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Stolen ancient gold coffin, once on display at the Met, being returned to Egypt

2019-09-26

An Egyptian relic is going home.

An ancient artifact that was stolen from Africa, smuggled to France and sold to Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is being returned to its rightful owner, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said Wednesday.

The Gold Coffin of Nedjemankh, which once held the remains of a high-ranking priest, was stolen from the Minya region of Egypt in the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution in October 2011.

It was then smuggled out of Egypt and transported through the United Arab Emirates to Germany, where it was restored, and to France, where it was sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in July 2017. The museum displayed it until February when it was seized by the Manhattan DA’s office.

“Coming as we do from all over the world, New Yorkers place a strong value on cultural heritage, and our office takes pride in our work to vigorously protect it,” said Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance. “Returning stolen cultural treasures to their countries of origin is at the core of our mission to stop the trafficking of stolen antiquities.”

The coffin, crafted in Egypt between approximately 150 and 50 B.C., has an estimated value of nearly $4 million.