11th July 2017

The news that US retailer Hobby Lobby has been $3 million for selling antiquities looted from Iraq has made headlines around the world.

A federal court has taken action over the firm bringing 3,000 items from Iraq – including clay tablets and seals – into the United States.

You might be familiar with the company name from its battles with former US President Barack Obama over healthcare provision for workers (specifically, the inclusion of contraception). And you may be wondering a) why an arts and crafts retailer would want antiquities, and b) why it would be involved in smuggling them.

The company’s president Steve Green is not just a retailer – he also chairs the board of the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC, and is an antiquities collector. And according to the SCCJR’s Donna Yates: “You can’t collect antiquities on the scale of the Greens without certainly buying a lot of loot.”

Donna has spoken to media organisations around the world including The Washington Post about the case, and has posted about it on her hugely popular blog. Head over to Anonymous Swiss Collector to learn why antiquities collecting is so risky, why claims of not understanding the law are no excuse for breaking it, and why this story is not about Islamic State.