Georgina Adam remarks in her Financial Times column on the recent discovery of Egyptian antiquities that may have been illegally removed from the country recently:
In London, six lots of Egyptian material had to be withdrawn shortly before Christie’s May 2 London sale because they were believed to have been stolen from a recently discovered and excavated tomb in Thebes. According to the Metropolitan Police’s art and antiques unit, an unnamed man in his early 60s from northeast London was arrested the day after the sale “on suspicion of handling stolen goods, tax and fraud offences”. The suspect was released on bail until August.
Christie’s said the works “came with a convincing provenance”. The seller apparently said he had inherited the pieces (which included a red granite relief of a Nubian prisoner, dated 1550-1069 BC, and another limestone relief, both from the Theban tomb) from an uncle who had served in Egypt during the second world war.
After the catalogue was printed, the saleroom checked with the Egyptology Department of the British Museum and discovered that there was doubt about the works. “[Christie’s] is working with the police to ensure their speedy return to Egypt,” it said in a statement.
The Art Market: Apples—Only $41.6m a Bowl (Financial Times)