Mexico asks French auctioneers to halt sale of artifacts

MEXICO CITY — The Mexican government is asking a French auction house to halt the planned sale of a collection of about 120 pre-Hispanic artifacts, saying some are fakes and others should be returned to Mexico.

The relics are being offered by the French auction house Millon at a sale scheduled for Wednesday in Paris.

The auction house did not respond to a request for comment.

Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said 95 of the mainly stone and clay statuettes appear to be from Mexican cultures. The departments said "it is worth noting that a certain number of the items listed in the catalog could be recently created imitations."

A French couple, Manichak and Jean Aurance, started the collection in the 1960s.

Mexico passed a law in 1972 prohibiting the export of such artifacts.

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