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Rare Relics Going Under The Hammer In Dorchester


10:24am 5th December 2014

Not one, not two but three items steeped in history are going under the hammer today in Dorchester.

Landscape gardener John Wyatt couldn’t believe his luck when he bought some stone for his borders and discovered an incredibly rare Anglo Saxon carving.

The piece – of international importance – cost John £50 along with the rest of the rubble and is estimated to sell for £10,000.

It is going under the hammer at Duke’s of Dorchester on Friday alongside a Roman sarcophagus that for years had acted as a plant pot in an Oxfordshire garden. The estimate is £25,000.

Roman 1

The Anglo Saxon stone, which measures 21.5 x 15.5 inches, has a Celtic cross on one side and a mythical bird-like beast with interlaced wings on the other.

Guy Schwinge from Duke's Auctioneers said: "We can only speculate on how this important Roman artefact ended up in an Oxfordshire garden, but in all probability it was brought back in the 18th century by a gentleman on the Grand Tour.

"It had been used for bedding plants to bring a bit of colour to the garden."
"The Anglo Saxon stone is an important find and the stylistic vocabulary on the cross is indicative of an Anglo Saxon origin and it probably dates from the 9th or 10th century."
"Both these lots show just what value can be found in gardens across the country. "
"Previously we sold a Renaissance statue for £250,000 that was discovered in a garden shed."

The other historical item you can put a bid on is a 200 year old chair that belonged to a French princess that is looking to bring in £800-£1,600.

The chair was once owned by Princess Marie Antoinette Murat (1793-1847) who was related to Napoleon.

It's thought to date from around 1810 and is typical for the style that became favourable during the Napoleonic reign, for example, the intricately caned seat, gilt paintwork and Egyptian-head decorated legs.

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