The illicit, international trade in art and antiquities is flourishing. In fact, this trade currently runs second only to the international drug trade in the volume of business transacted. The old way of doing business was for art-hungry nations to either buy or otherwise acquire much sought-after art and antiquities from artrich nations. Historically, this has been achieved through force or bribery. Today, in the face of increased efforts by countries to reclaim their cultural heritage, museums have become more cautions about checking the origins of artifacts before a purchase is made. However, collectors and investors have yet to display such concern about the origin of artifacts.
Michael J. Kelly, Conflicting Trends in the Flourishing International Trade of Art and Antiquities: Restitutio in Integrum and Possessio animo Ferundil Lucrandi, 14 Penn St. Int'l L. Rev. 31 (1995).