Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh El-Damati had asked the Egyptian Embassy in London to take all legal procedures to prevent the sale [of the Sekhemka statue], which he described as incompatible with the values and role of museums worldwide" says Al-Ahram (Amer Sultan 'Northampton and Christie’s insist on Sekhemka sale, claim Egypt approves', Wednesday 9 Jul 2014).
Christie’s, however, insists there is no legal reason to stop the sale. "The sale of this item will go ahead on Thursday, as instructed by its owner, the Northampton Borough Council,” a spokesman told Ahram Online. Christie’s believes that as long as there is no ownership dispute, the sale would be legal, saying they would welcome bids from parties wishing to put Sekhemka on public view from Egypt, but there are no grounds to postpone the sale itself. “A Christie's representative discussed this during a helpful and cooperative discussion with the Egyptian Embassy yesterday", the spokesman said. It is understood that the sale of the statue will help fund a £14m extension to the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. El-Damati has called on the International Council of Museums (ICOM) to intervene on the grounds that the sale contradicts with the council’s ethics. “I do not know what these ethics mean,” Christie’s spokesman reacted.I note Christie's have no problem with describing one party as "the owner" while being aware already (one assumes) of the deal between two parties. How does that square with them? I am sure they'd welcome bids from cash-strapped Egypt to get their cultural heritage back. Shame on them for even suggesting it. I bet it was the same supercilious smarmy slimebag of a public-relations (sic) representative of Christie's to whom I talked a few years back about the Crosby Garrett helmet. With attitudes and people skills like that, he'd soon be out of a job in any company that really cared about public relations.