Forgery and the Pre-Columbian Art Market

Author(s): Nancy Kelker

Year: 2017


Why forgery? "Because," as Willie Sutton once said, referring to why he robbed banks, "that’s where the money is." Forgery is a common problem in the art market with works by contemporary living artists as well as "old masters" having been and, continuing to be, faked. Some segments of the market, specifically pre-Columbian antiquities, are worse than others in the sheer number of forged and faked works being offered for sale in upscale galleries, online, and by independent, direct-to-the-collector dealers. The history of pre-Columbian art forgery is a long one beginning with the Spanish Conquest and steadily gaining in momentum after 1821. This paper will look at how the art market, historically and in modern times, drives the manufacture of forgeries, and at some of the modern producers and purveyors of these false works.

Cite this Record

Forgery and the Pre-Columbian Art Market. Nancy Kelker. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430106)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14361