Egyptian ministries and officials moved to halt the sale, but to no avail.
A not-so-triumphant end after all. After making headlines around the world and inspiring public outcry, a 3000-year-old Tutankhamun bust has been sold for £4.7 million ($6 million) at London auction house, Christie’s, despite protests from the Egyptian government that the bust may have been looted from the country.
The Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Antiquities, who had reached out to UNESCO for assistance in halting the auction, have stated that the bust originally resided at a temple in Luxor, and was stolen in the 1970s. In turn, Christie's has questioned why concerns had not been raised until now, despite the bust in question being previously publicly exhibited.
Outspoken archaeologist and Egyptologist, Zahi Hawass, had his say, telling the Washington Post, “There are no ethics here at all. Christie’s has no evidence that this head of Tutankhamun left Egypt legally. They did not offer to us any kind of papers to show the legality of this statue.”
Christie’s released a statement stating the artefact "had never been the subject of an investigation and that it never would have it if there were legitimate concerns. We recognise that historical objects can raise complex discussions about the past; yet our role today is to work to continue to provide a transparent, legitimate marketplace upholding the highest standards for the transfer of objects,” the auction house added.
Alas, the King Tut's bust resides in some mansion for snooty folks to gawk at.)