§ John Barrett
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the items in the British Museum's collection that have been(a) sold and (b) otherwise disposed of since 1972. 
§ Dr. Howells
[holding answer 20 May 2002]The Trustees of the British Museum are permitted by the British Museum Act 1963, Section 5 to dispose of items in the collection where they are duplicates or unfit.
The British Museum sold 21 duplicate prints in 1986 and a duplicate set of Hiroshige woodblock prints in 1995. Some 2,600 duplicate coins, medals and badges and 117 duplicate western prints have been exchanged for similar material since 1972. Two bronze plaques from Benin were exchanged for a unique bronze horseman in the style of the Lower Niger Bronze industry in 1972. A relic of cannibalism, judged unfit to be retained in the Museum's collection was exchanged with Fiji for a collection of prehistoric sherds in 1975.