John Wyatt, a 32-year old gardener from Chester, paid just £50 for a heap of rockery rubble. However, when he was cleaning the stones, he discovered that one was decorated with an ornate carving. He had it examined by an expert, who told him his piece of rubble was worth £10,000.
The carving measures 21 inches by 15 inches, and is thought to be Anglo Saxon. The stone has a cross on one side and a bird on the other. Wyatt told the Daily Mirror: "I cleaned it off and realised it was carved. It looked like some of the things you see round here in museums so I contacted a museum and the archaeologists got very excited."
The stone will be sold on Friday at an auction in Dorset. Wyatt told the Daily Telegraph that he hopes to be able to pay down his mortgage with the proceeds.
It's an incredible find, and in recent years there have been a number of these spectacular discoveries in unexpected places. Here are five of the most incredible:
1. In August we reported on the auction of an old moss-covered stone that a couple in Exeter had been using as a doorstep. They had inherited it and knew it might be old and valuable, so they had it insured for £30,000, but they had struggled to find anyone willing to sell it for them. In the end it was identified as a 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple step, and sold for £553,250.
3. In February last year, we reported on a Roman coffin that fetched £40,000 at auction. It had been used for the previous 30 years as a planter in the back garden of a Northumberland couple.
4. That same month an elderly man moved into a care home, and thought he might as well sell the four Chinese panels that had been lying around in his bungalow since his father passed away. They were valued at £300, but at auction sold for a shocking £420,000.
5. But perhaps the most incredible find was in the US, when a Chinese bowl was picked up in a junk shop for $3. It sold in March last year for a jaw-dropping $2.225 million, after being identified as a rare 1,000-year-old bowl from the Northern Song Dynasty. The price even came as a surprise to the auctioneer, who had valued it at up to $300,000.
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