The diplomatic passport of Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, president from 1969 to 1981, was the topic of recent heated debate in the Egyptian media and social media, on account of news that it had been auctioned off online by an auction house in the US.
Given that the belongings of President Sadat had been gifted by his widow Jehan al-Sadat to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA), the modern-day revival of the ancient Library of Alexandria, the BA issued a press statement stressing that it had never received any passports, regular or diplomatic, that belonged to the late president, as part of the collection gifted by his wife.
On 2 April, however, he BA issued another press release declaring that it received from the Egyptian government the diplomatic passport of the President Sadat, which the government had retrieved from abroad with what the BA described as “amazing speed”. The passport, the BA again stressed, was not among the collection originally gifted to the Library. The government asked the BA to include the recovered passport in the Sadat collection, and to exhibit it in a museum display worthy of a great Egyptian president.
No details were given regarding how the passport ended up with a US auction house or who purchased it.
Heritage Auctions had provided images of President Sadat’s passport which was valid from 1974 to 1981, the year he was assassinated at the hand of Islamists for having made peace with Israel in March 1979. The auction house declared online that the passport was sold on 22 February 2023.
The BA has put the passport on display at its Sadat Museum, along with his personal collection which includes the military uniform he was wearing when he was shot dead on 6 October 1981.
4 April 2023
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