Police officers at Safaga port on the Red Sea coastline confiscated on Tuesday seven parcels arriving from the United Arab Emirates upon discovering that they were filled with antiquities and historical documents.
Antiquities minister, Mamdouh Eldamaty told Ahram Online Wednesday that an archaeological committee from the antiquities ministry inspected the boxes and uncovered that they included 16 Arabic and foreign coins. Three of the coins are from the Ottoman period, eight are from Yemen, two were fabricated in 1902 in Spain and one from Canada in 1857. The boxes also include 12 authentic pieces of Egyptian jewelry and Bedouin veils ornamented with silver and gold coins along with 65 albums housing thousands of old stamps bearing photos of different members of Mohamed Ali’s family.
Eldamaty asserted that all these objects are under the protection of Egypt’s antiquities law 11 and explained that negotiations are underway with embassies of Spain, Canada and Yemen among others to return the coins to the countries where they belong.
Ahmed El-Rawi, head of the Recuperation Antiquities Section explained on Wednesday that the stamps are dated from 1898 to 1972 and that they are the ministry’s property according to the UNESCO convention for safeguarding antiquities and presidential decree number 114 which prohibits exchange of cultural heritage items between countries.
El-Rawi pointed out that among the confiscated objects are two well-preserved textile Bedouin veils embellished with coins from Sana, Constantinople and Mecca which are dated to an era between 1327 and 1386.
El-Rawi went on to say that the documents found in the parcels are very important they document the history of postal systems in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Emirates.
All the documents and manuscripts found in the parcels were, according to El-Rawi, property of the Egypt National Archive and Documents Authority as per law number eight concerning the protection of manuscripts.