Egyptian sculpture of a cat dating from the 26th Dynasty (approx 600bce)
 
An Egyptian sculpture of a cat, dating from 600bce and perhaps once owned by archaeologist Howard Carter of Tutankhamun fame, would have ended up in a rubbish skip but for the sharp eyes of local auctioneer David Lay based in Cornwall, England. Realising that the bronze sculpture might be something special, Mr Lay consulted experts at the British Museum who confirmed it originated from 600bce. The Head of the Museum’s Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan said he was thrilled to see such a finely modelled and beautifully proportioned piece, and dated it from the 26th Dynasty (approximately 700-500bce).
 
According to Mr Lay the sculpture had belonged to a Mr Liddell, the late father of the family who were selling the house where it had been kept. Mr Liddell had spent his career working at Spink & Son, a once famous London auction house that regularly handled sales of Egyptian antiquities. When Howard Carter died it was Spink and Son who handled the sale of his estate and it is thought that Mr Liddell bought the sculpture at one of Spink’s sales.
 
The sculpture may achieve as much as £50,000 in auction.