Sekhama was an Egyptian scribe from around the time the pyramids at Giza were built. It was not uncommon at that time for scribes to gain the recognition of having statues built of them at the time. On Sekhama's statue, he is described as "Inspector of Scribes in the House of Largesse, one revered before the Great God". At the time his position would have been one of the highest educated, with high status and access to power.
These days his statue sits in the Northampton Museum, owned and run by the Northampton Borough Council and has done for over a hundred years after it was donated by Lord Northampton's family. Who, in times of austerity such as these, is planning to sell him off today at Christie's for up to six million pounds, around nine to ten million dollars.
The Egyptian Antiquities Minister, Mamdouh El-Damati, has asked the Egyptian Embassy in London to take legal action to prevent the sale of the Sekhemka Statue. There is a campaign set up to try and prevent the sale.
The council say, however, that there are no valid legal objections to the sale. However, the danger is that if the Northampton Museum were to go ahead with the sale, it may be in breach of the Museums Association Code of Ethics by the Museums Association. If the council loses its Museums Association Accreditation it will cut off Northampton's museums and gallery spaces from any public, charity or lottery funding.
And another writer, at least as famous as Sekhemka, wants to make another point.
Alan Moore has told the BBC that it is "undercutting one of the fundamental principles by which museums acquire artefacts in their collections. I've donated things to the museum – but I would not be able to do that again in the knowledge that at some point in the future that gifts… made in good faith could be sold off by a council. If we look like the kind of place that's prepared to sell off all of its culture, all of its heritage, at the drop of a hat, this would be a resounding shame upon this town and the people who are governing it."
And they quote Scott Furlong from Arts Council England who says "Those who choose to approach the sale of collections… with little regard for the sectoral standards or their long-term responsibilities will only further alienate both key funders and the public who put their trust in them to care for our shared inheritance. As a result of this decision, we will be assessing Northampton Museum's accreditation status in the coming months."
UPDATE: The statue sold for £14 million, around $20 million. It was agreed Lord Northampton will receive 45 per cent of the sale price and the council will get 55 per cent.