By John Balson @JJBalson

AN AFRICAN art collection worth a staggering $10m (£6.4) has been uncovered in a notorious area of New York

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Videographer / Director: Ruaridh Connellan
Producer: John Balson, Chloe Browne
Editor: Sonia Estal

Clean sweep: Eric's collection takes in all 54 African nations and includes pieces from the Nubian empire

Eric Edwards from Bedford-Stuyvesant - a neighbourhood made famous by rappers Jay Z and Biggie Smalls - has collected more than 1,600 artefacts over the last 44 years.

Practical: Most of the pieces were made for ceremonies or were embodiments, symbols and emblems of power

The 68 year old, who travelled the world to acquire his collection, now hopes to share it with the world by opening up a museum to celebrate African culture.

Early interest: Eric (centre) with Milton and Myrna Edwards has been an avid collector from a young age
Family connection: Eric was inspired to collect African art by his father James Edwards, pictured on his wedding day to wife Eleanor

He said: "I don’t think that there is enough pride in African heritage in America and that’s not due to any fault of African Americans. 

Expansive: Eric's impressive collection has more than 1,600 pieces

"The lack of knowledge of the history of African culture and history in America is really due is a remnant of our vestiges that we still have from over 400 years of slavery.

Came-room with a view: His apartment in the gritty Bed-Stuy neighbourhood of Brooklyn is filled with African artefacts

"I think there is a real need for a museum of African culture in Bed-Stuy, partly because of the fact that the highest concentration of people of African decent in the United States live in Brooklyn."

Pride: Eric wants to share his artefacts with the public in the hope of educating people about African culture

Eric values his collection at $10m, based on his experience of auctions and expertise in African Artefacts.

Eric was introduced to African art and culture by his father, James, who moved to America from Barbados when he was 18
Gritty: Eric's collection is housed in the Bed-Stuy neighbourhood of Brooklyn, made famous by rappers like Jay Z and Biggie Smalls

A top appraisal and valuation company is currently evaluating it ahead of the opening of the museum.

Valuation: A top appraisal and valuation company is currently evaluating the collection but Eric estimates it is worth $10m

Eric was introduced to African art and culture by his father, who moved to America from Barbados when he was 18.

Local: Eric grew up and still resides in the Bed-Stuy neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York

He said his father had been struck by the level of racism in Brooklyn when he arrived, something he'd not previously experienced.

Over four decades, the retired technology consultant amassed thousands of items, buying much of his art in the seventies when he was able to get it for better value

"Because of the racism he knew his children would encounter the same as we entered the public school system," said Eric, who has also amassed a huge collection of 40,000 vinyl records and a smaller amount of baseball cards and antique clocks.

Global mission: Eric went to auctions and would travel extensively around the world to expand his collection

"He felt it was important that we knew our history, and our culture and where we came from."

Help needed: Eric is trying to crowd-fund $35,000 (£22,000) for his museum venture through a Kickstarter campaign

Over four decades, the retired technology consultant amassed thousands of items, buying much of his art in the seventies when he was able to get it for better value.

Out of Africa: Eric Edwards, 68, has amassed a huge 1,600 piece collection of artefacts

"I went to auctions and the sales and the galleries and I used to travel extensively around the world. I started purchasing pieces when they were truly affordable and started building my collection."

The prize is this unique palace drum from Nigeria that is estimated to be worth a $1m (£640,000) and due to go on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The pieces represent all 54 countries in Africa, with artefacts dating back to the Nubian empire.

The 68 year old has also amassed a huge collection of 40,000 vinyl records and a smaller amount of baseball cards and antique clocks

Most were made for ceremonies or were embodiments, symbols and emblems of power.

Discworld: Eric is also an avid collector of vinyl

Among them is a unique palace drum from Nigeria that is estimate to be worth a $1m (£640,000) and due to go on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this month.

Big dream: Eric wants to open an African Museum of Art in Brooklyn but needs funding

But rather than keep his collection behind closed doors, Eric wants to share his artefacts with the public in the hope of educating people about African culture - and is trying to crowd-fund $35,000 (£22,000) for the venture through a Kickstarter campaign.

For more information visit… https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/711740227/cultural-museum-of-african-art-eric-edwards-collec