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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 May, 2003, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
Rare Japanese sculpture find
This 18th century carved ivory group of Ebisu and Hotei as sumo wrestlers is valued at up to 2,000.
The collection will be auctioned in June

A rare collection of miniature Japanese sculptures worth about 45,000 has been discovered in Shropshire.

The 157 ivory pieces, known as Netsuke, belong to an elderly woman from Oswestry.

Carved from ivory and boxwood, the pieces were worn by Japanese men as belt decorations.

The collection will be auctioned in June as part of Asian Art Week.

Exciting find

Jeremy Lammond, from Hall's Fine Art in Shrewsbury, said: "You don't often come across 150 of these sculptures in one collection.

"Most people can only manage a dozen but 150 is great news.

"You can hold one of them in the palm of your hand and study it for hours, they're very intricate."

The collection spans three centuries and were bought by the owner in the 1960s and 1970s from London salesrooms.

"We are organising the sale to coincide with Asian art week when there will be collectors in the country from the Far East and other parts of the world," said Mr Lammond.

"The sale will be promoted on the internet and we anticipate great interest in the collection from foreign collectors and the main London dealers."

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