The police force also helped return 268 items that the museum claimed belonged to it and were sold to a collector in Washington.

The British Museum announced last year that ancient stones, jewelry and other items in its collection were missing, stolen or damaged.

A buyer in New Orleans told the BBC that an FBI agent emailed him asking for information about two items he had bought on eBay. The FBI agent said they were assisting the Metropolitan Police in investigating lost or stolen items at the museum.

The British Museum has announced that 626 of the 1,500 items it estimates to have been stolen or lost have been recovered so far, while 100 have been found but not yet returned.

The vast majority of the items the museum believes to have been stolen are not cataloged and the museum is still trying to find ways to prove that they came from its collection. In some cases, collectors have agreed to donate items to the museum so that staff can evaluate them.

Peter Higgs, a senior curator, has been accused by the British Museum of stealing, damaging, melting down and selling antiquities. He denies the allegations. The museum says it believes Higgs "pocketed" an estimated £100,000 in total. According to court documents in the museum's civil case against Higgs, Higgs stole artifacts for at least a decade and sold mostly unregistered artifacts from the museum's storerooms. 

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The museum believes the dismissed Higgs sold items on eBay to at least 45 buyers.

Editor: David Goodman