PARIS – 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.