Guilty plea over antiquities

06 Sep 2013 5:23 PM | Anonymous
Guilty plea over antiquities
Suspect admits falsifying provenance of Egyptian items offered for auction in London

Three of the items that were consigned to the Christie’s auction on 2 May, including a granite fragment (right) missing from a Thebes tomb

Neil Kingsbury, of Northwood, London, has pleaded guilty to charges relating to the provenance of Egyptian antiquities that were consigned to Bonhams and Christie’s.

Kingsbury was arrested after misrepresented items were identified in Christie’s London antiquities sale of 2 May. Marcel Marée, a curator at the British Museum, saw the published catalogue a week earlier and spotted that a relief fragment of a Nubian prisoner appeared to come from the Amenhotep III temple in Thebes, across the Nile from Luxor. He contacted Hourig Sourouzian, the site’s conservation director, who confirmed that the relief was missing. It was excavated a decade ago and had been kept in storage.

“Property of a gentleman”

The granite relief was recorded in the Christie’s catalogue as the “property of a gentleman”. Five further pieces, all dating from between 1976BC and 1069BC, were identified as having come from the same person. The estimates were modestundefinedfrom £800 to £2,000. (One further item, worth around £10,000, was not identified before the auction and was sold. This sale has since been cancelled.)

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