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Diamond Bought for $13 Sells for $848,000 at Sotheby’s

Owner bought the gemstone at a flea market in England.

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If you really have the collecting bug, you’ll know that you will go to any length for the next big get—auctions, antique shops, eBay, garage and estate sales, specialty stores. Most people never really find anything of incredible value—and the ones that do turn up in the news or on shows like PBS’ Antiques Roadshow.

Then, along comes the literal jewel of all thrift treasure hunts.

At Sotheby’s June 7 “Fine Jewels” auction in London, an exceptional diamond bought at an incredibly low price realized an insanely high hammer price.

Diamond Bought for $13 Sells for $848K at Sotheby's
(Courtesy of Sotheby’s)

The owner bought a diamond ring back in the ’80s at a “car boot sale,” basically the English equivalent of a flea market, for £10—which equals roughly $13. The diamond had been assumed to be a decorative costume jewel. Later confirmed as an actual diamond by grading service GIA, however, the cushion-shaped diamond, dubbed the “Tenner Diamond,” sold for an incredible £656,750 (or $848,000).

It was only expected to realize between £250,000-350,000 ($323,000–$452,000).

The auction also featured a Cartier diamond brooch worn by Margaret Thatcher when handing in her resignation to the Queen. It realized £81,250 (or a little over $1 million).