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Statues from British garden identified as ancient Egyptian, sell for $265,510

Oct. 13 (UPI) -- A pair of statues from a British garden initially were believed to be 18th-century replicas of Egyptian artifacts, but fetched $265,510 at an auction after they were suspected to be thousands of years old.

Mander Auctioneers said a couple moving out of their Sudbury, England, home contacted the auction house to sell off items from the home they were vacating, and among them were a pair of sphinx statues that had spent 15 years in the couple's garden.

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The couple said the statues were purchased from another auction for a few hundred dollars and were believed to be 18th century replicas of ancient Egyptian artifacts.

Auctioneer James Mander said the auction house didn't question the couple's appraisal of the statues' origins and expected them to sell for $410 to $680, but the auction started to skyrocket when prospective buyers suggested the statues could be actual Egyptian items dating thousands of years.

Mander said the statues sold for a final price of $265,510 to an international art gallery. He said the gallery owners' examination of the statues determined they are indeed authentic Egyptian artifacts.

"As it turns out they're thousands of years old and genuine. So it's quite amazing really," Mander told CNN.

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Work is now being done to try to determine exactly when the items date from.

"I wonder where they've been for the last 5,000 years. It's quite incredible, really," Mander said.

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