Bohlen, Celestine. "Witness in Antiquities Case Tells of a Smuggling Plot," New York Times,
31 January 2002, p. B3.
Every profession has its secrets and in a federal courtroom in Manhattan yesterday, a convicted
antiquities smuggler revealed his, including details of how he once sneaked the sculptured head
of a 14th-century B.C, pharaoh out of Egypt by disguising it as a cheap tourist gewgaw.
Jonathan Tokeley-Parry, a 50-year-old Englishman, is the star prosecution witness in the ongoing
trial of Frederick Schultz, a prominent New York antiquities dealers who is accused a dealing in
ancient objects that had been illegally taken from Egypt in the early 1990s. Judge Jed S. Rakoff
of United States District Court is presiding.
Mr. Schultz's lawyers signaled from the start that they would be attacking Mr. Tokeley-Parry's
credibility, but no one has challenged his credentials as a smuggler. In an answer to the first
question put to him today by Marcia Isaacson, assistant United States attorney, Mr. Tokeley-
Parry told the jury that he had spent the years from 1997 to 2000 in a British prison, following his
conviction on charges of assisting in the handling of stolen property.
He also revealed that his first trial had been postponed after he tried to commit suicide by
Dressed in a gray double-breasted suit, Mr. Tokeley-Parry also revealed how he and Mr. Schultz
concocted a credible provenance for a series of ancient Egyptian objects. Mr. Tokeley-Parry said
that they dubbed it the Thomas Alcock collection, after a great-uncle, a British Army engineer
who had passed through Egypt early last century.
He described taking old turn-of-the-century labels used by an English pharmaceutical company,
enlarging them on a photocopying machine, snipping out the original letters and replacing them
with the made-up Thomas Alcock insignia, reducing them in size and printing them of chalk
paper. He gave the labels the patina of age by dabbing them with used teabags, he said.
Mr. Tokeley-Parry said that he and Mr. Schultz thought up the idea for the Alcock collection
together during a drive out of London to the house of a British antiquities deals on a summer
evening in 1991. During that drive, Mr. Tokeley-Parry testified, he showed Mr. Schultz a
photography of the sculptured head of Amenhotep III, which he had recently smuggled in from
Egypt but was still unsure how best to hand. Mr. Tokeley-Parry said that turing the drive Mr.
Schultz agreed to take the head on consignment and asked to have the car stop at a money-
exchange office to get several thousand dollars as a down payment.
Mr. Tokeley-Parry detailed receiving a degree in philosophy from Cambridge University and a
doctorate from University College in London, before turning to the business of art restoration and
dealing. Years after a first bungled attempt at antiquities smuggling in Rome in the late 1970s, he
said he picked up the business again in Egypt, where he became associated with a family of
Egyptian dealers. At that time, the Egyptian government has already nationalized the antiquities
trade, which he said did nothing to suppress the market in ancient objects.
"There were still thousands of objects and hundreds of buyers," Mr. Tokeley-Parry said. This, he
added, created a "hothouse atmosphere," which encouraged corruption among Egyptian
bureaucrats, and spawned a widening market of fakes.
Mr. Tokeley-Parry described how he was offered the head of Amenhotep III when it was still
"sopping wet," after it had been found at the building site. At that time, Mr. Tokeley-Parry, who
had no training as an Egyptologist, was not aware of the value of the head, which he initially
thought might be $40,000 to $50,000, from more than any other objects he had smuggled out of
Egypt. According to the indictment against Mr. Schultz, the head of Amenhotep III was
eventually sold by Mr. Schultz to a person in London for $1.2 million.
In order to get it past Egyptian customs, Mr. Tokeley-Parry said he camouflaged the head as a
cheap tourist souvenir, first by coating it is a special plastic, which was then covered with plaster
and painted. To further authenticate the piece as junk, he wrapped it in wrapping paper from a