Egypt returns 176 recovered coin artefacts to Iraq, China, Saudi Arabia & Jordan

Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 13 Dec 2022

Egypt returned 176 stolen coin artefacts that were recovered in the country to Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and China on Monday during a ceremony held at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir.

From L to R: The Egyptian tourism and antiquities minister with the Jordanian ambassador, secretary general of the SCA and the head of the the department of seized artefacts at the ministry


Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Ahmed Issa handed over a collection of authentic metal coins to Iraq’s Minister of Tourism, Antiquities and Culture Ahmed Fakak Al-Badrani, China’s Cultural Counsellor Yang Ronghao, Jordan’s Ambassador to Egypt Amgad Al-Aadaliya and Saudi Arabia’s counsellor.

The artefacts had been seized at Egyptian borders before they could be smuggled out of the country.

The artefacts were handed over in accordance with a UNESCO convention from 1970 to prevent the illicit transfer of cultural property, as well as various governmental agreements and decrees.

Of the coins, 133 were returned to Saudi Arabia that date to different periods from the reign of King Abdulaziz Al-Saud (1932-1953). Six coins were returned to Iraq that date to the reign of King Faisal I (1921-1933).

Four coins were returned to Jordan that date to the reign of King Hussein bin Ali (1916-1925), and one from the reign of King Hussein bin Talal (1952-1999). China received 33 coins dating to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

During the ceremony, Ahmed Issa asserted that Egypt does not just preserve its own antiquities and cultural heritage but those belonging to other countries as well out of a belief in preserving the heritage of the whole world and abiding by all international treaties and agreements.

He highlighted the important role of Egypt’s border guards and the archaeological units at Egyptian ports in seizing stolen antiquities before they can be smuggled out of the country, whether or not they are Egyptian.

“Egypt has succeeded in returning several antiquities to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, China, Peru, Cuba, Ecuador, Italy, Switzerland, Guatemala, Spain and the United State of America,” Issa pointed out.

He stressed the strong relations between Egypt and those countries to foster cooperation, especially in the field of tourism and antiquities.

Temporary exhibition at the museum

In addition to the return of artefacts, the ceremony also featured a display of the jewellry of Queen Ahhotep, mother of the famous King Ahmose who expelled the Hyksos and formed the 18th Dynasty (1550-1292 BC), along with a painted sarcophagus of Lady Isis Wert from the 26th Dynasty (664-332 BC).

Sabah Abdel Razek, director general of the museum, explained that this was the first time that these treasures were being displayed after having been in storage.

The collection of jewellry includes a wide golden necklace gold with falcon head decoration, as well as a chain of gold with a scarab inlaid with lapis lazuli, considered one of the most beautiful pieces of jewelry from the period.

A variety of golden bracelets were also on display, some of which were inlaid with lapis lazuli, agate, turquoise, colored glass, while other bracelets were composed of beads of gold and semi-precious stones. The collection also included a mirror made of gold and bronze with cedar handle inlaid with gold, as well as a gilded wooden handle fan, with scenes of worship of King Kamose.

The pieces were found by French archaeologist August Mariette in the tomb of Queen Ahhotep in the Draa Abul-Naga necropolis in Luxor in 1859.

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