Saturday, December 20, 2008

Egyptian Antiquities at Sotheby's

I have been following the sale of antiquities at Sotheby's New York over the last decade. 2008 came fourth in the ranking for the proportion of sales for Egyptian lot: 40% of the value of the two lots for the year. This was worth some US $7.16 million (out of a total US $ 17.83). (The top three years are 2004, 2003 and 1998.)

Sotheby's New York has sold just under US $50 million worth of Egyptian antiquities since 1998. This is some 22% of the sales of antiquities (worth US $230.97 million). This is slightly distorted by the sale of the Guennol lioness in 2007, even though this year saw the fourth highest sum raised for Egyptian antiquities (US $6.58 million).

I have also been keeping an eye on past collecting histories. Some 67% of the Egyptian lots in this period (1998-2008) do not appear to have been known prior to 1973 (the date of the declaration by the Archaeological Institute of America). Some 95% of the lots have no recorded find-spots.

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