Newsday has the story of the Long Island University Museum Director who was let go after 22 years with the Hillwood Museum. In response, he sold Egyptian artifacts through Christie’s for a total take of less than $50,000. Whether the sales were motivated by spite or greed, Newsday doesn’t say. But the 61-year-old Barry Stern is now in a heap of trouble for theft and lying to the FBI:
The artifacts are wood, bronze, quartz and limestone models of Egyptian mythical figures and are all more than 2,000 years old, the complaint said.
Five of the pieces sold in December for $35,300, and Stern pocketed $26,869 of that total, the complaint said. Another three pieces sold for $16,200 in June, though Stern has not yet been paid, the complaint said.
It was the ninth and final piece, an Egyptian shabti made of faience quartz, that got Stern in trouble. It did not sell at the auction, so Christie’s sent a fax addressed to Stern at the Hillwood Museum detailing a later offer, the complaint said.
A museum worker who recognized the artifact contacted Christie’s, viewed its catalog and recognized other pieces – all of them from a collection donated recently by an unnamed benefactor, the complaint said.