This Egyptian beauty is currently languishing at the bottom of a bookcase at a local auction. The catalogue carries no information about her origins, nor is there any estimation of her asking price. But I find her rather lovely so I photographed her for my Egyptologist girlfriend who – naturally enough – is in Egypt.

‘Would you like her for your birthday?’ I asked. ‘Oh yes!’ said Miss Bertje. ‘Is she the genuine article?’ I continued. ‘Or is she a fake?’

‘Her colours are not unusual,’ came the cautious reply, ‘but you never know with forgers. Some of them are extremely sophisticated. Even museum directors often don’t know for certain what’s real in their collections.’

So next Tuesday evening I will be perched on the edge of my chair at the auction. Will Beauty be going for a song and coming home with me? Or will the bidding go sky high on the assumption that she’s an ancient lady?

© If you’d like to know what happens, check the comments section of this entry on Wednesday, 12 November.