CAIRO: Authorities at Cairo International Airport Friday thwarted an attempt to smuggle seven antique coins from the Mohamed Ali Dynasty (1805-1952) outside Egypt.
“The coins were in possession of an Egyptian national before they boarded an airplane heading to the United Arab Emitates. He is an air host working for an Emirati airline,” Ahmed Al-Rawy, the head of the Central Administration for Egyptian Ports Archaeological Unit, told The Cairo Post Saturday.
Rawy said the recovered coins were of the Bara category and had the phrases “minted in Egypt,” and the “Tughra”—an Ottoman signature—carved on them.
According to the provisions of Antiquities Protection Law 117 from 1973, the coins have been confiscated, Rawy added.
“The seized antique coins were examined by an antiquities committee before their origins were proven,” Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh el-Damaty said on the ministry’s Facebook page Friday.
The coins will be restored and registered before they are deposited at the storerooms of the antiquities ministry, he added. They will eventually be on display at the Museum of Islamic Art, which is currently under restoration.
Since the outbreak of the January 25 Revolution in 2011 and the consequent security lapse across Egypt, the Tourism and Antiquities Police, in coordination with Cairo Airport authorities, have stopped several attempts to smuggle ancient Egyptian antiquities out of the country.
“This is not the first attempt to smuggle ancient Egyptian artifacts and it will not be the last,” said Rawy. However, he added confidently that due to strict security measures at the 40 archaeological units at Egyptian ports of entry, it is no longer possible to smuggle any of Egypt’s archaeological heritage out of the country.