LIFESTYLE

New York auction house sells ancient artifacts despite Mexico's objections

MUNICH, GERMANY - UNDATED:  In this undated handout image provided by the Bavarian State Office Of Criminal Investigation (LKA)  a bowl of fireclay is seen in Munich, Germany. Investigators of the LKA secured a collection of art works from the mayan, aztecin and incan periods on 23 April 2008 in Munich. The antiques probably arrived in Munich via Spain. Countries as Peru, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador already claim the nearly 100 million Dollar worthy pieces. (Handout by LKA via Getty Images)

MUNICH, GERMANY - UNDATED: In this undated handout image provided by the Bavarian State Office Of Criminal Investigation (LKA) a bowl of fireclay is seen in Munich, Germany. Investigators of the LKA secured a collection of art works from the mayan, aztecin and incan periods on 23 April 2008 in Munich. The antiques probably arrived in Munich via Spain. Countries as Peru, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador already claim the nearly 100 million Dollar worthy pieces. (Handout by LKA via Getty Images)  (2008 LKA)

Bonhams has carried out an auction of pre-Hispanic artifacts over the objections of the Mexican government.

Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History says at least half of the more than 100 pieces are fake. The country says the rest rightfully belong to it and has vowed legal action to reclaim the objects that are genuine.

Bonhams spokeswoman Lucinda Bredin says the British auction house takes such claims seriously and is evaluating the "new information" about the collection. She says Bonhams thoroughly investigates the provenance of all items it auctions to ensure it meets legal requirements.

The auction opened Wednesday morning in New York with about 15 people present. Bids were also taken by phone and Internet.

The collection includes ceramics, sculptures and vases from the Aztec and Maya cultures.

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