An eagle-eyed car boot goer is now flush with cash after buying an "Ikea-style" spoon for 20p – and selling it for £2,375 at auction.
The loaded seller, who has not been named, spotted the battered-looking spoon at a car boot sale in London and thought it would turn a profit so quickly snapped it up.
After purchasing the spoon the new owner contacted Lawrences Auctioneers, of Crewkerne, Somerset and it was quickly assessed by a silver expert – who delivered the incredible news that it was indeed worth a lot more than they'd bought it for.
Alex Butcher said the spoon dates from the late 13th century and put on a conservative estimate of £500 on it ahead of the auction.
But things went a lot better than expected as a fierce bidding war kicked off on the big day and it was hammered down at £1,900.
With extra fees, the internet buyer ended up forking out a total of £2,375 – almost 12,000 times the amount it was originally bought for.
The slender five-inch-long spoon weighs a paltry 0.35oz and features an acorn knop – the earliest post-Roman-European style – and four-sided stem.
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It is "in a damaged and contorted state", said the auctioneers.
Mr Butcher believes that the spoon may have been buried underground or in a river bed for centuries before re-emerging.
He said: "The finder is not a silver dealer but someone who goes to car boot sales as a hobby – but clearly has a good eye.
"He went over to a stall where there was an assortment of Ikea-style modern cutlery, but amongst it was this very old-looking spoon.
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"He thought it was interesting so he bought it for 20p and contacted us through our website.
"When he described the spoon with its acorn knop I knew it was extremely old and once he sent it to us to look at I identified it as from the late 13th century."
The expert said the spoon's "condition is consistent with it being buried underground or in a river bed for centuries.
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Mr Butcher added: "It is crushed and damaged, possibly from the weight of boats going over it.
"Both the vendor and I were delighted with the result. It is a wonderful, romantic story.
"The vendor wrote me a lovely email saying he was watching the sale online with his daughter and couldn't believe it.
"I think he is planning to spend the money on a staycation holiday to the East of England."
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