'Doorstep' from Sri Lanka sells for £500,000 in auction

A carved stone step from Sri Lanka that was used as a doorstep by a family in Exeter turns out to be a rare Buddhist temple step from Anuradhapura and has gone for over £500,000 at an auction.

Temple step from Sri Lanka, Daily Mail 20130423
Temple step from Sri Lanka, Daily Mail 20130423

1,300-year-old Buddhist temple stone used by family as a doorstep sells for £500,000 at auction after BBC’s Antiques Roadshow and Sotheby’s turned it away
Daily Mail, 23 April 2013

An ancient Buddhist artefact discovered being used as a doorstep and valued at £30,000 has been sold for more than £500,000.

The granite relic was given to Bronwen Hickmott’s parents by a tea planter who returned to Britain from Sri Lanka in the 1950s.

Mrs Hickmott inherited the 2.4m-long (8ft) stone from her mother and father and began using it as a doorstep at her home in Exeter, Devon – affectionately calling it ‘the pebble’.

But an expert who spotted the one tonne stone in a photograph later confirmed it was actually a Buddhist temple step – up to 1,300 years old.

It was put up for auction with a pre-sale estimate of £30,000 to £50,000 but sold yesterday for ten times as much – £553,250.

Full story here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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