FOUND > Chinese 'Ice Age' Relic May Fetch $37,000

Bought in a Moroccan Antique Shop for $75

A rare Chinese carving with ties to the Ice Age.
March 11, 2018
By James Massey, What Sells Best News

KILKENNY, IRELAND - The Irish Times reports, an Irishman on holiday in Morocco bought a small souvenir in an antiques shop for $75 (€60). Then discovered it's a rare Chinese 'Ice Age' relic which may fetch $37,000 (€30,000).


Reportedly, the Irishman a self-employed carpenter and antique hobbyist who wishes to remain anonymous, had visited a town named Chefchaouen, in northwest Morocco, in 2006.

He found the 6-inch carved figure in an antiques store specializing in Islamic and Roman items. Then managed to haggle its 800 dirhams price, to 600 dirhams, or roughly $75 (€60).

He had a hunch it might be a 15th century Chinese wood carving. Then, after returning home, he had it radiocarbon tested, to help determine its age and material composition. The results yielded a big surprise.

Test revealed the age of the material was 25,000-years-old, and the carving was not made of wood. Instead, it was made from the horn of a 'Woolly Rhinoceros,' a species which has been extinct for 10,000 years.

The woolly rhinoceros.

The current theory printed in the Irish Times, is that the horn was likely unearthed sometime around the 15th century, then carved by a craftsman in China at that time.


There could be strong competition among the wealthy Chinese collectors who are currently competing for rare symbols of their heritage.

If the Irish Times theory is correct, and it is 15-century craftsmanship applied to a 25,000-year-old horn, from an animal that has been extinct for 10,000 years. There just can't be many of those out there.


The carving will be sold through Mealy's auction house in Kilkenny Ireland on March 13, 2018, in their Spring Sale, listed online as Lot 144. Estimates for the carving are $25,000 - $37,000 (€20,000 - €30,000).