Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Cairo Plaques Found on Sale at Bonham's

A stolen set of engraved wooden plaques from Egypt's Abbasid era was handed over to the Egyptian embassy in London (Nevine El-Aref, 'Egypt retrieves stolen Abbasid era decorative plaques from London' Al-Ahram Wednesday 1 Jun 2016):
A set of eight engraved wooden plaques that was stolen from the Dome of the Abbasid Caliphs in Cairo's Sayyeda Nafisa district were handed over to the Egyptian embassy in London after being missing for four years. Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, the supervisor of the Antiquities Repatriation Department at the antiquities ministry, told Ahram Online that the plaques were stolen in 2012 during the lack of security that followed the January 2011 revolution. The plaques were put up for sale in Bonhams auction hall and the antiquities ministry monitored the transaction and managed to stop the sale after proving Egypt's claim over the artefacts.
Bonhams' explanation is not recorded. Neither is the name of the supplier who brought them to the London market - presumably without an Egyptian export licence. One wonders why Bonhams accepted them just on their say-so and whether they will be accepting any more paperless objects from them.

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