Egyptian bronze cat sells for £52,000 at auction

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Media captionThe ancient bronze bust nearly ended up in the bin, as Jon Kay reports

An Egyptian bronze cat that was nearly thrown in a skip has been sold at auction for £52,000.

The bronze figure - thought to be 2,500 years old - was discovered in a house clearance in west Cornwall.

The cat, which had been expected to fetch between £5,000-10,000, has been bought by a "prominent London dealer".

Auctioneer David Lay said the original owners had no idea of the artefact's value and were going to throw it in a skip.

Mr Lay said he discovered the cat was owned by Douglas Liddell who died in 2003.

He had retired to Cornwall in 1987 after being the managing director at Spink & Son, a London firm that handled sales of Egyptian antiquities.

Mr Lay said the bronze had been authenticated by the leading expert at the British Museum.

The cat has been dated as 26th Dynasty - approximately 700 to 500BC - and the auctioneer said it would have been commissioned by an Egyptian of considerable means and high status.

Image copyright David Lay
Image caption The cat was sold for several times the pre-auction estimate

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