Obverse. Photo © Heritage Auctions
  • 50 Pounds 1993, KM# 780, Egypt, Pharaonic Treasure, Gayer-Anderson Cat
  • 50 Pounds 1993, KM# 780, Egypt, Pharaonic Treasure, Gayer-Anderson Cat
Description

The Gayer-Anderson Cat is an ancient Egyptian statue of a cat, which dates from the Late Period (around 664–332 BC). It is made of bronze, with gold ornaments.

The sculpture is known as the Gayer-Anderson cat after Major Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson who, together with Mary Stout Shaw, donated it to the British Museum. The statue is a representation of the female cat deity Bastet. The cat wears jewellery and a protective wadjet amulet. The earrings and nose ring on the statue may not have always belonged to the cat. A scarab appears on the head and a winged scarab is shown on the chest. The statue is 42 cm high and 13 cm wide. A copy of the statue is kept in the Gayer-Anderson Museum, located in Cairo.

Obverse

Depicts a full view of the Gayer-Anderson Cat.

Cats in ancient Egypt were represented in social and religious practices of ancient Egypt for more than 3,000 years. Several ancient Egyptian deities were depicted and sculptured with cat-like heads such as Mafdet, Bastet and Sekhmet, representing justice, fertility and power. The deity Mut was also depicted as a cat and in the company of a cat.

Cats were praised for killing venomous snakes and protecting the Pharaoh since at least the First Dynasty of Egypt. Skeletal remains of cats were found among funerary goods dating to the 12th Dynasty. The protective function of cats is indicated in the Book of the Dead, where a cat represents Ra and the benefits of the sun for life on Earth. Cat-shaped decorations used during the New Kingdom of Egypt indicate that the cat cult became more popular in daily life. Cats were depicted in association with the name of Bastet.

Reverse

Stylized state name (Arab Republic of Egypt) divides denomination in Arabic and English and abbreviation of state name (A.R.E.) below, the date in Arabic (Hijri) and Western (Georgian) divides by a vulture with open wings. Engraver's initials (ECC) below.

In Ancient Egypt, the vulture hieroglyph was the uniliteral sign used for the glottal sound (/ɑː/). The bird was held sacred to Isis in ancient Egyptian religion. The use of the vulture as a symbol of royalty in Egyptian culture and their protection by Pharaonic law made the species common on the streets of Egypt and gave rise to the name "pharaoh's chicken".

50 ٥٠ جمهورية مصر العربية
LE جـ
A.R.E.
1414 1993 ECC ١٤١٤ ١٩٩٣

Edge

50 Pounds

KM# 780
Characteristics
Type Commemorative Issue (Non-circulating)
Material Gold
Fineness 0.900
Weight 8.5 g
Diameter 24 mm
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment Medal
Mint
Mexican Mint (Mo)

Related coins

Falcon Pectoral of Tutankhamun

Pharaonic Treasure

Silver, 17.3 g, ⌀ 37 mm
Colossus of Ramesses II

Pharaonic Treasure

Silver, 17.3 g, ⌀ 37 mm
Mask of Tutankhamun

Pharaonic Treasure

Silver, 17.3 g, ⌀ 37 mm