CAIRO: Despite Egyptian efforts to prevent the auction, the Northampton Sekhemka statue was sold for £15.76 million in the U.K.’s Christie’s Auctions House on Thursday evening in London, according a statement on their official website.
The sale broke “the previous recorded established by Christie’s Exceptional Sales in 2011 at £28.7 million,” the statement read. However, the house did not reveal who bought the statue.
On April 28, Christie’s Auction House announced the Northampton Sekhemka (estimate: £4 – 6 million) will be offered in The Exceptional Sale in London on July 10.
The painted limestone statue, measuring at 30 inches high and 12.5 inches wide, belonged to a court official during the fifth Dynasty (2400 B.C–2300 B.C.) excavated from the Sakkara archaeological site, 26 km south of the Giza Pyramids.
The 4,500-year-old statue was acquired by the second Northampton Marquees Spencer Joshua Alwyne Campton in Egypt between Sep. 1949 and April 1850, according to the house’s website. The statue was then presented to the Northampton Museums and Art Gallery by the third Marquees Charles Douglas-Campton.
The auction caused a protest by Egyptian expatriates in London, in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministries of Antiquities and the Foreign Affairs, to put pressure on the U.K. government to stop the sale of the statue, MENA reported Thursday.
On July 7, Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh el-Damaty asked the Egyptian Embassy in London to take the necessary legal measures to prevent the auction; however, the efforts were in vain and the statue was sold.
In December 2013, the Northampton Borough Council voted in favor of selling the statue, which had been a central piece of the town’s museum for 150 years to Christie’s, according to the Northampton Chronicle.
Additional reporting by Rany Mostafa.