Garden ornaments priced £300 turn out to be £200k antique Egyptian sphinxes.
After it was discovered that a pair of garden statues in Suffolk were actually ancient Egyptian sphinxes, they sold for nearly £200,000 at auction.
A family from Clare, near Sudbury, chose to sell the items after they decided to relocate. They were prized by the family, who thought they were insignificant 18th or 19th-century reproductions. They were given a price range of £300 to £500 as a guideline.
They garnered international attention after specialists dated them back as long as 5,000 years after a deeper examination.
They were sold for £195,000 plus a 24% buyer’s premium.
“We were called by a local family who were moving house and needed to dispose of material from their old garden that did not match their new home,” said auctioneer James Mander.
The condition was bad, with a lot of wear and a lot of losses.
“They had been repaired by the present owners, who used concrete to fix the gap beneath one of the statues’ heads.
“Until last month, when they were sold to the auction, they had been used as decoration on a backyard patio.
‘There was some curiosity at the viewing previous to the auction, but we really had no indication of their value until the auction began,’ the expert, from Mander Auctioneers Ltd, said.
“The bidding started at £200, and it took fifteen minutes to sell, with four telephone bids and a slew of internet buyers,” he continued.
“The consensus was that these were authentic Ancient Egyptian replicas that had made their way through history as 18th-century reproductions.”
“We were extremely glad to notify the vendors who had purchased and appreciated these as garden ornaments for many years, with no knowledge of their true value,” said the auctioneer.
“This is one of the most valuable things sold at a provincial auction this year,” says the auctioneer.
The stone figures, which were over a metre long and highly weathered, were quite damaged.
They were purchased for a few hundred pounds at a country house sale in East Anglia some fifteen years ago, according to the family.
The Egyptian sphinx is usually shown as a man with a lion’s body.
The Great Sphinx of Giza, which rises on the Nile’s west bank within the Giza Plateau, is the most famous.
It was allegedly constructed to defend Pharaoh Khafre.
“Brinkwire Summary News” is the magnificent statue.