Great story! A 1,400 year old Sri Lankan Buddhist temple step removed from Sri Lanka in the British Colonial era, brought back to England and passed down generations, and eventually was once again used as a step, how apropos. This piece was rediscovered as the important piece that it is after being rejected by Sothebys and the UK Antiques Roadshow! It sold at Bonhams for over $840,000.00 USD, after Sothebys discounted it and the Roadshow was not interested, so, even despite their great stature, this proves that a cursory look at things is not definitive, even by the most famous and “best” groups/people in the world! The key is care and attention to detail, something the can generally not be done with a mail in inquiry to the auction houses.
Items are missed all the time this way, and then discounted and then forgotten to time once again. This kind of thing is not unusual around the world. What is unusual is for it to be identified properly for what it is by careful unbiased examination by someone who was allowed to take enough time to do so. It is not inexpensive extra work to under take, but the payoffs clearly can be incredible. Would it have been worth your investment of some thousands of dollars to make an $840,000 profit? I bet your answer is yes! This BLOWS nearly even investment cost in the world away relative to the return!
This is exactly what I do, make sure that what we have is what we have, if it is authentic or not! It is my specialty.
This article is a fun read. Enjoy. The two images below come directly from the article found on the Dailymail website, at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2313725/1-300-year-old-Buddhist-temple-stone-used-family-doorstep-sells-500-000-auction-BBCs-Antiques-Roadshow-Sotherbys-turned-away.html
Sincerely, Greg C. Brown, MS, ISA, CAGA, MN ’09.
President, Greg C. Brown & Associates, Inc. Fine art and antique appraisals, identifications, authentications, consulting and brokering.