The Curse Of Sekhemka – 2.

Every now and then an event takes place that is so compelling, so newsworthy, and so captures the public imagination that it can’t be ignored. We have had our own event, and it’s been called “The Curse of Sekhemka”.

On July 10 2014 a small Egyptian statue was sold at Christies auction house in London for something over fifteen million pounds, including fees. To do this a covenant was broken, and because of this a curse was released, and ever since things have never been quite the same in poor old Northampton. More about this Curse of Sekhemka here:

The town centre now regularly comes to a gridlocked standstill. Ten million pounds in public loan money has gone missing without trace. The town museum has lost its accreditation. Loans and grants to the museum have been blocked and stopped. Nobody will now bestow perpetuity gifts to us because we are known as welchers. The Guardian called us a town of Philistines, and in far-off places the looting of historic relics has in some eyes been legitimised as a way to raise funds for weapons and wars. The whole archaeological profession is now in the dock as grave-robbers. The only defence they ever had was integrity, scholarly study, and acedemic respect for the past.

The initial decision to sell the statue seemed quite an innocent one at the time. You would never has guessed it was going to lead to all this fuss. An insurance assessment flagged up an asset initially thought to be worth between one and two million pounds. So the question was, was it safe to have something so valuable on display? The answer was that it wasn’t, despite the fact that you would need a forklift truck to remove it, so if it couldn’t be displayed, why not sell it? It all seemed entirely reasonable at the time, on the face of it. What the council appeared not to know was that a document existed that should this situation ever arise would put them into all kinds of legal tangle. It was a deed of gifts, and the story goes that the council had either lost its copy, or didn’t know it existed, or both, of course.

In effect this document stated that in this situation ownership and rights now reverted to the original owner, the original giver of the Sekhemka statue, or at least his heirs. Although the council apparently had no knowledge of this clause, there was a current heir who not only did know, but got wind of their intention to sell. Even better still, he had his own original copy of the deed of gift covenant document, which also obviously inferred the existence of theirs. In effect the council were suddenly stuffed. A secret deal was agreed between lawyers, and with the council very much in the weaker position the statue then proceeded to sale (The actual outcome terms are public and in many ways generous to the council).

It may have been different if the council’s copy of this document existed, or even if their copy now came to light. You can see the small size of the statue here, and learn more about the sale:

It might cause all kinds of legal trouble if the document ever came to light, and might be another political bombshell to add to Northampton’s recent colourful political history. It might even have considerable financial value in itself, as a unique document. It would presumably look something like this: JUST CLICK HERE