The sculpture was purchased back in 2003 for £440,000 with support from the National Arts Collection Fund [£75,000], the National Heritage Memorial Fund [£360,767] and the Friends of Bolton Museum and Art Gallery (story).
It came with the following history:
The sculpture was bought and brought to Bolton by the owner's great grandfather in 1892 at a sale of the contents of Silverton Park in Devon, the home of the 4th Earl of Egremont.
When the police started their enquiries last year it was noted:
It was bought by the museum from a local family in Bolton, Greater Manchester, who wanted to remain anonymous.
The NACF website also adds this information:
"Vendor: Through Christie, Manson and Woods Ltd".
One of Bolton's councillors, Laurie Williamson, was quoted as saying (probably now with much regret):
"This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure an important Egyptian treasure."
So we have the following elements:
a. a purchase too good to be true.
b. a purchase from an anonymous collection.
c. a distinguished pedigree.
d. the link with a well-known auction-house.
And are we surprised at the outcome?
But, more importantly, what checks were made? Who made them? And who double-checked in the two Funds?