New York art dealer who ‘sold fake ancient artifacts for decades’ busted by prosecutors

SHOWN: Manhattan art dealer, a fake Egyptian artifact mill “where he spent decades selling spray-painted and varnished fake relics to unsuspecting collectors”

  • Prosecutors say Mehrdad Sadigh, a New York antiquities dealer who ran Sadigh Gallery, created thousands of fake antiques in the back offices of his showroom
  • Prosecutors allege Sadigh passed the fake artifacts as ancient relics to unsuspecting customers for decades
  • Sadigh sold two undercover federal researchers a gold pendant depicting Tutankhamun’s death mask and a marble portrait head of an ancient Roman woman for $4,000 each
  • After the sale, members of the DA’s office and Homeland Security Investigations visited the gallery and found hundreds of fake artifacts on display
  • Researchers also found the tools Sadigh used to age the fake antiques with varnish, sanders and spray paint
  • Prosecutors say that, based on the number of years he ran his business, it’s possible he… the largest seller of fake artifacts in the country
  • Sadigh pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud, grand theft, criminal possession of a counterfeit instrument, forgery and criminal simulation

Advertisement

A New York City art dealer was arrested and charged with counterfeiting thousands of antiquities and selling them for decades in his Manhattan gallery.

Prosecutors say Mehrdad Sadigh, a New York antiquities dealer who ran Sadigh Gallery, created fake antiques in the back offices of his Fifth Avenue showroom.

Prosecutors allege that for decades Sadigh would pass on the fake artifacts as ancient relics to unsuspecting customers who believed they were adding rare treasures to their collections.

“For years, this fake antiques factory in downtown Manhattan promised customers rare treasures from antiquity and instead sold pieces that were made on the spot in a cookie-cutter fashion,” Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement.

Prosecutors allege Sadigh passed the fake artifacts as ancient relics to unsuspecting customers for decades

Prosecutors allege Sadigh passed the fake artifacts as ancient relics to unsuspecting customers for decades

Prosecutors say Sadigh stored and manufactured fake items in rooms behind the gallery, which was on an upper floor of a building on Fifth Avenue.

Prosecutors say Sadigh stored and manufactured fake items in rooms behind the gallery, which was on an upper floor of a building on Fifth Avenue.

Prosecutors say Sadigh stored and manufactured fake items in rooms behind the gallery, which was on an upper floor of a building on Fifth Avenue.

Prosecutors seized thousands of fake artifacts stored in the back room of Sadigh's Manhattan gallery

Prosecutors seized thousands of fake artifacts stored in the back room of Sadigh's Manhattan gallery

Prosecutors seized thousands of fake artifacts stored in the back room of Sadigh’s Manhattan gallery

Prosecutors allege Sadigh passed on the fake artifacts as ancient relics for decades to unsuspecting customers, who believed they were adding rare treasures to their collections.

Prosecutors allege Sadigh passed on the fake artifacts as ancient relics for decades to unsuspecting customers, who believed they were adding rare treasures to their collections.

Prosecutors allege Sadigh passed on the fake artifacts as ancient relics for decades to unsuspecting customers, who believed they were adding rare treasures to their collections.

Prosecutors said that based on the number of years he ran his business, the amount of items seized from his gallery and Sadigh’s “significant financial gain,” it is possible that he the largest seller of fake artifacts in the US

Sadigh pleaded not guilty earlier this month.

Prosecutors discovered Sadigh while investigating dealers selling stolen antiquities, asking why they were ignoring “the man who sells all the counterfeits,” Matthews Bogdanos, the head of the DA’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit, told the DA’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit. New York Times.

Sadigh sold Two undercover federal investigators found a gold pendant depicting Tutankhamun’s death mask and a marble portrait head of an ancient Roman woman for $4,000 each, leading to his arrest, prosecutors said.

After the sale, members of the DA’s office and Homeland Security Investigations visited the gallery and found hundreds of fake items lined up on shelves and display cases. Thousands more were discovered in rooms behind the gallery.

Members of the office of the DA and Homeland Security Investigations visited the gallery and found that thousands more were discovered in rooms behind the gallery

Members of the office of the DA and Homeland Security Investigations visited the gallery and found that thousands more were discovered in rooms behind the gallery

Members of the office of the DA and Homeland Security Investigations visited the gallery and found that thousands more were discovered in rooms behind the gallery

Prosecutors said they found thousands of objects in the back rooms of the gallery that were treated to make them look old

Prosecutors said they found thousands of objects in the back rooms of the gallery that were treated to make them look old

Prosecutors said they found thousands of objects in the back rooms of the gallery that were treated to make them look old

Investigators also found the tools Sadigh used to age the fake antiques, including varnish, sanders, spray paint and muddy fabrics.

Sadigh was arrested and pleaded not guilty on Aug. 6 to charges of conspiracy to defraud, grand theft, criminal possession of a counterfeit instrument, forgery and criminal simulation.

He was released on his own admission and is due to appear in court in October.

The Times reported that in late 2020 and early 2021 on his gallery’s site a mummified falcon dated 305-30 BC. for $9,000, an Egyptian wood-carved sarcophagus mask from 663-525 BC. for $5,000, and an iron and nickel fragment from a meteorite that landed in Mongolia for $1,500.

Prior to the 2019 investigation, the authenticity of Sadigh’s artifacts was questioned Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in Iowa canceled a planned visiting exhibit after Bjorn Anderson, an art history professor at the University of Iowa, said “the majority” of items ever sold by the Sadigh Gallery were found to be counterfeits, reported the Times.

“I don’t know anything about this,” Sadigh told The West Branch Times in response to the cancellation at the time.

Prosecutors say Mehrdad Sadigh, a New York antiquities dealer who ran Sadigh Gallery, created thousands of fake antiques in the back offices of his Fifth Avenue showroom

Prosecutors say Mehrdad Sadigh, a New York antiquities dealer who ran Sadigh Gallery, created thousands of fake antiques in the back offices of his Fifth Avenue showroom

Prosecutors say Mehrdad Sadigh, a New York antiquities dealer who ran Sadigh Gallery, created thousands of fake antiques in the back offices of his Fifth Avenue showroom

Advertisement

.