[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 10 December, 2004, 11:53 GMT
Cat headstone sells for 200,000
Stone carving of St Peter
The carving was found in a quarry
A stone carving that was used as a cat's headstone has sold for 200,000 at auction - five times its estimate.

The medieval limestone relief of St Peter was discovered at a quarry by a stonemason Johnny Beeston, from Dowlish Wake, Somerset.

He took it home and used it as a grave marker when stray tabby cat Winkle died. But when he himself passed away the stone was examined by a historian.

The carving was sold at Sothebys in London on Friday.

The importance of the piece was only realised when potter and amateur historian Chris Brewchorne spotted it lying in the couple's garden.

Alexander Cader, of Sotheby's, said: "The relief is made from Oolithic limestone and is incredibly rare, as few reliefs of this period have survived, time normally having worn the surface detail away.

"The carving is believed to have originally been a section of a cross shaft, or part of a larger panel - the figure of St Peter is clearly visible. It is a rare survivor of English stone carving at its best and draws strong parallels to the 9th and 10th Centuries."

The lot was originally expected to sell for between 40,000 and 60,000, but a private collector eventually paid 175,000, plus buyer's premium - a total of 201,600.

The stonemason's family said his widow planned to spend money raised from the sale on her grandchildren and a new rocking chair.




RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific