NYTimes: Auction of Hopi Masks Proceeds After Judge’s Ruling

Published: April 12, 2013

PARIS- A contested auction of sacred Hopi Indian masks went forward Friday in Paris and generated more than $1 million in sales despite the presence of protesters inside and outside the auction house who urged patrons not to take part.

One featured item, a headdress known as the Crow Mother, drew intense interest. Bidding on the artifact, which had a high estimate of $80,000, soared to $210,000, drawing applause from a crowd of some 200 in the sales room and protest from a woman who stood up and shouted: “Don’t purchase that. It is a sacred being.”

Earlier, a woman who stood and began to cry out against the sale was escorted rapidly from the room, which had tight security.

The sale of Native American artifacts generated $1.2 million, including the buyer’s premium, according to a spokeswoman for the auction house, Néret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou. That is roughly what the auction house had estimated the sale would bring before the Hopi Tribe lodged its complaints and the auction became the subject of international focus and diplomatic talks between the United States and French officials.

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