Monday, August 03, 2009

Relic of Crusades Found At Car Boot Sale


The relic turned up in a pile of junk
Tuesday August 4,2009
By Paul Jeeves A RELIC that could date back over 1,000 years to the Knights Templar crusaders has turned up in a pile of junk at a car boot sale.

The ornately decorated piece of wood could come from a tabernacle the Crusaders used to ­protect the sacrament and other holy items as they marched across Europe in the Middle Ages.

Eagle-eyed Yorkshire antique dealer ­Martin ­Roberts acquired the relic in exchange for a pine chest of drawers, six ­Victorian glass ­handles – and just £13.

Now he is hoping it will sell for a fortune at auction at Christie’s in London.

He said: “Christie’s have never sold a ­tabernacle door so we really have no idea what it might fetch.

“If it sells for £6million, that would be fine,” he joked.

Relics from the Crusades – the fearsome Christian ­campaigns largely to seize control of the Holy Land from ­Muslims – are rare.

Antiques analysts agree Martin’s find, which measures 10ins by 4ins, is probably the lid or door from a tabernacle.

It is the second major find in two years for the Leeds-based dealer, who bought an ancient Egyptian relic for £50 in 2007 and sold it for £30,000.

He picked up his latest find from a friend at a car boot sale in nearby Otley. It was in a pile of junk from a house clearance.

He added: “Most experts I’ve consulted are of the view that this piece was from a tabernacle, which the Knights Templar would have used to carry the sacrament. It’s a door or a lid and there may well be a ­museum out there exhibiting the other half of the box it came from.”

That would mean the relic dates back to between 1100 and 1200AD.

The wood is now to be carbon-tested by Christie’s.

Penny and Doug
Penny's Antiques & Wedgwood Pantry

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