Thursday, 10 July 2014

Reflecting on the price received by Sekhemka

The news that the sale of the Egyptian statue of Sekhemka for £15,762,500 (c. $27 million) needs to be put in perspective.

Looting Matters has been monitoring the sale of Egyptian antiquities at Sotheby's New York since 1998. The total for all Egyptian lots from 1998 to 2013 is just over $77 million (with over $383 million) for antiquities. The highest year for Egyptian lots was in 2010 with a total value of over $12 million.

So a single statue selling for the equivalent of $27 million is a third of the total sales of Egyptian antiquities during a 16 year period.

Christie's New York has sold $225 million worth of antiquities (not just Egyptian) over a 15 year period (from 1999 to 2013). There were only two years when the total sales were worth more than $27 million: 2010 worth over $42 million, and 2011 worth over $38 million.

So this is an exceptional price for a well documented sculpture.

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