One man’s toothpaste holder could be another man’s 4,000-year-old relic.

At least that’s what Karl Martin was stunned to discover when he found out that his toothbrush jar was actually an ancient relic of Afghanistan.

Since the 49-year-old dad originally picked up the old pottery jar for just $5 at a car boot sale, he has been using it to hold his toothbrush for the last five years.

“It even ended up getting a few toothpaste marks on it,” mused Martin.

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But then six weeks ago, the antiques valuer noticed a similar piece of pottery that was being sold in an antiques sale at the auctioneers where he worked.

When he asked a colleague at Hanson’s Auctioneers to examine his pot, he was amazed to hear that it was a genuine antiquity from Afghanistan that dated back to 1900 BC.

“It was bought from a car boot sale in the village of Willington in Derbyshire,” said Martin. “I liked it straight away. I suspected it might be very old but forgot all about it.


“Then, one day at work, I was helping Hansons’ antiquities expert … unload a van and noticed some pottery which was similar to my toothbrush pot [so] I rescued the pot from my bathroom and asked him to examine it for me.

“He confirmed it was a genuine antiquity from Afghanistan and dated back to 1900 BC. That means it’s around 4,000 years old – made 2,000 years before Christ was born.

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“It’s amazing, really. I specialize in British history rather than world history so I wasn’t an expert in this field and was none the wiser. How it ended up at a South Derbyshire car boot sale, I’ll never know.”

James Brenchley, head of antiquities at Hansons Auctioneers, said that the jar came from a Bronze Age civilization of the north western regions of South Asia, and it was most likely brought back to the UK by wealthy travelers.

Martin ended up selling the pot at the auctioneers for $100 (£80) – more than 20 times the amount that he bought it for.

“Not a fortune, but a decent profit,” says Marin. “I feel a bit guilty about keeping my toothbrush in it now.”

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