Antiquities Min. Investigates Planned Sale of Tutankhamun Bust in UK
The Antiquities Ministry said it is investigating a planned sale of a Tutankhamun bust at Christie's auction house in London on July 4 in preparation for taking the required legal measures in coordination with the Foreign Ministry.
In a press statement on Wednesday, Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, the general supervisor of the ministry's department of recovered antiquities noted that the ministry would address the auction house about the ancient piece to check the validity of its ownership papers.
Abdel-Gawad stressed that the bust does not belong to any of the collection of relics kept at the ministry's museums or warehouses, saying his department follows up all international auction salerooms to prevent the sale of any Egyptian antiquities.
If it was proved that any piece of antiquities was smuggled, the ministry would take all legal measures with the Interpol in coordination with the Foreign Ministry to restore it, he clarified.
Earlier, the Financial Times reported that the 3,000-year-bust of the Egyptian most famous king would be bought worth at least £4 million.
Laetitia Delaloye, the head of the antiquities department at Christie's London, said: "Artists retained the new style even after Tutankhamun restored older religious traditions."
"The beauty of the lines and the way it's carved are a testament to the Amarna style," she added.
The newspaper noted that the ancient sculpture's source dates back to 1960s as Christie's said it was a part of the collection of Prince Wilhelm von Thurn und Taxis, a German collector. Then it passed through the hands of dealers until being bought by the current owners in 1985.
In the meantime, the auction company claimed that it had contacted the Egyptian authorities about the planned sale, pointing out it would send more details about the head and other artifacts in the sale.
It is worth mentioning that Egypt banned taking its artifacts out from the country since 1983.
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