Garden statues at auction turn out to be Egyptian artifacts
A pair of carved Egyptian sphinx statues have sold at U.K. auctioneers for $265,000, around 500 times the guide price.
The meter-long stone statues were found in a garden near Clare, in south Suffolk and valued at between $400-680 at Mander Auctioneers in Sudbury.
“We were contacted by a local family who was moving house and needed to dispose of many items from their old property, which did not fit their new home,” said auctioneer James Mander.
But at auction on Oct. 9, the Egyptian artifacts fetched nearly $265,000 and are now expected to end up in a museum.
The statues are a traditional depiction of a sphinx, with a human head on the body of a lion and were intended to symbolize strength.
However they are described as being in poor condition with heavy wear, and various missing pieces with the former owners even trying to repair them using concrete.
The sphinxes were bought by the current owners at a country house sale in East Anglia about 15 years ago for a few hundred pounds and had stood on a garden patio as decoration until last month when they were sent to the auction.
At the time they were believed to be replicas dating from the 18th century and thought to have been acquired by a member of the aristocracy on a grand tour of the globe.
But bidders believed they were in fact genuine ancient Egyptian craftsmanship.