.

New Caledonia is a French territory in the South Pacific.