Cambridgeshire

Egyptian sarcophagus lid sells at auction for £12,000

Partial Egyptian sarcophagus Image copyright Willingham Auctions
Image caption The sarcophagus lid had its face coloured in by its previous owner Capt Sarll

An ancient Egyptian sarcophagus lid found in "an Indiana Jones moment" at a house in Essex has fetched £12,000 at auction.

The top of the coffin, believed to be about 3,000 years old, sold for 12 times its lower estimate in Cambridgeshire.

Stephen Drake, from Willingham Auctions, found the relic covered in cobwebs in a house in Bradwell-on-Sea.

The new owner, who did not want to be named, said it will go to a museum.

The 6 ft 5in (2m) tall Egyptian artefact was owned by big game hunter and journalist Captain 'Tiger' Sarll, who died in 1977.

His granddaughter Ali Watkins attended the sale and said a picture of the sarcophagus was featured in a book presented to Capt Sarll when he appeared on TV show This is Your Life in 1961.

She added it needed restoring as it had woodworm and her grandfather had painted its face.

Image caption Ali Watkins travelled from her home in Devon to watch the sale
Image copyright Willingham Auctions
Image caption The ancient artefact was found propped up in the corner of a house which was being renovated
Image caption Auctioneer Stephen Drake said it was "magical" to have found the casket lid
Image copyright Willingham Auctions
Image caption The top of the sarcophagus is believed to be about 3,000 years old

"He was a great adventurer and travelled the globe… but we don't know the exact history of how it came in his possession," said Ms Watkins.

"We didn't know what it was going to go for but it's a good price and the lady who won the bid was very happy and she thought it was going to go for awful lot more.

"It's going to go to a private museum and I will keep in touch."

Mr Drake said he found the sarcophagus propped up in the corner of a room after being called to help clear Capt Sarll's former home which was being renovated.

"It was like something magical having found it... and then selling for £12,000 is fantastic," he said.

"I felt like Indiana Jones, it was amazing because it was just a normal call.

"The only way into this room was through this big hole in the wall and there was this coffin top covered in cobwebs and dust so it was just like walking into a tomb."

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