TIME Archaeology

Priceless Greek Statue, Lost for Centuries, Briefly Resurfaces on eBay

Palestinian fisherman Joudat Ghrab, who said he scooped a 500-kg bronze statue of the Greek God Apollo from the sea bed last August, prepares his fishing net in the central Gaza Strip
Palestinian fisherman Joudat Ghrab, who said he scooped a 500-kg bronze statue of the Greek God Apollo from the sea bed last August, prepares his fishing net on the beach of Deir El-Balah in the central Gaza Strip February 9, 2014. Ibraheem Abu Mustafa—REUTERS

$500,000, no shipping, buyer must collect from the Gaza Strip

Archaeologists were stunned to find a long lost statue of the Greek god Apollo resurface on eBay, selling at the bargain basement price of $500,000. But buyer beware, the ownership could be in dispute.

According to the U.K. Guardian, a fisherman in the Gaza Strip claims to have spotted the statue in shallow water, hauled it onto shore, loaded it into a donkey cart, showed it to his mother — who was appalled to find a 1,100 lb Greek nude at her doorstep — and finally notified local police.

The officers in question, members of Gaza’s ruling party Hamas, reportedly then put the statue up for sale on eBay. Soon after, shocked archaeologists caught their first fuzzy glimpses of venerable Phoebus relaxing on a Smurfs-themed beach towel. (Although some have questioned whether it had ever been underwater, given his pristine condition.)

As the statue’s true value came to light — one archaeologist told the Guardian it was like putting a price on the Mona Lisa — the listing was pulled down and Hamas authorities whisked it into hiding, pending further investigation. When this may conclude, they won’t say, much to the chagrin of some very patient archaeologists.

[The Guardian]

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