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Additionally, for what it's worth, the piece was offered with a certificate of  authenticity.



One might think this to be a very desirable item with a superb provenance. But is it what it purports to be?


Lets look at the mask.


  • Firstly, the colours differ from pigments used by the ancient Egyptians. The painting does inded look very fresh. An analysis of the paint would be very interesting to have!
  • Secondly, there are several odd things about the painting style. The band across the forehead is unusually thick and the designs of coloured squares 'floating' in space cannot be paralleled among authentic coffins or masks of the 22nd Dynasty, or from any other period.
  • Thirdly although winged head-dresses do occur on coffins of the period, no examples are known where the wing feathers continue above the brow-band while the central area of the top of the head lacks painted details. Normally one would see either a feathered design representing the bird's body, or some other motif such as a scarab beetle or sun disc here.
  • The necklace of three broad bands of plain yellow is also unusual.
  • However, the details of the carving and the proportions of the face and wig look more in keeping with ancient work, so it may be that the mask is genuinely ancient and that it has been repainted. If so, the painter may have based his work loosely on authentic ancient coffins, adding some features (such as the headband design) from his own imagination.

So is it that we have here a genuine mask that has been completely repainted to increase its value? If so, how much is it worth?

(Bonhams), and (Christies).



The seller refused to take it back as he had a 14 day returns policy!

(And might I interject at this point that any half decent dealer would have taken it back immediately in these circumstances!)


Now, what about the letters which were offered in support of this piece?

Let's look at the letter from Sir Wallis Budge. It appears very convincing but.....the first warning sign is that the dates for the 22nd Dynasty (945-715 B.C.E.) in Wallis Budge's letter are the dates accepted by modern-day Egyptologists. In 1920, the dates for the 22nd Dynasty were considered to be 945-745 B.C., based on J.H. Breasted's chronology of 1906.  


Furthermore the term B.C.E. (Before Common Era) was not used by archaeologists at that time. They would have used the term 'B.C.' instead.


The letter is a fake!


And the other letter?


Well, the signature looks pretty good.


The owner showed it to the curator concerned. His reply:


 "The views expressed in the letter conflict with my own (as you have noted) and there are certain forms of words in it which I would not use. Moreover, there is no copy of the letter in our correspondence files, no reference in our visitors' book to a M Lyonne coming here on 20 March 2003, and no documentation relating to the depositing of the mask with us for opinion, as the letter implies. The envelope does seem to have been sent from the British Museum, but of course it may originally have contained a different letter to that now associated with it. Equally, the Visitor Object Pass could simply have been obtained from the Museum information desk. These passes should be printed on both sides, and the back carries a space for the stamp of the department to which the object was submitted. Without that stamp there is no proof that the piece was actually taken to the Egyptian department on the day stated."



Careful examination of the signature showed that it was not actually written but scanned and printed with an ink jet printer.


At the Victoria and Albert Museum in London  a small exhibitionwas held:

The Metropolitan Police Service's Art and Antiques Unit will showcase investigative methods used in detecting and preventing art crime and will be held in the V&A's Studio Gallery between 23 January and 7 February 2010.



And did he believe these were genuine too?



I doubt it.


These other fakes shown here.


My thanks to the person very unhappily duped here for allowing me to use much of the information on his own website.

July '10.


And now this!


A finely molded work with Exceptional Provenance & COA.




Although Mr Andrews sells these wth this statement



Attributed to the workshop of retired British art forger John Andrews. Andrews' work has been featured in numerous television broadcasts and the international press, and has been exhibited at London's Victoria & Albert Museum alongside other notorious counterfeiters Shaun Greenhalgh, John Myatt, Robert Thwaites and Ashley Russell. The exhibition is now scheduled to tour internationally. This piece is auctioned with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by the artist. Andrews' work as a painter, photographer, designer and forger is now highly collectable. 




They are nevertheless very "dangerous" because they are mounted on stands upon which there are fake "old" labels.



Look here also for another fake shabti the forger says he made! >>>>


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