The "Ankh Star" sarcophagus, among the exhibits of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, which was inaugurated after receiving 22 kings and queens in a majestic procession, dazzled the whole world, as the doors of the visit were opened to the public last Sunday, which witnessed a heavy turnout by visitors.
Visitors were keen to contemplate the coffin, which is one of the most beautiful antiques, and to take many memorial photos with it. The coffin is 6 feet (2 meters) long, in the form of a mummy, and is skillfully made of wood and metal, which is covered with sheets of gold, elaborately decorated with scenes. And hieroglyphic texts that aim to guide the priest in his journey to eternal life.
The coffin has a success story of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, which was able to retrieve it from America after it was smuggled illegally, as the coffin was stolen in 2011.
The beginning of the story goes back to the theft of the golden coffin of the ankh from Egypt in 2011 when the country was in turmoil, after the events of January 25, so that the Metropolitan Museum in New York bought the coffin from an art dealer in Paris in July 2017 for about 4 million dollars, from a dealer. Antiquities, who was carrying an exit permit for the piece issued from Egypt and dated to 1971.
Dr. Khaled Al-Anani, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, said that this was done through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the Department of Recovered Antiquities and the American Antiquities Unit, as the latter requested verification of the authenticity of the export document of the coffin after displaying it in the Metropolitan Museum.
The Minister of Antiquities confirmed that after the Egyptian Antiquities Committee reviewed the document, it was confirmed that it was not authentic, and that the documents were forged, as they contained the seal of the eagle at a time when this seal was not approved, and that the number it bore was for another piece, and it bears the name of the Authority. Egyptian antiquities, while its name at that time was the Egyptian Antiquities Service.
And after the investigations carried out by the Attorney General's Office of Manhattan, New York, which lasted for more than 20 months, during which the General Administration of Recovered Antiquities at the Ministry of Antiquities, in coordination with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presented all the evidence and proof that prove beyond any doubt that the alleged permission for the exit of the piece in 1971 It was forged, and a permit was not issued by the Arab Republic of Egypt for this piece at all (before 1983, the law permitted the issuance of permits for the exit of some parts outside Egypt).
Based on the documents sent by the Ministry of Antiquities, the Investigation Office concluded that Egypt has the right to recover this archaeological coffin, and that the export permit for it was forged and the Metropolitan Museum was subjected to fraud when it was purchased, and in this context, the Director General of the Metropolitan Museum yesterday sent a letter to the Ministry of Antiquities In it, he confirms the museum’s apology to the ministry, the government and the Egyptian people for the incident, and that the museum has already taken all measures to return the piece to its mother country, Egypt.