In 1887 curator of The British Museum Dr Ernest Alfred Thompson Wallis Budge travelled to Egypt on an artefact collecting exhibition. Budge was an Egyptologist and one of few westerners in 1887 who could read hieroglyphics. Upon arriving Budges assistant Ramsey took him to a black market antiquity dealer who showed him a scroll which Budge believed to be a copy of the Book of the Dead, the dealer told Budge that the piece he held was only a small section of the scroll. Intrigued by this Budge learned that the destination where the dealer acquired the scroll was Luxor, and that’s where Budge went; the Ancient city of Thebes, full of enthusiasm for these newly discovered antiquities. However it wasn’t going to be easy, the new Head of Colonial Antiquities Eugene Grebault was prepared to do whatever the cost to keep any Ancient Egyptian antiquities in Egypt, Budge risked incarceration by travelling to Luxor and buying from the black market dealers.
Budge was arrested when he arrived, however his assistant Ramsey managed to bribe the captain of Grebault’s boat therefore creating a diversion which occupied the officials who had just arrested Budge. Budge managed to escape and continued on his mission travelling to Kurna, near The Valley of the Kings and met with the antiquity dealer, this is where Budge found the rest of scroll, and he was correct, it was a copy of the Book of the Dead.
Just as Budge was about to leave Grebault arrived and arrested him, Budge was thrown into jail. The chances of Budge reclaiming the scroll and taking it back to the British Museum were looking slim. However his assistant Ramsey managed to bribe the guards into letting Budge go. Now Budge needed to find the scroll, but the building where it was being stored was heavily guarded, however next door was a hotel, and after a sit down with the manager Budge managed to convince him to allow his men in to tunnel through the walls and reclaim the antiquities. Grebault was planning on moving the haul in the morning so Budge had to be quick.
By the time Grebault arrived in the morning, Budge along with the book of the dead was halfway up the Nile en-route to London. The book of the Dead Budge found titled Papyrus of Ani is still to this day at the British Museum.Source – History Channel, The Egyptian Book of the Dead Top Picture – National Portrait Gallery Middle Picture – History Channel Bottom Picture – British Museum