Greek treasures auctioned in London

LONDON, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- A collection of heirlooms that once belonged to the Greek royal family was sold at auction in London against the wishes of the Greek government.

The sale is a two-day event. On its first day, Wednesday, it raised more than $14 million, The Guardian newspaper said.


Items included silverware, clocks and a Faberge egg.

Greek officials had pleaded with Christie's auction house not to go ahead with the sale and warned that legal action would be taken if the artifacts once owned by King George I of Greece were illegally imported, the newspaper said.

King George I ruled Greece from 1863 to 1913.

Greek Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis wrote to Christie's Monday asking the auction house not to go ahead with the sale until it explained how it obtained the collection. Christie's said all the works were legally obtained and had been in storage for many years.

Greece's last monarch, King Constantine II, was deposed in 1967. In 1991, the Greek government allowed Constantine to remove hundreds of items from the royal palace at Tatoi, the newspaper said.

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