An Amble man has spoken of his shock after buying a £3.50 wooden mallet at a car-boot sale – only to find it was an ancient Egyptian artefact dating back 4,500 years.
Martin Jackson purchased the bell-shaped item during a sale in the town, having haggled the price down from £6.
After getting home, he removed the tape to find a finely engraved silver band which explained that it was an Egyptian maul, a type of hammer used to carve statues.
Martin, who works for the North East Ambulance Service, said: “At first I didn’t think too much about it, I just liked the look of it and put it on my living room shelf.”
As Martin researched further, he discovered the maul had been found at the Sakkara archaeological site, 26km south of the Pyramids at Giza.
It had been brought to Ireland around 1905 by a British Officer who turned out to be a highly-decorated gentleman who was frequently mentioned in dispatches.
Martin sent it off to an Egyptologist at Queens University in Belfast, who explained that she had only ever seen one in a book, so she had sent it to the Natural History Museum in London.
There, experts compared it with one which they already had in the Egyptian department and confirmed that it was genuine, possibly 4,500 years old.
The item has now been valued at between £2,000 and £4,000.
Martin said: “I was completely stunned and delighted by its rarity.”
He was so inspired by the revelations that he visited Saqqara to find out more about the origins of his find.
He wants to put the item up for auction so he can fund another trip back to Egypt.