The National Bank of Egypt, the country’s biggest lender, has returned 200 ancient Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Coptic and Islamic artifacts that were stored in the bank’s vaults by collectors.
“These objects were in the possession of foreigners who lived in Egypt during the late 19th and 20th centuries,” the Cairo-based bank’s chairman, Tarek Amer, said in an e-mailed statement. “The foreigners were obviously antiquities collectors and had stored their collection inside two treasuries of the bank.”
The objects, which have all been authenticated, include statuary heads of ancient Egyptian deities such as Horus, Hathor, and Ptah, Roman terracotta statues and 20 coins from the Islamic and modern period.
The pieces were not retrieved by the early 20th century and they remained in the bank’s care until they were offered to the country’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. They have been moved to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo where the objects will be restored and documented.