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Torn page from Quran sells for $68,000 at auction

By Hilary Whiteman, CNN
updated 4:57 AM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
A single torn page believed to be from the Quran has sold for $68,000 at auction in Sydney.
A single torn page believed to be from the Quran has sold for $68,000 at auction in Sydney.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Single double-sided page believed to be from the Quran sells for $68,000
  • Page was in an old frame, and came from a deceased estate in Melbourne
  • Pre-auction estimate was $37 to $55 before the sale in Sydney on Saturday

(CNN) -- Prepare for pangs of envy.

A torn page in a cheap, tatty frame has sold at auction for an eye-watering $68,000 (A$74,000), plus commission.

Sydney auctioneer Mark Owens confesses he still knows very little about lot 11, which appears to be a page of the Quran.

"I've never even spoken directly to the person who put it in apart from a couple of e-mails," he said.

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"He said it came from an estate in Melbourne. I don't think he knew a great deal about it. How old it is, I still don't know."

The double-sided page was bought by an anonymous dealer in London who presumably knew it was worth more -- a lot more -- than the pre-auction estimate of $37 to $55 (A$40 -- A$60).

Owens had a clue it might arouse some interest. A few months ago, he sold another page of the Quran -- which he says was in worse condition -- for $27,000 (A$29,000). It had been previously bought for less than $10 at a local auction.

Since the weekend sale, half a dozen other people have emailed Owens with photos of their own tattered pages.

"I like to think we're becoming world experts without having any knowledge whatsoever," he laughed.

His auction house, Bargain Hunt Auctions, sells everything from fridges to paintings, many from deceased estates, and mostly for less than $100.

On this sale alone, the company made about $22,000 (A$24,000) in commission, before tax.

"It was a good win for everyone," he said.

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