Mates find rare $100,000 item on Aussie beach: 'Absolutely genuine'

Treasure hunters have unearthed a rare find that could rewrite the history books.

A pair of Aussie treasure hunters have struck gold on a beach in Western Australia, unearthing a rare piece of history which could be worth as much as $100,000.

Leon Dechamps and Shayne Thomson were scouring the dunes at Shark Bay with metal detectors when they came across a figurine back in 2018, Nine News reported. Suspecting they might have hit the jackpot, the duo then made another big investment – and it's about to pay serious dividends.

The two friends then poured $50,000 into research to confirm that it was a bronze infant Buddha statue belonging to the 15th century Ming dynasty dating back to imperial China.

The bronze infant Buddha covered with sand (left) and uncovered in a man's hand (right).
The bronze infant Buddha was uncovered in the sand dunes at Shark Bay in Western Australia in 2018. Source: Nine News

Travelling to the UK to appear on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow overnight, an Asian art expert confirmed the item could fetch $100,000 at auction.

He went on to explain that the infant figurine was brought out in ceremonies to celebrate Buddha’s birthday.

Figurine could challenge the history books

The historic find could even rewrite the history books, according to the experts.

“I’m amazed to find out that it is the Ming dynasty because that does make it the oldest Chinese artefact in Australian history,” Mr Dechamps said on Antiques Roadshow.

Its presence in Australia could mean a Ming dynasty treasure expedition, not previously thought to have made it to Australia, might've actually reached our shores.

While it could also indicate that the Chinese visited the region almost 200 years before the Dutch ever set sail.

“It was absolutely, unequivocally a genuine historic object that had been in the sand in Shark Bay for over a 100 to 120 years,” retired WA Museum fellow and corrosion expert Dr Ian McLeod told Nine News.

Leon Dechamps and Shayne Thomson using metal detectors in the bush in WA.
Leon Dechamps and Shayne Thomson were using metal detectors at Shark Bay, WA, when they made the historic find. Source: Nine News

Cleaner finds penny worth $40K

In another recent rare find, an Aussie cleaner came across an old penny that is said to be worth up to $40,000.

Charlotte Bosanquet was working on a hoarder’s home in western Sydney last month when she ripped up some mould-infested carpet to discover a 1930 coin underneath, one of the rarest Australian coins and the most valuable copper penny in the world.

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