Those who would denigrate antiquities collecting and the associated trade frequently quote wildly inflated figures for the value of the market in illicit antiquities. Quotes as high as $6 billion to as low as $300 million are commonly quoted. However, investigation as to where these figures come from show they have little basis in fact and are largely hearsay. Journalists frequently just repeat what they have read elsewhere without checking what the figures used are based on, or whether they have any factual basis at all.
Indeed, the Metropolitan Police has looked at these figures and concluded that the figures reported are actually anecdotal, In truth no statistics on which estimates can be based are kept. It's seems some estimates are just that - estimates and guesses repeated ad nauseam, often by campaigners with their own agendas and axes to grind. Eventually, when repeated enough the lie sadly becomes regarded as the truth.
Recently the UK Antiquities Dealers Association (ADA) and the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA) have teamed up to form the Antiquities Forum on Linkedin to provide accurate, transparent information on the subject of antiquities, to analyse relevant information provided by others, and to suggest workable solutions for public benefit. In a Linkedin article, the Antiquities Forum show how officialdom’s zombie statistics and bogus data continues to misrepresent the antiquities market, and how the frequently quoted values for the illicit antiquities market have little basis in fact.