Saturday 10 February 2024

Arrested for a Tourist Fake

     Egyptian rip-off tourist crap from Ebay.   


A new slant on the constant stream of stories where the photos show at a glance that over-enthusiastic border guards or police have not the faintest idea what real antiquities look like and they are constantly seizing fakes and then broadcasting their "success" in the international media before the item has been checked (Rebecca Ann Hughes, 'French tourist jailed in Egypt after souvenir mistaken for 4500-year-old antiquity' Yahoo News Fri, 9 February 2024). A French lawyer on a ten-day trip to Egypt was falsely accused of trying to smuggle an antiquity home. A statue she had purchased from the shopping arcade of the Winter Palace Hotel in Luxor for €250 the day before her departure led to her being arrested at airport and held in a police station in a room in Luxor police station with 40 other people for eight days. She was then charged with possession and trafficking of antiquities.
“I was very attracted by this object, a small character dressed in a loincloth, seated, holding his hands on his knees. I had no idea that he would not bring me luck,” she told French paper Le Figaro. [...] Two days later, Nathalie appeared before a French-speaking judge. To demonstrate that the statue was a copy, the gallery owner was called to give the address of the manufacturing workshop where similar models lined the shelves. The judge declared the proceedings halted, but still didn’t give Nathalie a formal dismissal. Eventually, the intervention of the French ambassador in Cairo, Éric Chevallier, ensured she was put on a plane to Paris.
Of course, it is very difficult, isn't it, to find a competant archaeologist in Luxor in February (right in the middle of the digging season) who would be able to say what this item actually was. Experience shows that the vast majority of fakes sold to tourists look nothing at all like real antiquities and can be spotted a mile off. I'll assume that this lady had a very good eye and taste and found one that was much better than the average.

Hat tip: Marc Balcells.

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