- Antique coffin bought for nearly $4 million was pulled midway from a Met show
- New York prosecutors say it was stolen and sold with counterfeit documents
- The podcast has now revealed how a photo of Kim Kardashian standing next to Nedjemunk’s golden coffin at the 2018 Met Gala helped settle the matter
Posing with an ancient Egyptian coffin that showed off her killer curves, gold outfit, and thick mascara, Kim Kardashian might have thought her photo opportunity at the 2018 Met Gala would be great for Instagram.
But the reality star’s viral snap unexpectedly helped solve a long-running criminal case involving golden coffins, forged documents and an international antiquity-robbing-and-smuggling ring.
In his recent podcast Art Bust: Scandalous Stories of the Art World, British journalist Ben Lewis played a key role in pinning the thieves who stole the golden coffin of Nedjemankh from the 1st century BC, and described it as sold. To the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art for $4 million using counterfeit documentation.
It was dug out of the ground during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 and, after many twists and turns, landed at the Met in 2018 ahead of the Met Gala on the first Monday of May.
That same month, a viral photo of Kim was emailed to Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos by an informant in the Middle East who had obtained it from a member of a gang of robbers – outraged that he was paid to dig the coffin. had not been. Land during the Egyptian Revolution in 2011.
For Bogdanos, head of the Manhattan DA’s antiquities trafficking unit, Kim’s viral photo was the key to uncovering a long-running case he began investigating in 2013 targeting international antiquities dealers.
The elaborately decorated coffin, which was made the centerpiece of a major exhibition in July 2018, seen by nearly half a million visitors, was returned to Egypt in 2019, where it was displayed at the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo had gone.
In May 2018, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos was emailed a viral photo of Kim by an informant in the Middle East, revealing it had been robbed.
This ancient Egyptian coffin, bought for nearly $4 million, was pulled mid-section from a stunning Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit named after it
The informer had seen the picture of Kim and the coffin because it had gone viral and had identified the gold artifact.
‘There is no respect among thieves,’ said Bogdanos, after explaining that the looter had not yet been paid to excavate the artwork, according to many times.
For half a decade, Bogdanos had been conducting electronic surveillance campaigns around the world by collecting text, emails and other content stored in the cloud.
Thanks to this, he had hundreds of files holding freshly excavated antiques that had been dug up by robbers and sent photos to dealers in hopes of selling.
In May 2018, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos was emailed a viral photo of Kim (pictured at the Met Gala in 2018) by an informant in the Middle East, which it was passed on by a member of a gang of robbers – Reporter Robbers were not paid to dig a coffin out of the ground during the Egyptian revolution in 2011
Unfortunately, Bogdanos, who could only act on items while they were in his jurisdiction in New York, couldn’t match any of the low-resolution photos he was aware of for the new acquisitions.
The informant’s tip-off after seeing Kim’s photo alone wasn’t enough, so Bogdanos requested that the informant ask the robber if he had access to any digital images of the coffin.
Lauter sent photographs of the artifacts captured just after the excavation, and Bogdanos was able to match these to similar photographs in emails collected by his surveillance expedition.
Bogdanos, who then opened a grand jury investigation, can now piece together the journey the artwork went on and discover that the coffin was looted in the Minya region in 2011 during the Egyptian Revolution.
The elaborately decorated coffin (pictured), which was seen by nearly half a million visitors when it was made the centerpiece of a major exhibition in July 2018, was returned to Egypt in 2019, where it was placed at the Grand Egypt in Cairo. was displayed in the museum.
While excavating the artifacts, robbers dumped the mummified remains of Nedjemankh—a high priest in ancient Egypt—into the Nile, but accidentally left a finger bone inside the coffin that was still attached when visible at the Met. Had happened.
Bogdanos claimed that evidence showed Dib paid local smugglers and smugglers in exchange for ‘taking the antiques to Germany’.
Revealed: Antiques that the Met took apart because they could be stolen
The ancient Egyptian sarcophagus, purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art for approximately $4 million before returning to Egypt, was the latest of several incidents that raised questions about the thoroughness of the Met’s rediscovery processes when acquiring the antiquities. the new York Times.
The return of the coffin wasn’t the first time the Met had to part with ancient artifacts that could have been stolen.
About ten years earlier, the museum restored ownership of a 2,500-year-old vase to the Italian government, known as Euphronios Crater, which it believed was looted from a tomb in 1971.
Then in 2017, the district attorney’s office confiscated a fourth-century BC terracotta vase by Greek artist Python from the museum, which had been on display in the Met’s Greco-Roman galleries for more than two decades.
The 2,300-year-old piece—which depicts Dionysus, the god of the grape harvest, riding in a cart pulled by a satyr, was robbed by tomb raiders in Italy in the 1970s.
In 2018, the museum announced that it was returning two sculptures to India: a…