The piece is scheduled to go on auction on July 4th, with a starting bid of €4 million.
An announcement by London's Christie's Auction House that it is to put a 3,000 year-old bust of King Tutankhamun on July 4th for €4 million has caught the attention of Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities, which has responded by saying that it will take all necessary steps in co-operation with the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to verify's Christie's documentation and ownership of the valuable artifact.
Historically, Egypt has regulated the sale of its cultural artifacts since 1835, but a law was set nearly 150 year later in 1983, criminalising the removal of historical and cultural artifacts from Egypt.
While it remains unknown how the bust came to be in possession of Christie's, the first record of it was in the 1960's, when the auction house displayed it as part of a collection belonging to German Prince and art collector, Wilhelm Von Thurn. It's believed that it then came into the possession of its current owners in 1985, and has since been sporadically displayed in museums in Spain and Germany, according to Financial Times.
The bust, which is a fragment of a larger statue, displays the boy king as Amun, the most important deity of the era. Coming to the reign of powers at the age of nine, King Tut ruled for less than 10 years. However, his status in mainstream culture was cemented after Egyptologist, Howard Carter, discovered his tomb completely in tact in 1922, with all of its stunning royal jewelry and objects.