South Asia

Sri Lankan pipe case sells for record price in UK

The intricately carved 17th century Sri Lankan pipe case (photo credit: Christie's)
Image caption The 17th Century Sri Lankan pipe case is one of only four still believed to be in existence

An intricately carved Sri Lankan pipe case from the 17th Century has been sold at an auction in London.

The Sinhalese ivory double-pipe case was sold for £51,650 ($80,300) - far higher than its estimate of £8,000-£12,000 ($12,400-$18,600).

The UK buyer who purchased it wanted to stay anonymous, a spokeswoman from Christie's told BBC News.

The case was part of a collection of unusual smoking pipes to be sold by the auction house.

It is thought that only four examples are in existence today.

One is in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London while two further examples are in the De Moriaan Museum in the Netherlands.

The 21in (53cm) long ancient pipe case is described by Christie's as having a "hinged end surmounted by a lion", with a hasp and hinge in engraved brass.

The Sri Lankan case came from a collection put together by Trevor Barton, who collected pipes for 50 years until his death in 2008.

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