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    The controversial Egyptian brown quartzite head of Tutankamen as the God Amen sold at Christie’s London this evening for £4,746,250. The Egyptian government foreign ministry claimed that it was probably stolen from an Egyptian temple during the 1970’s. Christies said they had not received any evidence from the Egyptian authorities about a problem and that they would not auction an object about which there were legitimate concerns. They published a chronology of the owners for the past 50 years.

    Christie’s stated: “This was a rare, beautiful and important work. We recognise that historic 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. There is an honourable market for ancient art and we believe it is in the public interest that works come out into the open with the opportunity for them to be researched, as well as seen and enjoyed by global audiences.”

    The present lot was acquired from Heinz Herzer, a Munich-based dealer in 1985. Prior to this, Joseph Messina, an Austrian dealer, acquired it in 1973-74 from Prinz Wilhelm von Thurn und Taxis who reputedly had it in his collection by the 1960s.

    The brown quartzite piece is 11 inches high.

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