MEXICO CITY — The Mexican government is demanding that Sotheby's auction house halt the planned sale of 51 pre-Columbian Mexican artifacts, arguing they are protected national historical pieces.
The National Institute of Anthropology and History said Wednesday that Mexico has sent a diplomatic note to the French government seeking assistance in heading off the auction scheduled in Paris for Friday and Saturday.
It also implied that some of the artifacts offered in what is known as the 300-piece Barbier-Mueller Collection of Pre-Columbian Art are fakes or imitations.
"Of the 130 objects advertised as being from Mexico, 51 are archaeological artifacts that are (Mexican) national property, and the rest are handicrafts," the institute said in a statement.
Still, the genuine pieces are important to Mexico.
"In light of their importance for the people of Mexico, the director of the auction company has been asked to withdraw the pieces from sale," the institute said.