|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/12/13 10:37 国际在线|
A 1,000-year-old limestone carving which lived at the bottom of an elderly couple's garden as a memorial to their cat has been sold for more than ?200,000.
Johnny and Ruth Beeston had no idea of the value of the historic piece which marked the resting place of Winkle, a stray tabby they adopted.
Mr Beeston, a stonemason who found the slab in a quarry years ago, thought it would make a nice headstone and nothing more.
But today the medieval carving soared way above its estimated asking price of between ?40,000 and ?60,000 when it was bought by a private collector.
It was sold at Sotheby's auction house in London for ?175,000, but with the buyer's premium added it cost ?201,600.
The Oolithic limestone carving shows a half-length figure of St Peter with his right hand clasped to his chest and two fingers raised in benediction.
It is thought to be part of a larger panel of stone carving or a section of a cross shaft.
The piece dates from the early 10th century and was spotted in the Beestons' garden in Dowlish Wake, Somerset, by Chris Brewchorne, a local potter and amateur historian.
Mr Beeston, 79, died last year and his wife decided to put it up for sale.